Speedtest is the app we turn to when we either want to brag about our awesome new fiber super-mega-ultra fast connection or we want to make sure our connection is being really crappy and not our devices behaving badly. The app has looked pretty much the same for as long as I've known it, but it is getting a much needed revamp now in version 4.
The procession of apps reaching 100 million downloads on the Play Store continues, and the latest to join the club is the famous Speedtest by Ookla. If you've never heard of it before, then you probably never had to test the speed of your data or WiFi connection to brag in front of friends or to complain to your ISP.
Speedtest does its job and does it well. I don't keep it installed on my devices, but I always rush to grab it when something feels iffy about my connection, whether it's uncharacteristically fast (yeah, that dream happened once or twice) or much much slower than usual.
Earlier this week Ookla teased their revised and updated Speedtest.net app for Android, and now it's live in the Play Store for anyone to download. The go-to network test for end users and reviewers alike has been completely redesigned, with a new interface, new options, and the ability to remove the advertising with a $.99 in-app purchase. That's a nice perk for frequent users.
The old interface wasn't exactly awful, but it had been going for several years without any sort of refresh. In addition to the new visuals you can also view your results on a map, which should help you get a good idea of the high and low spots for your networks.
When it comes to testing your network speed, Ookla's Speedtest app is the unmatched champion. But it hasn't seen a substantial update in a very long time, and it doesn't even scale properly on some devices (*cough* Nexus 4 *cough*). Looks like the company has been working on a new version of the app for a while now, which it just teased on Twitter.
As you can see, it keeps the same familiar gauge for testing, as well as the same overall layout, but it looks substantially more appealing. And since it's running on the Nexus 4 here, device compatibility should be much better with version 3.0.
As we already know, Sprint is going to roll out its next generation 4G LTE network in four U.S. cities somewhere around mid-2012, and it would only make sense that they already have some of the towers undergoing testing. The first of such alleged tests surfaced online today:
While I can't promise you it's 100% legitimate, here's my analysis:
The device used is more than likely a dedicated LTE hotspot and not a handset (like the LTE Galaxy Nexus). If you remember, such was the case with Verizon's LTE network, and it's easy to understand why - building a complicated phone with a new chip and having it available for testers this early would be a lot harder than a dedicated device with only one job - being a hotspot.
When it comes to testing bandwidth throughput of your Android device, the Speedtest.net app is considered a de facto standard - it's functional, the UI is gorgeous, and there is a good chance they have a server pretty close to your location. I've tried all the speed testing programs in the Market, and always kept coming back to this one. For a long time the app has remained unchanged on the Market, lagging behind its iOS counterpart and its shiny new user interface. Well, no more.
Ookla, the company behind the Speedtest.net app, just dropped version 2.0 into the Market, and I can tell you that their final product is simply gorgeous (especially if you've never seen the iOS version).