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Wi-Fi

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Google Maps is rolling out Wi-Fi only mode and mass transit delay notifications to some users

A couple of very useful features have started rolling out to a few lucky Google Maps users in the last couple of days. If you've been following along with our APK Teardowns, you might remember sections covering notifications for mass transit delays and an option to restrict data usage to Wi-Fi only. If you've been eager to see either of these, now might be a good time to open up Maps and poke around. But it looks like both features are launching as staged rollouts, so don't be too surprised if you're not in the opening group.

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Google Maps v9.32 Beta prepares for "Wi-Fi Only" offline maps and new traffic notifications, allows users to clean up places they've never been to, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

A new version of Google Maps hit the beta channel late last night, bring the version number up to v9.32.0. It looks mostly unchanged, but there is a brand new menu option in the Contribute screen that allows users to clean out locations they've never visited before. The bigger news comes from a teardown. A handful of notable new features are on the horizon, including a true cellular-free mode for navigation, real-time traffic notifications, and more. Since this is a beta release and the Google Maps team has been incredibly ambitious with new features, I expect some of the things listed in the teardown are actually live, but for many different reasons they may not appear for everyone or at all times.

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AT&T's First Rugged Wireless Hotspot, The Unite Explore, Is Coming April 1st For $49.99 With A Two-Year Contract

AT&T customers looking for another hotspot option will have one come April 1st. And no, that's no April Fools' joke. It would be a very bad one if it were.

AT&T is releasing the Unite Explore, a rugged portable hotspot that you can take on your next hike or camping trip. The device is advertised as dustproof and resistant to both water and shock.

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[No Cables, No Problem] Fastboot Gains Networking Capabilities, Wireless Flashing Isn't Far Off

If I were to say that I'm going to flash a new system image to your Nexus phone without attaching a USB cable, you might think I'm a little crazy. Well, I could be a little crazy, but that thing about the cable is definitely coming true in the very near future. Google has added networking support to the fastboot tool. When paired with a phone with a supported bootloader, it will be possible to perform all of the usual fastboot commands wirelessly.

In a recent commit to AOSP, support for the TCP protocol was added to fastboot. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is one of the basic building blocks of communication on the Internet, used for reliable transmission of data from one point to another.

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Samsung Announces Connect Auto, An OBD-Based Wi-Fi Hotspot, With AT&T As The First Network Partner In The US

"Connected cars" are all well and good, but you need a pricey new model or a mobile hotspot to see the benefit. Samsung thinks it has a solution for everyone with an older car: a gadget that plugs into a standard On-Board Diagnostic port (OBD) and rebroadcasts mobile Internet on local Wi-Fi. It's a simple idea, but one that's easy and unobtrusive. The company calls it the Samsung Connect Auto.

The Connect Auto was announced in Samsung's home country of South Korea, though the timing coincides with Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There's no date or price for the gadget, but Samsung has already announced its first network partner: AT&T.

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Two Weeks Later, NVIDIA Resumes The Android 6.0 Upgrade For The SHIELD Tablet, This Time With Working Wi-Fi

NVIDIA tends to be very diligent when it comes to upgrading its first-party Android hardware. Earlier this month the company sent out an over-the-air update for the SHIELD Tablet, bumping the mostly-stock software up to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. A day later it halted the update, because early users were reporting that the new software made the tablet's Wi-Fi inoperable... which is kind of a big deal, especially when most of your tablets are Wi-Fi only. Today the problem has apparently been fixed, and the update is being resumed.

The news was posted on NVIDIA's official forum, which remains quite active.

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A New App From ASUS Lets You Control The Company's Wi-Fi Routers From Android

ASUS doesn't just make low-price Android phones and tablets with regrettable amounts of bloatware. The company is a major manufacturer of all kinds of consumer electronics, including laptops, PC components, and network equipment - and ASUS routers have some of the best bang-to-buck ratio on the market. That said, their browser-based management tools are designed for desktops, so accessing them to change any settings on your local Wi-Fi network is a major headache on Android. Until now: ASUS published a router management app in the Play Store earlier this month.

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Republic Wireless Introduces Project Salsa, Its Effort To Seamlessly Hand Over Cellular Calls To Wi-Fi

Republic Wireless has one big selling point—the ability to seamlessly switch from a call from Wi-Fi to cellular without getting dropped. This enables it to offer low monthly bills, as customers tend to offload most of their usage onto Wi-Fi when they're at home.

Unfortunately, cellular calls have not been able to seamlessly transition back onto Wi-Fi networks, regardless of which network they originated on. But with project Salsa, Republic Wireless is aiming to alleviate this issue. It hopes to soon offer seamless cell to Wi-Fi handover.

Customers who don't want to wait can sign up for project Salsa right away.

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Virgin America's Upgraded In-Flight Wi-Fi Will Offer Speeds Up To Ten Times Faster Starting In September

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.

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If You Really Want WiFi On Your LG G Watch R, There's Now A Mod That Enables It

If you have an LG G Watch R, you're probably aware of the Wi-Fi drama following Android Wear 5.1.1's release for the watch. While Google had announced Wi-Fi support for the platform's update in general, it turned out that the G Watch R didn't have the certifications necessary to boast that function, although technically the hardware was very capable of it. LG then let us know that it's working on a patch to enable Wi-Fi (and presumably on getting all the right certifications) but that it wouldn't be released before July.

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Not to let some paperwork get in the way of gadgetry, Vojtěch Boček managed to have Wi-Fi working on his LG G Watch R after flashing some files over from the Watch Urbane (which has the same hardware, but currently supports Wi-Fi). The details of the mod are available on XDA, but they aren't for the faint of heart.

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