Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
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Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Today's roundup is presented by Accu Battery from Digibites. Batteries today are ubiquitous with just about every device we use, as they play a critical role in our day-to-day that is difficult to dismiss. This means that it is pretty important to stay on top of your battery usage.
So you want to know how fast your internet connection is? There are plenty of apps to do that, and today there's one more. It's called Meteor, the latest thing from OpenSignal. Not only does it tell you how fast your connection is, it looks good doing it.
Fast, smooth data download speed is kind of important to mobile video, especially now that even mid-range Android phones are rocking 1080p screens. That's part of the reason that Netflix created FAST.com, its own branded alternative to web speed tests like Ookla's SpeedTest.net, back in May. The idea is to make sure you're getting an accurate test across multiple services (there's even a SpeedTest.net link right on the page) and your internet service provider isn't throttling your connection.
Google wants as many people to use the web as possible, because at this point it can reliably count on more or less every internet user earning the company revenue. Having a decent connection is a big part of that, and while there are plenty of adequate speed tests available, apparently Google wants one right in the search interface. To that end, they're testing an integrated speed test created with the help of Measurement Lab.
Here's the deal: T-Mobile offers a variety of plans and prices, including an unlimited data option (the real kind, not the AT&T kind). But for the lower-tiered plans, data itself is unlimited, but you only get a certain amount of high-speed LTE or HSPA+ data, after which you're limited to 2G speeds (128kbps at the fastest) until the end of the billing cycle, with no extra charges.
We're all spending a lot on mobile data, but are we getting our money's worth? That's the question the FCC hopes to help answer with the new FCC Speed Test app. It's exclusive to Android right now and provides you (and the FCC) with data on mobile network performance.
Unlike most speed testing apps, this is not just a run-on-demand service. You can trigger a test whenever you want, but the app is configured to run occasional tests in the background to get a picture of your network speeds over time. It's set to only consume a maximum of 100MB per month with automated tests, not including any additional ones you might initiate.
Begun, the camera shutter wars have. Ever since Samsung and Google debuted the Galaxy Nexus' zero shutter lag feature, handset makers have been cranking up their camera apps. Sony's Xperia S is a 12MP monster camera with a fast shutter, but the real speed demon here is the HTC One X. In the video below, the only area the One X loses is in not having a dedicated camera button. As a side note, manufacturers, why don't your phones with amazing cameras have dedicated camera buttons?
As you can see in the first tests, the Xperia S beats the HTC One X in the sleep mode test because it can wake directly to the camera app via the dedicated camera button.
Over the past week, I've been in contact with Sprint about the demise of their network's data speeds, especially in the 3G department. As many of you were also in the same boat, we saw quite a bit of interest and started collecting information on the situation, which resulted in this knowledge dump on Sunday - read it if you haven't yet done so.
Among the tidbits of info Sprint techs let out, one was especially interesting - a round of tower upgrades that were supposed to be completed on October 31st. We were skeptical. Many of you were as well.
Sprint has network problems. Major problems. And they've gotten a lot worse lately. Really, really bad. Not all areas are affected - and in fact some have improved already, but more and more areas are getting so bad that Sprint's 3G data is completely unusable there, especially since the introduction of the iPhone. Troubleshooting and update my phone's "profile" and PRL didn't help, as evident from the screenshot #2 you see below.
When it comes to testing bandwidth throughput of your Android device, the Speedtest.net app is considered a de facto standard - it's functional, the UI is gorgeous, and there is a good chance they have a server pretty close to your location. I've tried all the speed testing programs in the Market, and always kept coming back to this one. For a long time the app has remained unchanged on the Market, lagging behind its iOS counterpart and its shiny new user interface. Well, no more.
Ookla, the company behind the Speedtest.net app, just dropped version 2.0 into the Market, and I can tell you that their final product is simply gorgeous (especially if you've never seen the iOS version).