As most of our readers know, an update to the Play Store rolled out a couple of days ago with a feature many of us have been requesting for nearly three years: the ability to join and leave beta test groups from within the Play Store. For reasons we can only speculate about, the join/leave capability was disabled about 24 hours later. While the headlining feature was covered in our original post, there are still a couple of interesting tidbits waiting for the teardown treatment.
A few years ago getting Internet access while on an airline flight seemed like magic. Now in the not-too-distant future, the connection in your plane might be faster than the one in your home. According to a press release issued by Virgin America, new technology from corporate partner ViaSat will improve its satellite Internet connection by a factor of five to ten times thanks to a next-generation satellite. The new technology offers speeds of up to 140 gigabits per second spread across the entire network, which should mean "8 to 10 times faster" speeds for individual users, enough for reliable music streaming and (maybe) some video.
The Escort SmartRadar, as its name might imply, is a radar and laser detector. If you've been looking to get a radar detector for a bargain, the Escort might be the device for you, and Groupon has it at a nice discount. The site is offering the Escort SmartRadar for $199.99, a significant discount compared to Amazon's $411 price tag or Best Buy's $360 clearance option.
You may be wondering why we're covering a deal on a radar and laser detector. The appeal for Android users is that the device has a companion app for Android that, while leaving a lot to be desired in terms of interface design, can measure speed and even warn users of upcoming "speed traps." In the interest of disclosure, it's worth noting that the app offers more features (like receiving reported information from other users) for $4.99 a month or $49.99 per year.
I drive a 2003 Ford Ranger. It's reliable, sturdy, and I'll keep it till the wheels fall off, but it is not what you'd call "advanced." The digital displays and integrated electronics of today's cars and trucks put mine to shame, even with a decent aftermarket stereo. Dash, the first app from the eponymous developer and startup, aims to change that. This free app connects to an onboard diagnostics tool (OBD, compatible with most cars from the 90s onward) via Bluetooth to report statistics and other information in real time.
Dash is a fancy dashboard that happens to sit on your phone instead of behind your steering wheel.
Did you know that the web browser on your phone or tablet waits three tenths of a second after you tap something to actually perform that action? You did if you're a web developer - it's a de-facto standard for mobile browsers, a built-in delay for the double-tap zoom function. But if you're on the newest Chrome beta, you won't see the delay, at least on mobile sites.
Why is this? According to Jake Archibald of HTML5 Rocks (a promotional and instructional project page from Google), it's because this delay is unnecessary if you're browsing on a page that's already optimized for mobile viewing.
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.