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.
If you're paranoid about losing both your smartphone and your tablet... well, you probably shouldn't be carrying both in an area where either is likely to get stolen. But if you do, and feel like you need an extra layer of protection, McAfee is here to indulge your fear. Smart Perimeter Plus (in the Security Innovations app) links your Android phone and tablet, then sets off an alarm if either are separated from the same WiFi network.
It looks like Google is gearing up for the Glass Explorer program, launching the MyGlass companion app and a new Glass setup page, both accessible to the general public.
The companion app relies on Google's now-signature "Card UI," and the listing's screenshots show off some of the app's functionality, though Google reminds us "if you don't have Glass, then downloading this will be a waste of time. Sorry about that." The description goes on to comfort readers, however: "But if you swipe the screenshots to the right, you'll see there's a picture of a puppy in pajamas.
We first heard about a carrier-free, WiFi-only Galaxy Camera back in February. At the time we had no information on when it would come to market or how much it would cost, but today that's no longer the case! Samsung has officially announced that the smartphone-ified point-and-shoot will land on the company's website and authorized retailers "later this month" for $449.
For those who don't memorize specs of unreleased cameras months before they come to market, here's what's inside:
- Image Sensor: 16.3 effective megapixel 1/2.3" BSI CMOS
- Lens: 21x Optical Zoom Lens, 23 mm Wide Angle, F2.8 (W) ~ 5.9(T)
- IS: OIS
- Display: 121.2 mm (4.8"), 308 ppi, HD Super Clear Touch Display
- ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
- Processor: 1.4GHz quad-core processor
- OS: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
- Memory: 8GB (including read-only sections such as Android operating system) ＋ memory slot : micro SDSC, micro SDHC, micro SDXC)
- Image: JPEG format 16M, 14M, 12M Wide, 10M, 5M, 3M, 2M Wide, 1M
- Video: MP4 (Video: MPEG4, AVC/H.264, Audio: AAC); Full HD 1920x1080 30fps; Slow motion Movie 768x512 120fps
- GPS: GPS, GLONASS
- Connectivity: WiFi a/b/g/n, WiFi HT40; GPS, GLONASS; Bluetooth 4.0
- Battery: 1,650 mAh
- Dimensions: 128.7 x 70.8 x 19.1 mm
- Weight: 300g
When Liam reviewed the Galaxy Camera for AT&T, he said the jury was still out on whether this device fills a need.
Don't let the title fool you: this app isn't a WiFi-exclusive version of Skype. That would be silly. Instead, it's an easy access app for Skype's network of partnered WiFi access points, which the company claims is more than a million strong in various airports, cafes, and train stations. There's nothing stopping you from using them normally (or using the standard Skype VOIP app), but Skype WiFi will quickly connect and authenticate your Android-powered device.
While it's not a major Android version update, Sprint is rolling out a pretty good upgrade to Evo LTE customers. The over-the-air software will add the ability to stream audio/video to a television set or other display via an MHL cable. Neat!
The update will also bring a variety of improvements, including to WiFi, Bluetooth compatibility, and the proximity sensor while listening to voicemail. So hopefully you won't have to worry about your face pressing buttons now.