Hashtag Trending – Amazon unveils a slew of new products, Apple’s hearing the wrong kind of buzz

Amazon stages a surprise press conference, Twitter has doubled its character limit, and some iPhone 8 users are having their phone calls interrupted by a crackling earpiece.

American Twitter users sound excited over Amazon releasing a series of new Alexa devices, including the Amazon Echo 2, which looks similar to the original, but is half the size and features a more powerful speaker; the Echo Spot, which resembles an old-fashioned alarm clock with a circular screen and lets users make video calls; the Echo Plus, which includes a built-in smart home system; and the Echo Button, which families can use to play games like Trivial Pursuit. None of the devices appear to be coming to Canada, as Amazon has yet to officially release Alexa here.

Over on Facebook, users are reacting to Twitter’s decision to allow certain users to post messages with up to 280 characters, double the platform’s usual 140 character limit. According to Twitter, which has struggled recently to attract new users, the decision was made because users of Kanji-based languages such as Japanese and Korean effectively had twice as much space to express themselves as English speakers and other users who rely on the Latin alphabet already, and apparently tweeted more often as a result. Whether this higher limit will actually help the company attract more than 328 million users remains to be seen.

Finally, Google Trends is buzzing over an issue some iPhone 8 users are having: a crackling noise that occasionally disrupts the audio when they make a call. The issue doesn’t affect every phone, or every call, nor does it happen when using the earpiece as a loudspeaker, but judging from posts on Apple’s support forum and Reddit, it does appear to be affecting iPhone 8 and 8 Plus users around the world, regardless of their carrier. Apple has said it’s aware of the issue and is working on a software update to fix the problem.

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former IT World Canada associate editor turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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