Privacy and technology maintain a tenuous relationship, and the balance between convenient features and personal security is always one worth keeping in mind as users make the most of their devices' capabilities. To that end, Chainfire has released a new proof of concept app that aims to give users at least some peace of mind when it comes to the - for lack of a better term - trackability of their devices, specifically related to Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi is a staple among most smartphone users. While we tend to talk more about cellular data, it's really just there to sustain us as we travel from one access point to another. We aren't just demanding more data at higher speeds, we're connecting more devices than ever before. The inevitable overcrowding of the 2.4 GHz brought about the expansion into the 5 GHz range. Unfortunately, many Nexus devices (and at least a few others) are having trouble making and maintaining connections to this higher frequency band.
Today is a big day for Republic Wireless. After weeks of anticipation, the Moto X is finally up for sale alongside four new plans. The Moto X costs $299 from Republic, but that's without any kind of contract – the full price is $499 most places. You also get you choice of four super-cheap service plans on Republic Wireless.
This is only the second phone Republic Wireless has launched, with the last being the lackluster Motorola Defy XT.
In a pair of exciting tweets (and a Google+ post), the Android team has announced that the WiFi Nexus 7 (both 2012 and 2013 models) will begin getting updated to Android 4.4 KitKat today, while the mobile data-enabled Nexus 7 and Nexus 4 will get the update "soon."
Starting today, Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013) and Nexus 10 will be getting a tasty update to Android 4.4, KitKat
— Android (@Android) November 13, 2013
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.
We've all been there: for 20 minutes during takeoff and landing, the cabin of an American airliner becomes a virtual Faraday cage as every passenger is told to turn off everything with a battery, from the latest Android superphones to the humble Game Boy. This practice has been heavily criticized in the last few years, and there's finally some real movement towards tossing it out the window. The Wall Street Journal reports that a Federal Aviation Administration advisory panel has recommended approving electronic devices for use during takeoff and landing, including WiFi data access.
There's good news for frequent international travelers and Fon users alike today. Fon and AT&T have entered into a mutually-beneficial agreement to let each other's users access both networks when out and about. So AT&T International WiFi users will have access to Fon's distributed WiFi hotspots without having to buy the Fonera hardware, and Fon users won't have to pay an access fee on the AT&T WiFi hotspots that still charge one.
Riding on an airplane is the fastest way we currently have to get from one place to another, but boarding one is also one of the quickest ways to cut yourself off from the rest of the world. Not all flights provide Wi-Fi access, and connections are often slow on those that do. Thankfully, Gogo is working to speed up airborne Wi-Fi connections, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Virgin America has already signed up to give its new service a go.
I really like the Sonos system of wireless music servers and speakers. I also can't afford it due to a wretched and unshakeable habit of collecting novelty egg cups. But my job does give me a paper-thin excuse for buying tons of Android devices, and it just so happens that a new app will let me cobble those together to make a vague approximation of a connected music system.
SoundSeeder is more or less a straight-up copy of Samsung's Group Play, with the obvious addition that you don't need Samsung hardware at either end to use it.
If there is one thing we all eventually rely on with mobile devices, it's having a sturdy Wi-Fi connection. Whether it's because of a low data cap, you live or work somewhere with a weak cell signal, or like me, the local cellular technology is stuck in the stone age, you probably have a few wireless networks saved on your phone or tablet. While you probably take it for granted that your devices will automatically connect to these networks when they are in range, some people are finding that feature hasn't been working as expected since upgrading to Android 4.3.