Google is making the best of allowing enthusiasts and 3rd-party developers early access to the next release of Android, and the result will be a less buggy release when L finally hits the grand stage. While new issues are reported each day, there's a lot of progress showing up on the Issue Tracker. Just yesterday, a burst of 18 bugs were marked as 'fixed,' following a 2-week gap without any obvious activity.
Asus has lately become the king of anime-style transforming electronics, with their Transformer tablet line and Padfone devices. It looks like Google is paying attention, at least when it comes to conceptual hardware. US patent 8,649,821, granted to Google in February of this year, describes a laptop with a built-in and detachable cell phone, with the two working in tandem for various functions. While Android and Chromebooks aren't specifically mentioned in the patent documentation, it's easy to assume they were on the engineers' minds, since it was filed in September of 2012.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) aren’t the sexiest topic out there, but they are a pretty vital part of daily operations for almost every major company and many small businesses. VPNs are used to securely connect a computer, tablet, or phone to a company's private network over the Internet, thus allowing people to work remotely while ensuring strict authentication and enforcing administrative policies. Even some power users are apt to set up a VPN if they want to make their home networks accessible while they're on the road.
If you're a current or prospective T-Mobile customer and you're partial to using that data connection for more than one device at a time, there's good news. The gents at TmoNews got their hands on an internal memo that outlines bumps in T-Mobile's tethering policies that went into effect yesterday. Before yesterday, the $70 unlimited data plan included 500MB of of Smart Phone Mobile Hotspot (tethered data) and an option for a $30 2.5GB add-on.
Stock Android has had built-in tethering since version 2.2 way back in 2010, but most carrier-branded devices in the US have the option disabled. Sure, there are root apps and various workarounds, but they can be a mess. If you don't need web access, but want your devices on a local network, you're often out of luck. A new app from well-known developer Chainfire gives you back some control (on some devices), and it doesn't require root.
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.
I'm going to be up front: I want Glass. I'm thoroughly intrigued with the idea, I love the possibility of having an always-available camera that sees whatever I see, and completely hands-free Google sounds like a perfectly natural progression of the things like Google Now and voice actions. In the world where personal digital assistants seem commonplace, why should we not expect those things to be always accessible and visible?
Well, apparently there are a lot of reasons.
Remember the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the HTC Sensation 4G that we told you about yesterday? Turns out that it does more than just bring ICS - it also kills free tethering.
Wait, what? T-Mobile had free tethering? Technically, no. But in reality, yes. Here's how it used to work: T-Mobile offered a tethering service for around $15 per month. Somehow, though, there was a "technical limitation" that actually prevented them from charging for the service on Android devices (though Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T have never had a problem taking our money for the same thing).
Almost one full year ago, carriers threw the gauntlet down on tethering applications in the Play Store. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile were among the first to lay down the banhammer, with Sprint following soon after.
Here we are, a year later and guess what? Version 3 of the infamous Wi-Fi Tether for Root Users app just hit the Play Store, sans carrier restrictions. Of course, this is only because carriers haven't yet found out about the app; when they do, however, you better believe its availability will quickly be laid to rest - so you better grab before it's gone.