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Earthquake and tsunami warning messages in Japan coming directly to Android 8.1 Oreo

Given Japan's propensity for earthquakes and tsunamis, having a standardized system to alert people of the risk of danger would be a beneficial tool to prevent injury. Unfortunately, this alert system had been implemented at the carrier level, requiring carrier-specific apps. For users of unlocked phones on an MVNO, the ability to receive these notifications ranged from zero to inconsistent, dependent on the model of phone used. Now, the Telecommunications Carriers Association has announced that as of Android 8.1, these phones can receive emergency alerts.

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Rakuten seeking to acquire spectrum rights to create its own mobile network in Japan

Rakuten, the increasingly diversifying Japanese e-commerce giant, is looking to establish its own independent mobile network. The company intends to apply for part of the 1.7GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum rights in Japan when the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications opens applications for those frequencies early next year. Presently, Rakuten operates an MVNO using leased capacity from market leader NTT Docomo. Alongside second and third-place carriers au and SoftBank, the three companies effectively hold control of the Japanese mobile network.

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Credit card-sized 'NichePhone-S' coming to Japan, runs Android 4.2

Eastern Asia is home to some interesting smartphones, like various Android-powered flip phones from Samsung and LG. Earlier today, the 'NichePhone-S' from FutureModel was announced in Japan. It's a phone the size of a credit card priced around 10,000 yen (or $88 USD), with a heavily customized version of Android.

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Alexa and Amazon's new Echo devices come to India by invitation, Japan following later this year

Amid all the Google fuss yesterday, we nearly missed the news that Amazon was paving Alexa's way to Asia by launching in India first, with Japan said to be following later this year.

The new second-gen Echo, the Echo Plus, and the Echo Dot will be available exclusively on Amazon.in by invitation, so you'll need to request one and hope for the best. If you decide to grab one, expect shipping to begin on the week of October 30. And if you want to wait, Amazon says the Echos will come to Croma and Reliance Digital stores after the invite period is over (no deadline set for that).

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Google Home is coming to Japan next week

Home-related news continues. Google has just announced at its event that Google Home will be coming to Japan next week. The company originally made the promise back at I/O, but now we've got a definite timeframe. Looks like they just missed the original "end of summer" expectation. 

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[Domo arigato] Duolingo's Android app can now teach you Japanese

Duolingo is the most popular language learning app on Android with over 50 million downloads. It already supports a myriad of languages including Spanish, Swahili, and French. Duilingo has started rolling out a much anticipated new language to Android users: Japanese.

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Android Pay v1.19 prepares to show full transaction histories even when Pay isn't used, adding support for Nanaco cards in Japan soon [APK Teardown]

Android Pay v1.19 began rolling out last night, but like many of its recent updates, there aren't any obvious new features to see after updating. However, a teardown of the app does show there are a few things in the works, or maybe even ready to launch in the near future. Supported cards will soon allow Android Pay to show full transaction history, even if the purchase was made outside of Android Pay. It will soon be possible to block sensitive data from appearing on screen, which will prevent prying eyes from stealing that information. And finally, Japanese users can look forward to support for the Nanaco payment card.

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Android One devices are getting a Pixel-esque launcher in a 7.1.1 update, starting with the Y!mobile S2

The Pixel Launcher's reach has been spreading in the past few weeks. Yes, it could always be sideloaded, but it was only initially available for the Pixel and Pixel XL. The 7.1.2 beta 2 update, however, brought it to the Pixel C as well. Now, it seems that Android One smartphones are getting a lookalike of Google's latest launcher, beginning with Y!mobile's Android One S2.

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Amazon's newest Fire TV Stick available for pre-order in the UK, Germany, and Japan

Back in September of last year, Amazon released a new model of its Chromecast competitor, the Fire TV Stick. The $39.99 dongle is a major upgrade from the previous model, with better performance and Wi-Fi capabilities. Now Amazon is selling it in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan.

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New Magikarp game splashing onto Android this spring in Japan

The Pokemon Company has announced a new game today titled Splash! Magikarp (Hanero! Koiking), set to be released in Japan this Spring. With this new upcoming release, it would appear that the Pokemon Company is ramping up production of offshoot Pokemon themed games and apps for mobile.

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