Here’s the top tech news for hump day:
1. Twitter has doubled the length of its posts. The 140-character limit was increased today for the first time in the company’s 11-year history, with the limit now 280 characters for all languages except for Chinese, Japanese and Korean. While users will now have more freedom in crafting tweets, Twitter is aware there could be an initial backlash against such a fundamental change. Read more.
2. Dockless shared bikes are now everywhere in Sydney and Melbourne – but not always in a good way. Social media has been flooded with complaints of bicycles dumped on footpaths, front lawns, and even up in trees and on roofs. Contractors even fished out 42 bikes out of the Yarra River yesterday. Read more and check out some of the pictures of abandoned bikes defying gravity.
3. Fitbit scored a coup in the smartwatch battle against Apple and Samsung. Its debut general purpose smartwatch, the Ionic, will appear in Australia next month with CBA, NAB and ANZ (three of the Big Four) customers able to make contactless payments with it. This compares to just ANZ on Apple Pay and Westpac and ANZ on Samsung Pay. Read more here.
4. A Sydney airport transfer app startup has raised $8 million. Smartcompany reports Jayride will expand in the US market with the new cash, which came from venture capital firms Follow The Seed and Artesian and crowdfunding platform VentureCrowd. Jayride co-founder Rod Bishop says more than 50% of the business already comes from the USA, where the transport aggregator serves 250 airports.
5. Dyson has entered the electric car race. The British appliance maker, famous for its vacuum cleaners and air purifiers with futuristic designs, will spend almost $US3 billion to make an ell-electric car by 2020. Founder James Dyson said he’s had an interest in electric vehicles since the late 1980s. Read more.