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Tech News Today for February 15, 2017

Tech News for Wednesday February 15, 2017

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, you might soon be able to make and receive phone calls with your Amazon Echo or your Google Home. People familiar with the matter said the phone service might roll out as early as this year, provided they are able to overcome regulatory hurdles and privacy concerns. Amazon might give its home device its own phone number, whereas Google Home already has a telephony system in place. Read more at wsj.com.

We’ve wondered for months what the fallout would be for Yahoo’s $4.8 billion dollar buyout agreement with Verizon in light of a number of major security breaches made public last year. Sources tell Bloomberg and Recode that Verizon is near completion of a renegotiated deal that could cut anywhere from $250 million to $350 million dollars from that price. As well, after the deal is finalized, Verizon and Altaba Inc (the renamed Yahoo) will share in liabilities for future breaches. Read more at bloomberg.com.

Lance Ulanoff from Mashable reviews eSight, a new headset that can help many people who are legally blind, be able to see. The special visor comes equipped with a high speed, high-def camera, two sensors, two OLED screens, and a controller that helps people with severely low vision adjust what they're seeing. The device uses liquid lens technology that displays high contrast, high color images that make it easier to see objects and to read. The device has FDA Type 1 clearance and costs $10,000 and right now most insurance does not cover it. Read more at mashable.com.

HTC reported another rough quarter with revenue down 13 percent year over year. HTC says that they will abandon the entry-level phone market this year, focusing instead on flagships like the upcoming release of the HTC U series of phones. HTC also told CNET that its working on a new take on mobile VR, saying “it's not a phone slapped into a headset.” No word on exactly how it plans to differentiate, but HTC says the VR product will launch before year’s end. Read more at cnet.com.

For the first time, Amazon has released numbers that give us a better idea of how much money the company brings in through its Prime subscription service. The company has been notoriously cagey about their Prime numbers, but the company has detailed their "retail subscription services" in their 10-K filing for 2016. Amazon says roughly $6.4 billion came from Prime, but that does not include the company's net shipping costs for the year or how much Prime members spend a year as opposed to non-prime members. Read more at businessinsider.com.

Megan Morrone and Jason Howell are joined today by Sami Main from AdWeek to talk about the controversy surrounding PewDiePie that led to him being dropped from YouTube's preferred list as well as Disney's Maker Studios. 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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