It has been a couple of months since Play Books has been in the news, but there's a new update rolling out and it brings a couple of new features. Version 3.9 gives search a little more help with more thorough suggestions and adds a badge to series when new content hits the store. Those two things along with some other general bug fixes and improvements are certainly nice, but there are also a couple of things to talk about in a teardown. Keep reading for details or skip straight to the bottom for a download link. Read More
Android's upcoming L release, currently available in developer preview form, has a lot of improvements to its networking and Wi-Fi capability. One of the smaller additions that will nonetheless make a few people very, very happy is the user-facing reporting of Wi-Fi frequencies. Translation: you can finally see whether the Wi-Fi network you're connected to is using the 2.4GHz band or the 5GHz band.
Left, center: separate network frequencies in Android L (note the SSID). Right: Android 4.4.
That's more important than it sounds: the 5GHz band available on newer and more high-end wireless routers allows for data transmission at up to one gigabit per second on 802.11ac. Read More
One more KitKat feature spotlight for the evening. This time, it's Wi-Fi TDLS. Added in Android 4.4, Wi-Fi TDLS, as Google describes it, is "a seamless way to stream media and other data faster between devices already on the same Wi-Fi network." TDLS, for those that don't know, stands for Tunneled Direct Link Setup.
Essentially, Wi-Fi TDLS allows two devices on the same Wi-Fi network to link directly to one another and share data without burdening the network/router/other devices in the process. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance:
Two TDLS devices automatically use their highest common performance and security features, regardless of the feature level supported by the network. TVs, smartphones, cameras, printers, PCs, projectors, and gaming devices, for example, can connect directly to each other to transfer content and share applications quickly and easily.
Until now, using emoji in parts of Android besides Hangouts could be a little tricky. Officially, the emoji keyboard was included as part of the iWnn IME, and required users to manually switch using the persistent keyboard notification which appeared any time a user tapped a text field. Even then, users couldn't enjoy the full-color emoji found in Hangouts. This was certainly less than ideal.
Thankfully, Google has spread "Emoji everywhere" with Android 4.4 KitKat, integrating the set of awesome emoji with Google Keyboard for easier access. Users can now spice up their text messages, emails, and other communiqués with fun Japanese-inspired characters and mood icons. Read More