It's a big day for Netflix: the Android app for both smartphones and tablets has been updated to version 2.0. So with this earth-shattering update to everyone's favorite streaming service, they've added... a WiFi switch. That's it. It makes sure you won't use your mobile data while streaming movies or TV shows. There doesn't seem to be much else to justify a full version bump from 1.8.1.
Alright, to be fair, there are a few user interface tweaks.
Another day, another Kickstarter project. This one actually looks like it could have potential, though. Ubi is an Android-powered speaker system that connects to your local WiFi network. The small black box plugs into a power outlet and is controlled primarily via voice. It comes equipped with colored LEDs for notifications, and an array of sensors including temperature, humidity, air pressure, and ambient light. To round out the specs, the box packs a full-size USB port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Splashtop is one of the leading pieces of remote desktop software, not to mention app of choice for NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang when he wants to play Skyrim on his tablet. Now, Splashtop 2 HD has hit the Play Store, bringing pinch-to-zoom support, a new interface, and a very attractive price tag of free, for the time being.
As of right now, the app is free on the Play Store, however Splashtop says that this deal will only be available "for a limited time." Now, according the Play Store rules, a developer cannot convert a free app into a paid app, so it's unclear just how this will work once the developer ends the free period.
For most people, you can probably pull a 3G/4G connection of a few megs. Alternatively, if you're somewhere with WiFi (such as at home), you can probably pull a few more megs. But the two are mutually exclusive - that is, if you're using one, you can't be using the other. Or rather, they were - because now, thanks to Super Download, you can run both simultaneously.
Obviously, the app could provide you with some pretty impressive speeds, but it's still in the early beta stages.
As of right now, very few Android devices support Wi-Fi Direct sharing, which was first implemented as part of Android 4.0. The protocol requires Ice Cream Sandwich, which is still only on 16% of Android devices. Beyond that, the device needs some software to take advantage of the new API. Some devices (like the Galaxy S III) include built-in support, but for others that either haven't included support in the OS—or that do, but don't work very well, like my own E4GT—you'll need some kind of app to take advantage of it.
Republic Wireless, the wireless carrier that prefers WiFi for most of its connections, and utilizes Sprint 3G in the interim, has announced that it's ready to take on new customers. The company reported that "Wave A", which consists of an unspecified number of users, has been a resounding success and that they believe they've found a model on which a $19/month unlimited everything plan is sustainable.
Today marks an important milestone for republic wireless.
Over at Black Hat USA 2012, security researcher Ralf-Phillip Weinmann demonstrated a vulnerability in several Android devices that utilized A-GPS to send illicit messages to the device which could, he explained, be used to send a report of the device's location any time an A-GPS message was sent or even be used to gain complete control of the device.
In describing the attack, Weinmann pointed out that, for example, a malicious WiFi network could instruct a phone to relay all future A-GPS requests, even once the device has left the WiFi network's range.
We all know the scenario: a friend or family member is at your place and needs to connect to the Wi-Fi. At that point, you have a few choices (none of which are ideal): hand them a piece of paper with the network key, tell it to them aloud, or enter it for them.
Wouldn't it be so much easier to let them tap an NFC tag (granted they actually have an NFC-capable phone) or scan a QR code?
There are few things that are more of a drag, in the mobile device world, than having to find where you left your micro USB cord to plug in your device just to copy a couple of files over to your computer. Most of the time wireless services like Dropbox help alleviate this need. For the times that those aren't enough, Droid NAS can turn your device into wireless storage. Provided you use a Mac or another Android device to access it.
In the tech world, it's almost impossible to launch a high-profile device without someone claiming you've infringed a patent somewhere. Today, it's Nokia's turn with the Nexus 7. The Finnish company has stated that it believes the Nexus 7 violates some of its standards-essential patents relating to WiFi. The announcement seems to be a more casual nod to Google and ASUS to simply fork over a bit of cash, akin to the Rob Schneider prompting Kevin for a tip in Home Alone 2*.