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Tech News Today for August 16, 2017

Tech News for Wednesday August 16, 2017

Apple appears to be on the cusp of going all-in on its approach to original content production with a source telling the Wall Street Journal that the company plans to invest one billion dollars into the acquisition and production of its own TV shows. Apple plans to match the quality of HBO content, though by comparison, HBO spent roughly two billion dollars on its productions last year. Apple’s first foray into original content includes Planet of the APPS which landed with a pretty consistant thud for being somewhat bland and uninspired. Let’s hope their next generation content is a bit more entertaining. Read more at wsj.com.

AltspaceVR, the leader in social virtual reality might not be shutting down, as we and others reported two weeks ago. The VR hangout that lets you watch important speeches and pretend to be a robot bee posted a press release saying that they'd run out of money in late July. But this week they released an updating saying they will live on. The company thanked the community for sharing memories, videos, tweets, and emails which led them to discussions with potential investors. Read more at altvr.com.

A much awaited feature for the Google Home is beginning to roll out to users in the US. Voice calling will allow Home users to place telephone calls from their device by saying “OK Google, call so and so.” During a call, the user can use the wake word to fire off queries and that will put the caller on a temporary hold while that processes and spits out the results, then rejoins the call. At the end of the call, the user can say “Hey Google, Stop or Disconnect or Hang Up or End Call.” Read more at theverge.com.

Andy Rubin's Essential Phone will begin shipping next week. The much anticipated and delayed new Android phone started landing in the hands of those who pre-ordered first and were expecting to get the phone back in June. To make matters worse, only the Black Moon version is available now. White versions of the phone are still a few weeks away according to emails sent to those who preordered. The phone costs around $700 and is only shipping to the US right now. There will be another first look event in New York City on Monday August 21st, but no offical release date yet. Read more at 9to5google.com.

Megan Morrone and Jason Howell are joined today by Rafe Needleman from Callers Call Back to talk about the ethics of bot identification when interacting with humans. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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