Hashtag Trending – Alexa in Canada, unlocked smartphones, Bitcoin on Wall Street

Amazon Echo ships to Canada. Free unlocked smartphones for all! And Bitcoin is now available on a government-backed exchange.

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Tomorrow, Amazon Echo will begin officially shipping to Canada. The smart speaker connects users with Amazon’s voice-assistant, Alexa. Canadians have been able to pre-order the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus since Nov. 15. If your device arrives at your door today, here’s some Canadian Skills you can try: Air Canada allows flight tracking and fare comparisons. TD Bank provides information on its products and branch locations, as well as foreign exchange rates. The Weather Network also has local weather updates for Canadians. And of course, you can add this podcast, Hashtag Trending, to your daily Flash Briefing. What? I’m not above a shameless plug.

The beginning of December marks a new era for Canada’s wireless market. All smartphones must now be sold unlocked. That means they come ready to work with any carrier’s network. (So long as it’s technology compatible). The change came as a new CRTC Wireless Code update came into effect December 1st. Also, carriers must now unlock any devices that are currently locked for free of charge.

Bitcoin is coming to Wall Street. Regulators are going to allow Bitcoin futures to trade on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the CBOE. This marks the first time that a government-regulated exchange will be involved in trading a crypto-currency. These new Bitcoin derivatives will be subject to oversight by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In the past, it’s said that it would treat Bitcoin as a commodity. But the IRS classifies it as property, the SEC describes it as a security, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit calls it a “money-like instrument.” Did you hear that? It’s the sound of a can of worms being opened.

That’s what’s trending today. Hashtag Trending is produced by IT World Canada. Today’s episode is sponsored by Cogeco Peer 1, the company that enables businesses to unlock their IT potential. Learn more at CP1.com.

If you enjoy Hashtag Trending, please rate and review our Alexa Flash Briefing Skill, or in iTunes. We’d really appreciate it.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jacksonhttp://www.itbusiness.ca/
Former editorial director of IT World Canada. Current research director at Info-Tech

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