Google has been branching out into new areas recently with the acquisition of Nest and Dropcam, but now it has partnered with TP-Link to make something new—a WiFi router called the OnHub. I know, you've already got a router, but this one looks pretty great as far as routers go. It will automatically adjust channels and bandwidth to suit your usage, it remembers your devices, it's got a speaker/Bluetooth, and there's a mobile app to manage it all.
Hangouts version 4.0 has been released, to both relief and derision among the Android faithful. We're still finding some of the cool stuff that it can do, but at least one member of the /r/Android subreddit beat us to the punch. "Tutsumi" noticed that if you should happen to change between mobile and Wi-Fi networks while you're in an active video call, the connection won't drop out like it used to.
I gave this a shot on both Hangouts 3.0 and 4.0. On the previous version, switching from Wi-Fi to Verizon's local LTE network or vice versa caused the call between my PC and Nexus 6 to drop out, as you would expect.
There are a lot of phones that don't come with microSD card slots these days, and it's not always feasible to plug stuff into the USB port. That's when the SanDisk Connect wireless flash drive comes in handy. This device is on sale via Amazon for $29.99, about $10 less than usual and half of the MSRP. That's better than most of the Prime Day "deals" from yesterday.
SanDisk has announced a new product in its Connect line of wireless storage devices, the Connect Wireless Stick. This appears to be the second generation version of the Connect Wireless Flash Drive, which has been around for about a year. This version is slimmer, has more storage, and relies on a new app.
Some early users of LG's Watch Urbane outside of the US were a bit perplexed when they tried to use the Android Wear device's Wi-Fi syncing feature. Apparently the current software build only enables Wi-Fi channels one through eleven - not coincidentally, the only ones legally accessible to consumer electronics in the United States. A long support thread on Google's Android Wear forum is full of new owners wondering why they can't connect to their local wireless networks.
Wi-Fi channels (not to be confused with wireless bands) are standardized frequency variations, usually at a distance of 5MHz or so from the nearest channel, that facilitate easier connections with multiple devices and/or in places where the 2.4GHz band is overly crowded.
The announcements are coming fast and loose out of Mobile World Congress. Huawei has been steadily sharing new phablets, watches, and more. One of the less conventional gadgets to join the company's lineup includes a Wi-Fi hotspot designed for automobiles, dubbed CarFi. It has been designed to share a 4G LTE connection with up to 10 devices simultaneously, and it doesn't look half bad.
CarFi is similar to many other cellular hotspot devices, but it plugs directly into the DC port found in most cars and trucks. Naturally, it requires an activated SIM card for service, and it supports up to 150 Mbps with LTE category 4.
Back in 2014, one of the changes spotted in Google Search was support for settings toggles through voice commands. At the time, the feature wasn't complete — it merely gave you a shortcut to open the corresponding settings panel. That wasn't helpful at all, since you had to use your fingers to make the change, which would have been done much faster through the drop-down quick settings. In Lollipop, starting with 5.0, some of these toggles work as they are supposed to, through voice commands alone and without the need for some third-party hack like Commandr.
"Turn on/off Wifi, Bluetooth, or Flashlight," are all currently working in Google Now. You get an audio feedback letting you know that the action has been triggered, then the magic happens.
The longer Android 5.0 is in the wild, the more we come across annoying little bugs. It sounds like Google might have broken something in the wireless framework in 5.0 because a sizeable number of users are reporting issues with connecting to their corporate networks after the 5.0 update.
If you follow Artem on Google+ or check Reddit, you probably saw him discussing the likelihood that Google has delayed updating Nexus devices to Android 5.0. This was originally slated to begin November 3rd, but now the date we're hearing is November 12th. There's no official word, but it looks like a particularly troublesome WiFi bug in the developer preview might be to blame.
Several months ago, we discussed something called Nearby, a project that - at the time - seemed to be Google's effort to let "people, places, and things" know when a user is, well, nearby. It seems that Google is still hard at work on its effort to connect various devices to each other and their surroundings, but Copresence (an internal name for this functionality) may have a more specific scope in this effort than we first estimated, apparently including iOS devices in the fun.
Copresence, which we saw a glimpse of in a recent teardown, appears to be aimed at letting nearby Android and iOS devices communicate with one another in a variety of ways, exchanging files, photos, directions, messages, or other content, essentially making Copresence a sort of contactless, cross-platform version of Android Beam.