Google let the cat out of the bag yesterday with a blog post detailing just what we should expect in the next major version to Android Wear. An upcoming software update will be adding Wi-Fi support, always-on apps, and a few other interesting options. While we wait for new firmwares to hit our wrist-bound hardware, the Android Wear app just received its own update to prepare for the new features. This isn't just a small maintenance release to add configuration screens, there are some major visual and organizational improvements, and a few new features.
Republic Wireless, the Sprint MVNO that burdens as much cellular load as it can onto Wi-Fi networks and seamlessly switches between the two, is changing the way it handles plans. Starting later this year, the company will charge you based on how much you use rather than the speed of your data connection. It will also offer refunds if you don't use up all the data you pay for each month. The carrier is calling this project Maestro.
Remember when we used to play games with people who were actually in the same room? Rookie Play Store developer Seabaa does. They've created DUAL!, an Android game that positively demands you play it with friends. DUAL is basically a top-down space shooter in the style of Galaga, but the structure has been modified to allow two people to play across two Wi-Fi connected devices, either competitively or cooperatively.
The primary game mode pits two players against each other.
The original NVIDIA SHIELD (before the Tablet or the set-top box, so just called "SHIELD" at the time) was a surprise revelation at CES 2013. This high-powered Android device with an Xbox-style controller and a flip-up screen was unlike anything we had seen before, and though it never became a runaway hit, many (including yours truly) have been hoping that NVIDIA would update the design in addition to its more conventional SHIELD entries.
Amazon's Android tablets and phone are often seen as second class citizens in the mobile world, but its Fire TV set-top box and Fire TV Stick gadget are worthy competitors in their respective spaces. Amazon is about to make both of them even better with a new update aimed at expanding functionality, particularly in those small but crucial areas that can make a big difference to the user experience. First up: Wi-Fi access for hotspots that require browser-based authentication, like dorm rooms, hotels, offices, and the like.
You're sitting in a bar, spending $30 on beer and nachos because you're too cheap to spend $100 on a month's worth of cable for Monday Night Football. Despite the fact that the place is tiny and the walls are so thin that you can hear drivers in the street swearing at each other, it's somehow also a black hole for cellular service. So you ask the bartender for the Wi-Fi password, then ask him for the right password, then finally get connected...
If you're a hotel manager, especially at a big, fancy hotel where people can expect to pay a convenience fee for running water, you might be tempted to charge an iniquitous amount of money for your guests to access the Internet. Your guests, in turn, might tell you to suck it and use the Wi-Fi hotspot feature built into just about every new smartphone being sold today. That might make you turn around and consider doing something drastic, like, say, implement an elaborate system of jammers to block or spoof signals and make personal Wi-Fi devices useless.
Look, we're not in the audiophile business. We don't cover music products that don't feature Android in some way, shape, or form. And running bleeding-edge software is not a prerequisite for quality sound. But seriously, Sony, if you're going to charge twelve hundred dollars for a device that runs Android, could you not load it with an OS build that's over two years old? Alas, such is the case with the Walkman NW-ZX2 announced at CES.
T-Mobile doesn't have the most expansive network, so while it's doing its part to rapidly roll out LTE to many of the country's largest markets, it's also coming up with other ways to fill in the gaps where its connection is weak. Today the company made a series of Un-Carrier 7.0 announcements that all concern using Wi-Fi to make calls or send texts, even from 30,000 feet (texting and voicemail only).
You know the scenario: friends come over, want to use your Wi-Fi, and expect you to just hand over the password. I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty weird about just giving my password to everyone who walks through the door, regardless of how well I know them. Most of time I opt to type my password in for them, but there is an easier way: store your Wi-Fi info on an NFC tag.