YouTube launches new tailored home pages in Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Google has announced that YouTube watchers in Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will start seeing a new homepage from this week. While YouTube has been available in Nepali, Sinhalese and Urdu for a while, the new pages have tailored content specific to those three countries. They also have country-specific domains.

Most-watched videos like Nai Nabhannu La 3 in Nepal, the Coke Studio channel in Pakistan and the Amazing Sri Lankan Spiderman will now show up in the top content for their respective countries, making them even easier to find.

With more local content finding their way to their viewers’ home-pages, YouTube hopes it will help inspire more local creators to get involved, and help them get discovered more easily.

While Google is keen to advertise its ‘tailored’ new home pages, there is a more interesting sub-plot here. YouTube has been banned in Pakistan since 2012, a ban which was re-inforced last February when the government said it would remain banned indefinitely. At the time, a Pakistan official said that “no tool or solution has been found which can totally block offensive content, that is why YouTube remains blocked and it will remain so indefinitely.”

With a dedicated Pakistan home page, perhaps Google is hoping it can persuade the government to lift the ban.

Google Wallet launches new streamlined website for sending and receiving payments online

After originally being Google’s source for NFC payments, Google Wallet has given up that role to Android Pay and transitioned to be an alternative to PayPal. From mobile, this has been pretty easy with Google Wallet’s fantastic Android and iOS apps. Now the web app has caught up

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Google launches its Android Developer Nanodegree program in India

In May, we told you that Google had partnered with Udacity to offer a new Android Developer Nanodegree program. Now, Google has announced that it is launching the same program in India.

With a vision to transform India into a hub of high-quality mobile developers for global and local apps, we’re delighted to announce the launch of a program to offer Android Developer Nanodegrees in India in partnership with Udacity. The Android Nanodegree is an education credential that is designed to help developers learn new skills and advance their careers in a few months—from anywhere on any device—at their own pace.

Android UdacityIndia is world’s second largest programming population, but Google says that today, less than 2% of the apps built in India are “featured in top 1000 apps globally.” The company’s goal — with this initiative and others — is to bring this number beyond 10% over the next three years.

The Mountain View company has been putting a lot of focus as of late on the next billion people in the world to come online. Among other initiatives, Google also launched the Android One program in India last year to bring affordable and well-supported handsets to the masses.

Google says that the program “takes an average of 6-9 months to complete,” and will cost Rs. 9,800 per month in India. If this sounds steep to you, it’s worth keeping in mind that Udacity is refunding 50 percent of the tuition you pay when you complete the program, and Google and Tata Trusts are giving away 1000 scholarships for the Android Nanodegree.

Image: Forbes

The latest Omate smartwatch for Android launches on Indiegogo with instant success

omate-rise

From 9to5Toys.com:

We’ve been inundated with smartwatches and wearables over the last year. Now, 2015 is coming to a close with one more new release. This morning, the Omate Rise Standalone Smartwatch for iOS and Android launched on Indiegogo. In just a few hours it has doubled its initial goal and is beginning to sell out of inventory.

You see, Omate differs from many crowdfunding projects that go on for weeks and even months at a time. This campaign is set to conclude before the end of the week with just over 1,000 units available. With a 9 price tag, it’s no surprise that backers are snatching Omate up while the campaign is still live. More details below.

Lenovo launches K5 Note, an affordable full HD, all-metal phablet

Having recently made comments that it is seeking to make fewer handsets this year than last, Lenovo is making some contradictory moves in the smartphone market. The manufacturer has launched the all-metal K5 Note in China, and the mid-range smartphone makes its way to market in the same month the K4 Note landed in India. Color me confused.

Regardless, the Lenovo K5 Note will cost ¥1,099 (approx 7) when it lands on Chinese store shelves at the beginning of February. For that money, the phone offers some admirable specifications.

As well as being made from aluminum, it has a full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution 5.5-inch screen boasting a pixel density of around 401ppi. It also features a 1.8GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor paired with 2GB and 16GB storage (expandable up to 128GB). A 3,500mAh battery should ensure that it goes at least a full day on a single charge.

Other key features include a 13MP f/2.2 rear camera with phase detection auto-focus and 1080p video recording, as well as an 8MP front-facing camera. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with Lenovo’s own Vibe UI on top. The device measures 8.5mm thin, making it slightly thicker than most flagship phones, but is by no means bulky. It also has a fingerprint sensor on the back, as is normal with modern smartphones.

With the low-mid tier markets becoming full of metal devices equipped with high-end specs, it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top this year. Will Lenovo’s devices have a chance of competing with the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi or OnePlus?

‘Pokémon Duel’ strategy board game launches for Android devices

The Pokémon Company is today releasing its latest offering for mobile devices with Pokémon Duel, a strategy board game that lets you grow a team of six Pokemon characters and fight against others. The game was previously available in Japan but today is launching in the US and elsewhere internationally. 
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Xiaomi launches Mi 5s/Plus as low-cost alternative to iPhone 7/Plus, China-only for now

Xiaomi has announced a high-end version of its popular Mi 5 smartphone, the Mi 5s and Mi 5s Plus. The new models are very much geared to going head-to-head with Apple’s new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, with very similar specs and form-factor. We first heard it was on the way back in June.

The Mi 5s offers a 12MP camera using a Sony 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor for the same large pixels we’ve already seen on the Nexus 6P and HTC 10. There’s a wide aperture f/2 lens, and a dual-tone flash for more accurate colors for both outdoor and indoor shots. Video is 4K at 60fps. The Mi5s Plus goes one better with a dual-camera setup similar to that used by Huawei and Apple, though Xiaomi has opted for a combination of color and black-and-white sensors rather than a wide-angle and telephoto lens.

The most advanced new feature is an ultrasonic fingerprint reader embedded into the display …

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Ford launches Android Wear app to find & control your car, but only for three models so far

Ford has updated its MyFord Mobile Android app to add Android Wear support for its three electric and hybrid cars. The watch app allows you to get walking directions back to your car, check battery status and range, lock and unlock the car, start it remotely and check a range of stats …  more…

BlackBerry launches pre-registration webpage for upcoming Android-powered Priv slider

BlackBerry this evening has launched a pre-registration page for its oft-rumored Android slider the Priv. The registration page is merely an effort on the company’s part to gauge interest in the device before officially revealing it, but the webpage does offer up some confirmation when it comes to the specs we can expect the device to feature.

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Pokémon Go launches in Canada, servers fall over as a result

Good news for Pokémon Go fans in Canada: the game has officially rolled out to the country. Bad news for fans of the game everywhere: the extra load seems to have killed the servers again.

Niantic made the Canadian announcement on Twitter and on the game’s official Facebook page, but so far the company hasn’t responded to complaints that users are again unable to login. It did acknowledge the server problems experienced over the weekend …

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