I'm a huge fan of text expanders. Seriously, they are necessary to me. As a regular user of both Mac and Windows, I have sought out solutions on both platforms and rely on them daily. That's why I've always felt horrified that there weren't any great options on Android. After all, mobile devices are already input-impaired, it only makes sense that we need quality shortcuts. As it turns out, such a shortcut has been under our noses for quite some time, tucked away where few would look and only available with the stock Android 4.1 (or higher) keyboard. But, thanks to the newly minted availability of the Google Keyboard on the Play Store, it's time to call out this great little feature.
The rumors were true and now T-Mobile has launched its new, simplified, contract-free plans. Starting at $50/month for unlimited talk and text with 500MB of high-speed data (throttled, but sans overage fees after that), the new services allow customers to forget about counting minutes and messages and focus solely on data. This could be good or bad news, depending on your usage, but perhaps the most important aspect of these new plans is that you can get them without a 2-year commitment.
You can select to get the new plans with or without a new device (which some carriers will allow you to do already), but if you do decide you want to buy a phone from T-Mobile, you'll have two tabs: 'Monthly Payments' or 'One Payment'.
There are those among us who simply need more storage. Phones like the Nexus 4, which offers only 8 or 16GB of storage just don't provide enough space for some users, and for them there are phones with microSD slots. MicroSD cards, though, aren't cheap. If you've been looking for a card with a high capacity but not a high price, Amazon has a deal for you.
The retailer is offering up the SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSDHC Class 10 UHS-1 card (with adapter) for just $19.99. In recent memory, we haven't seen a better price on this card.
For those confused about what makes this a great microSD card (besides its 32GB capacity), it's class 10, meaning it's guaranteed to record video at at least 10MB/s, with promised data transfer speeds of up to 30MB/s.
GMD, or Good Mood Droid, has been known to make some incredible – if relatively niche – apps (remember GestureControl?). Today, the developer is back with GMD Speed Time – an aptly-named tool for root users that will bring in your digital corn harvest faster than you can say "cheating device."
The app is incredibly simple – it speeds up your device's system clock, allowing you to cut the waiting time in farming (or other time-dependent games) with speeds anywhere from 2x up to 1000x normal. When you're done, the app will automatically return your system clock to the correct time.
Today, the UK's public broadcasting service, the BBC, upgraded its mobile app for Android. The update brings improvements to the UI to bring the interface a bit more in line with Android's Holo guidelines. The new version also adds support for Jelly Bean 4.2, improved video streaming over WiFi, and a new content channel.
Here's the full changelog:
What's in this version:
Many thanks for all of your feedback on our last update. Here’s what’s new in this release:
- We’ve polished up the design of the app
- Video performance over Wi-Fi has been improved(with more improvements still to come)
- Added Android 4.2 Jelly Bean support
- You’ll find a new channel - BBC Alba
As ever, let us know what you think @bbciplayer
Of course, the BBC iPlayer isn't available outside the UK, so international users need not excite themselves too much.
The Now Network continues to march forward in its 4G LTE Network Vision build-out, today announcing four markets in which the LTE switch is being flipped. You may remember Sprint's July statement that it would be bringing LTE to four new cities by September 3rd, and it looks like the carrier has already made good on that promise, with one exception – the list has dropped Sherman-Denison, TX in favor of Sedalia MO. Here's the full lineup of newly christened LTE cities:
- Baltimore, MD
- Gainesville, GA
- Manhattan/Junction City, KS
- Sedalia, MO
While Sprint is more than a little late to the LTE party and still a bit slow on the pick-up, it's always good to see a fresh batch of areas getting access to the burgeoning network.
For most, a generic off-the-shelf microSD card is probably just fine. It may slow things down and take a little longer to access, but that's alright in return for lower cost. For some people, though, having their device slowed down by a budget microSD card isn't an option. Other people need high performance for recording 3D and 1080p video. It's those two groups that the SanDisk Extreme Pro microSDHC UHS-I card is for.
I think SanDisk caught Sprint's case of diu nominibus.
SanDisk touts the Extreme Pro as being "the fastest microSDHC memory card on the market." I haven't tested every card on the market, but they're probably right.
Another major enhancement we've just learned about with the announcement of Jelly Bean is called Project Butter. Butter (so named likely due to the colloquialism "smooth as butter") represents a new, more efficient processing framework for Android's latest and greatest iteration, making the OS much faster (allowing animation up to 60fps). Android 4.1 also makes apps more responsive, reducing touch latency and "anticipating where your finger will be at the time of screen refresh."
"How is such an enhancement possible?" I can almost hear you wondering. Take it from the Android developer site:
Nearly two months ago, I reviewed the new SanDisk 64GB class 6 microSDXC (the XC stands for "eXtreme Capacity") card, and came away hugely impressed. Something the size of my pinky fingernail that can store 16 compressed 1080p BluRays, and outperforms my class 10 16GB card? Yes please.
Shortly after the card's release, the company followed up with a UHS-1 (Ultra High Speed-1) class 10 version. While the original class 6 version now rests at $72 - a substantial price drop from the $100 at the time of review - the UHS card costs just $118. At $100 for the C6, it was a questionable purchase from a value perspective; at $118 for the UHS-1, you're paying for a well-deserved premium for performance.
Just a few days after allegedly adding its NYC market to the list of 2012 LTE rollout locations, Sprint has evidently begun planning to light up the Los Angeles Metro area by the end of 2012 as well.
Sprint's Los Angeles Metro market currently spans all of Los Angeles County, including Avalon and Santa Catalina. According to S4GRU, Orange County, North LA, Riverside/San Bernardino, San Diego, and Lower Central Valley are included in different markets, and are expected to deploy some time after Los Angeles.
S4GRU also notes that while converting the necessary sites to Network Vision standards will take over 8 months, individual sites will be activated on a monthly basis, meaning customers who purchase Sprint's first round of 4G LTE-enabled devices will still have a chance of enjoying enhanced data speeds.