WiFi Stories May 5, 2016

Idea Cellular subscribers in India can now pay for Google Play content using their carrier bill

Google has announced today that direct carrier billing, or DCB for short, is coming to India. In collaboration with Idea Cellular, the feature allows people to pay for content in Google Play by way of their phone bill, removing the need for a credit card…

WiFi Stories April 16, 2016

google-india

A few months ago Google launched a free high-speed public WiFi network in Mumbai Central Station, and now the company announced that similar networks are coming to nine more train stations across India.

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WiFi Stories February 2, 2016

OTA update to Google’s OnHub routers adds guest Wi-Fi network, device renaming

Unlike most routers that remain static after you purchase them, Google’s line of OnHub routers are meant to receive software updates and new features. While it launched without the standard feature of a guest Wi-Fi network, an update rolling out this week to both models remedies that…

WiFi Stories December 18, 2015

wifi

If you’ve ever used public WiFi before, you’re probably familiar with one common problem that just about everyone runs into every once in a while. You’ve selected the theoretically open WiFi network that you want to join and your phone tells you that you’re successfully connected, but when you head to Chrome and try to load up a page, you get nothing. In the Android WiFi settings menu, you may see a message along the lines of “Connected. No internet”. I ran into this problem myself a few times just this week, but now I’ve found the solution…

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WiFi Stories December 7, 2015

Ericsson-and-Qualcomm-Prep-LTE-U-For-Use-On-Various-Networks

With ever more devices trying to squeeze growing volumes of mobile data through a limited number of LTE frequencies, Verizon is leading the push for use of unlicensed frequencies – known as LTE-Unlicensed, or LTE-U. As well as increasing capacity, LTE-U would potentially offer faster speeds.

The problem? These are the same frequencies used by WiFi, Bloomberg reporting that Google, Microsoft, Comcast and other oppose rapid adoption for this reason.

The three companies have been among a group lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to delay LTE-U’s adoption pending further tests [claiming that it] “would substantially degrade consumer Wi-Fi service across the country.”

The companies argue that while both existing LTE frequencies and WiFi play nicely when it comes to competing demand for use of the same airwaves, LTE-U doesn’t …  expand full story

WiFi Stories August 18, 2015

OnHub GoogleGoogle has just published a blog post unveiling OnHub, a wireless router it has developed in partnership with popular router manufacturer TP-LINK, which it says provides a Wi-Fi experience that’s “that’s fast, secure, and easy to use.”

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WiFi Stories June 2, 2015

LG-Watch-R2

It’s widely speculated that LG is working to bring WiFi support to the LG G Watch R in some future release of Android Wear, but in the most recent official release, 5.1.1, the smartwatch is notably left out. Being left out of a feature isn’t an unsolvable problem for the XDA Developers community, though, as it appears one developer has put together a hack for enabling WiFi on the round smartwatch from LG… expand full story

WiFi Stories May 19, 2015

Google says that Android Wear 5.1.1 rollout should (actually) be starting now

Google first announced Android Wear 5.1.1 back in April, and said that the update should be rolling out over the “coming weeks.” It looks like “coming weeks” has finally arrived today, as the company just took to its Product Forums to announce (again?) that the update to 5.1.1 should be rolling out “gradually in the coming days and weeks.”

In order for you to receive this update on your watch, please make sure you have the latest version of the Android Wear app on your phone, by opening the Play Store, searching for “Android Wear”, and opening the app’s Play Store page. If an [Update] button is visible, make sure to update the app.

We hope you are as excited about this update as we are.  The release will roll out gradually in the coming days and weeks. Please feel free to ask questions, share feedback, and let us know if you encounter any issues!

While many of the Android Wear OEMs at this point have already confirmed the features that are (or aren’t) coming to their devices, Google also took this opportunity to finalize the devices that would be getting much sought-after WiFi support. It looks like it’s only four devices for the moment, including the LG Watch Urbane (obviously), the Moto 360, the Sony Smartwatch 3, and the Samsung Gear Live.

For the full rundown of the features coming with 5.1.1, see the original announcement.

WiFi Stories April 20, 2015

wristgesture_500

Update: Various reports have confirmed that certain Android Wear devices, including the LG G Watch and G Watch R as well as the Asus ZenWatch, will not be getting WiFi support.

Android Wear is getting a pretty big update. Over at the official Android blog, Google this morning showed off the latest version of its mobile OS, packing several useful new features including wrist gestures for flicking through cards hands-free, WiFi support to free your watch from needing to be directly connected to your phone, support for quickly drawing emoji replies to messages, always-on screen support in apps, and a lot more… expand full story

WiFi Stories March 13, 2015

A new app has been discovered in the recently released Android 5.1 update called Google Connectivity Services (via Pocketables), and within—if you do a bit of digging and launch the “WifiAssistantOptInActivity” activity—you can find the above pop-up labeled as “Google VPN”. It looks like the Mountain View company could be preparing to launch its own VPN to increase security when joining an open WiFi network, and this might be the dialogue box that users will be presented with when doing so… expand full story

WiFi Stories March 10, 2015

Android-Wear-01

Android Wear is about to receive a very notable software update, and sources who are reportedly familiar with the smartwatch operating system’s roadmap (via The Verge) say that that it’s going to include support for WiFi among several other new features.

It looks like Google might be moving Android Wear to be more app-centric…

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WiFi Stories January 5, 2015

Polaroid’s Socialmatic camera packs 14MP & mobile printing in a WiFi-connected Android shooter

Even in the age of Instagram and amazing cameras on our smartphones, the classic concept of shoot-and-print isn’t dead thanks to Polaroid’s Socialmatic camera on display this week at CES. Polaroid’s vintage-style cam is actually modernized with WiFi connectivity and an Android-based system for shooting and sharing with a retro design.

WiFi Stories December 24, 2014

Nexus 7 (WiFi, 2012) OTA update download for 5.0.2 now available

A few days ago we noticed that Google had updated its factory image download page with a download link for Android Lollipop 5.0.2 (a build currently specific to the WiFi 2012 Nexus 7). Now, it appears that the you can now download the same software in the form of an OTA .zip straight from Google.

The update should be rolling out over-the-air currently (if you haven’t gotten it already), but if you need the OTA update to update your device manually, the above link is straight from Google’s servers. If you’ve never done a manual OTA update before, be sure to check out our guide.

WiFi Stories November 4, 2014

starbucks

Google promised back in July that its deal to provide free WiFi at 7,000 U.S. Starbucks locations would include connections up to 100x faster than usual in cities with Google Fiber – and it has now started to deliver on that. The company announced in its Google Fiber blog that a Kansas City branch is now home to the fastest Starbucks WiFi in the U.S.

At the corner of 41st and Main Street, a Kansas City Starbucks is teeming with people writing emails, streaming music, sharing videos, and more. Now that same Starbucks—one of the busiest in Kansas City—is the first to be connected directly to Google Fiber, so anyone visiting the store can get super-fast Internet with their Pumpkin Spice Latte.

The technofest doesn’t end there, either …  expand full story

WiFi Stories October 13, 2014

Students walk out of a showroom at the headquarters of Samsung Electronics in Seoul

Samsung recently revealed plans to sell mobile devices equipped with 60GHz WiFi tech capable of data transfers of up to 575MB per second. The company didn’t provide an exact release date for products supporting this type of technology, however it did say that it would also be applied to medical equipment and home automation systems.

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WiFi Stories September 12, 2014

 

526px-AT&T_logo_(horizontal).svgTelecommunications site LightRead reports that AT&T is committing to supporting WiFi Calling for its subscribers beginning sometime in 2015. The feature allows subscribers to carry voice calls over their home or office WiFi connection, for instance, when the cellular network may be poor in strength.

Speaking Friday at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, he said the carrier would use WiFi calling in 2015, but only as a complement to voice-over-LTE and 3G voice. […]

“We’re very focused on making sure it’s a great experience for customers, but we see it as a complement, not a replacement,” he said. “We feel good about a great nationwide network with unlimited talk and text.”

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WiFi Stories July 22, 2014

Uber-Google-Wifi

Uber, the app-based car service that Google recently sunk $250M into via its Google Ventures investment arm, today announced that its cars in Philadelphia this summer will have free WiFi courtesy of Google. Google also made an announcement on its own blog noting that the initiative is sponsored by Google Apps for Businesses, the online suite of productivity tools that Google hopes users in the back of the new WiFi-equipped Uber vehicles will take advantage of.  expand full story

WiFi Stories July 15, 2014

nest

Wifi and Bluetooth may work fine for today’s limited number of smart home devices, but neither is ideal for future homes in which every switch, socket and lightbulb may be a connected device – that’s the claim of a consortium of companies that includes Samsung, Nest and ARM.

GigaOM reports that the companies have jointly created a new radio system which they believe is more suited to smart home networks than existing systems.

Dubbed Thread, it is a low-power, mesh network protocol that also supports IPv6. The standard is built on the existing radio hardware used by ZigBee devices (802.15.4), which means that a company could update their ZigBee devices to support Thread with software if they chose …

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WiFi Stories May 22, 2014

googlewifiruckus

Following yesterday’s report that Google intends to launch a WiFi network aimed at small businesses, new information (via Gigaom) has surfaced suggesting that wireless equipment maker Ruckus Wireless will be partnering with the Mountain View corporation to make it happen.

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WiFi Stories April 21, 2014

quick control panel

Android is all about options, and that means the freedom to completely rip off an iOS feature (albeit an iOS feature that was inspired by various other sources, including Android itself). Quick Control Panel presents your most-used apps, along with toggles for data, WiFi, Bluetooth, Speaker, and Orientation Lock. You can adjust the brightness of your device’s screen, and the volume of both calls and media. It even displays your music when playing, allowing you to skip or pause. expand full story

WiFi Stories February 20, 2014

Google testing app that lets you automatically join WiFi hotspots, plans to roll out hotspots in US/Canada

Engadget reports that Google has been testing a new iOS and Android app at its Mountain View campus recently that would allow users to automatically join public WiFi hotspots without going through the usual log-in process. Google is apparently considering using the app in connection with its recently announced deal to provide WiFi to 7000 Starbucks locations in the US:

According to our sources, the search giant has built Android and iOS versions of an app that automatically authenticate and connect to its free hotspots inside Starbucks stores or wherever they are available. Google is currently trialling the Android app at its Mountain View HQ and has plans to offer an iOS app too.

Perhaps more interesting is Engadget’s claim that Google has “specific plans” to roll out more Google WiFi hotspots in the US and Canada as part of the ongoing “Google WiFi” effort it first launched in Mountain View back in 2006.

The report adds that the app could link to a user’s Google account and “install a dedicated security certificate on their device to automatically authenticate devices when a connection is available.” Engadget says an expanded partnership with Boingo is also a possibility:

Google may also expand its partnership with Boingo, extending logins to locations where it’s footing the bill for free wireless.

Google plans to have its WiFi rolled out at all 7000 Starbucks locations by the end of the year.

(image via ABC)

WiFi Stories August 13, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 2.39.44 PM

Google announced today that its recently launched Nexus 7 is now available to purchase in Canada through Google Play. The availability comes as the device launches in Staples, Best Buy, Future Shop and other retailers today in both the US and Canada, while the device has already been available to customers in the US through Google Play.

The refreshed Nexus 7 is available for $229 for the 16GB WiFi model and $269 for the 32GB model with both models listed as shipping in 1-2 business days. An LTE version of the new Nexus 7 is expected in the weeks to come but Google hasn’t provided an official launch date.

Google also started selling a new Nexus 7 sleeve on the Google Play today for $29.99 in both the US and Canada.

WiFi Stories July 31, 2013

StarbucksWifi (1)

After a brief announcement back in June that it had partnered with Starbucks to offer free, unlimited music through its new Google Play All Access streaming service, Google today announced that it will soon be supplying WiFi to all Starbucks locations in the US. That also includes its new gigabit Google Fiber internet service where available:

When your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster.

Up until now, AT&T provided free Wifi access to Starbucks customers in the US (and T-Mobile before that), but it appears that will no longer be the case following the roll out of Google’s networks in the coming weeks.

Google plans to start rolling out its new Starbucks networks next month and hopes to have all 7,000 US locations up and running on its networks within 18 months. Google noted, “You’ll know your new network is ready to go when you can log in to the “Google Starbucks” SSID.” expand full story

WiFi Stories April 29, 2013

Samsung has finally made things official for the Galaxy Tab 3 today, announcing in a press release on its website that the 7-inch tablet will become available globally starting next month. Samsung didn’t confirm pricing on the new tab, but did reveal specs including a 1.2GHz dual for process, 7 inch WSVGA (1024 x 600, 169 PPI) TFT display, 1GB of RAM, and 8 and 16GB variants expandable to 64GB via microSD.

The new Galaxy Tab 3 will be running Android 4.1 out of the box, but Samsung will only be shipping the Wi-Fi version of the device when it begins selling next month.

Other specs include a 4,000 mAh Li-ion battery, 3-megapixel main camera, 1.3 -megapixel front facing cam, A-GPS + GLONASS, WiFi Direct, and Bluetooth 3.0. Rather underwhelming specs, so we assume pricing will be on the low end of things when Samsung finally decides to fill us in.

As for those waiting out for a WiFi + 3G variant, the company currently plans on beginning sales of that model in June with rollouts happening gradually and availability varying by market.

WiFi Stories November 12, 2012

T-Mobile’s Nexus 4 to support Wi-Fi calling

Many reports assumed T-Mobile’s version of the Nexus 4 would not have Wi-Fi calling, but a T-Mobile Connectivity and Data page for the device just confirmed support for the feature.

To use the feature: T-Mobile customers need to get a specific GBA SIM card, register their 911 address, turn on Wi-Fi, and then connect to a Wi-Fi network. Pretty straightforward. Now go check out our hands-on review of the LG Nexus 4.

(Source: T-Mobile; Via: TalkAndroid)

WiFi Stories January 4, 2012

Set-top box maker Roku -one of Google TV and Apple TV’s biggest competitors- unveiled a new iteration of its award-winning Smart TV solution today. However, this time, they shrunk it down to the size of a USB stick that allows you to plug it right into your TVs MHL-enabled HDMI port. The device, called the Roku Streaming Stick, packs in built-in Wi-Fi, a processor, and memory, and includes all of the features currently available in their current set-top box.

According to Roku’s press release, the new cable-free, smaller form factor is ideal for delivering smart TV capabilities to consumers who typically do not replace their TVs often. That model differs from both Apple and Google, especially with Apple expected to launch an HDTV and Google pushing the GoogleTV platform built-in to TVs from vendors like Sony:

Today’s Smart TVs become outdated in just a couple of years because as software evolves the hardware needs to be upgraded to keep pace. While short hardware product cycles are expected with mobile devices such as smart phones, consumers generally keep their TVs for six to eight years. By moving the streaming platform to a stick that’s easily replaceable, consumers no longer have to worry about their large-screen Smart TV becoming obsolete before its time.

Official pricing has not been announced, but CEO Anthony Wood told All Things D the device would be available in the second half of 2012 for between $50 and $100. Roku also plans to have TV vendors bundle the Roku Streaming Stick with new TVs. expand full story

WiFi Stories August 4, 2011

A little over a month ago, Skype brought video calling via wireless or 3G cellular networks to its mobile client on select Android phones. Today, the company announced on its blog Skype 2.1, a new version of the Android client that enables video calling on seventeen additional Android phones: The Acer A5, HTC Desire (2.2), HTC Desire HD, HTC Evo 3D, HTC Evo 4G, HTC Flyer, HTC Incredible S, HTC Sensation, HTC Thunderbolt – Verizon (2.2) (US only), LG Revolution – Verizon (2.2) (US only), Samsung Droid Charge – Verizon (2.2) (US only), Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Sony Ericsson Xperia mini pro, Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, Sony Ericsson Xperia ray. You can download the Skype 2.1 for Android app from Android Market or by visiting skype.com/m on your phone. If you cannot see the “enable video calling” option in Skype settings, it means your Android phone is not supported.

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WiFi Stories June 30, 2011

As Apple fans have been anxiously awaiting the native Skype app for iPad for days, the company has updated its Android app with one-to-one video calls over both wireless and cellular networks. According to a post over at the Skype blog, the Skype for Android 2.0 app sports a complete redesign of the user interface:

There’s a new main menu on the Skype app for Android where you can navigate easily through your contacts, access your Skype profile to change personal details, use the dial pad to make calls, see the balance of your Skype Credit and, of course, make video calls. A new mood message box at the top of the Skype app menu makes it easier than ever to share how you are feeling, what you’ve seen or what you’re up to.

You will need a supported Android Gingerbread device with a forward-facing camera, which at the time of this writing included the HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, Sony Ericsson Xperia pro and Google Nexus S (more handsets coming soon, Skype says). To download the updated Skype app, simply visit skype.com/m from your Android device or grab it from Android Market.

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WiFi Stories May 2, 2011

Google may have blocked Android handset maker Motorola from using WiFi hotspot location data from Skyhook Wireless because it wanted to build a quality database of crowd-sourced location data, just as Apple’s been doing since iOS 4 was released, reveals an internal email correspondence leaked to The San Jose Mercury News. The email message reveals that Google CEO Larry Page asked for a clarification from Android chief Andy Rubin over the news that Motorola was planning on tapping Skyhook data to help their phones quickly determine geographical location. Steve Lee, Google’s location product manager, responded:

I cannot stress enough how important Google’s wifi location database is to our Android and mobile product strategy. We absolutely do care about this (decision by Motorola) because we need WiFi data collection in order to maintain and improve our WiFi location service.

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