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Tech News Today for May 16, 2017

Tech News for Tuesday May 16, 2017

Instagram is ripping off Snapchat again with what it's calling "face filters." This works just as it does on Snapchat, open the app, hold your phone up, and in selfie camera mode you'll be able to choose things like a golden wreath, ears and nose from a koala bear or bunny rabbit. These work with one or two people's faces at a time. Unlike Snapchat, there are no face filters tied to advertisers and brands, like movies, sporting events, and new product launches -- yet. But that's likely going to be only a matter of time. Read more at blog.instagram.com.

Late last night, HTC introduced its next major flagship smartphone, the HTC U11, with some very unique features that we haven’t seen in an Android phone to date. Not only does the phone have both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa layer working underneath for dual wake word functionality, but it also employs a squeezable frame around the lower half of the phone. This allows users to program shortcut actions or assign apps to both short and long squeezes of the phone. HTC is accepting preorders now for $649 in the US. Read more at arstechnica.com.

Advertisers flock to Facebook because nearly 2 billion people use the service and that's a whole lot of eye balls to get your ad in front of. But a problem is emerging -- Facebook keeps overstating just how many people are seeing the ads it's serving. On Tuesday, Facebook admitted to its 10th measurement screw up since September of last year. These mistakes, of course, can have consequences. In this case, advertisers were charged for clicks on video carousel ads by smartphone web users that never actually happened over the course of an entire year. Marketing Land says that affected advertisers are being refunded some money as a result of Facebook coming clean on this. Read more at marketingland.com.

Apple’s upcoming annual Worldwide Developers Conference begins June 5, and for the first time in a few years, Apple is expected to announce new hardware at the event. Bloomberg's sources say to expect three new laptops with last year’s MacBook Pro getting a bump to Intel’s faster Kaby Lake processor, the 12” MacBook scoring a faster Intel processor, and the 13” MacBook Air getting some much needed attention in the processor department as well. Read more at bloomberg.com.

Also, a Boy Genius Report says that the iPad Mini is not long for this world with the source saying that the mini has been “sized out of its own category.” Read more at bgr.com.

The first TV with Amazon's Fire TV software built-in is here, and it's from a low-end brand called Element. The lineup starts at $449 for a 43-inch TV set and top out at $899 for a 65-inch set. Like the Fire TV box or Fire TV stick, those who buy one of these TVs will get Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prive video and other streaming apps, and the company's voice controlled assistant, Alexa, comes built-in. Alexa on these TVs can answer questions, control smart home appliances -- pretty much what it can do in any other iteration. But it can't yet be used to actually control your TV, like switching HDMI inputs for example. One difference -- Amazon has built a channel-guide interface specifically for the TVs that will let users of the new sets, who are also using an antenna or a cable box, view up to 14 days of live programming details. Read more at engadget.com.

Jason Howell and Nathan Olivarez-Giles are joined today by Kurt Wagner of Recode to talk about Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone's return to the company. 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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