Android's upcoming L release, currently available in developer preview form, has a lot of improvements to its networking and Wi-Fi capability. One of the smaller additions that will nonetheless make a few people very, very happy is the user-facing reporting of Wi-Fi frequencies. Translation: you can finally see whether the Wi-Fi network you're connected to is using the 2.4GHz band or the 5GHz band.
Left, center: separate network frequencies in Android L (note the SSID). Read More
Oh, you have a 64GB microSD card in your phone? That's cute, but Samsung has this 1.5TB wireless hard drive that can provide untold hours of digital entertainment streamed directly to your Android device via the hard drive's built-in WiFi access point. That's a lot of space you can fill up with content, but how well does it work?
16GB of on-board storage? Pathetic. 32GB MicroSD card? Miserly. Samsung is teaming up with its subsidiary Seagate to provide an add-on mobile storage solution that should outstrip just about everything out there, and do a few more tricks as well. The "Samsung Wireless" device is combination Wi-Fi/USB portable hard drive and portable battery with a gigantic 1.5TB capacity, set to sell for $179. Unfortunately there's no reliable release date, and it's not available on the Samsung store at the moment. Read More
Even after years on the market and innumerable would-be competitors, GoPro remains the standard for "action cameras." A big part of that is the excellent smartphone integration that GoPro's devices have maintained, and today the official Android app gets a little better in a lot of small ways. The most obvious is the new user interface, which is visible on Android 4.0 and above. The all-black UI keeps its focus on minimalism and utility, but gets rid of some of the gradients of the former interface. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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."
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. Read More
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. Read More