Today in Android: Speed Labels for Wifi Networks and More

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Jan 22, 2018

When you’re on the go, there’s nothing quite as tempting as an open WiFi network. However, some networks often end up slower than your mobile data, rendering them redundant for most practical purposes. Now, with Android Oreo 8.1, you can see Wi-Fi speed labels for open networks in to let users decide it worth connecting to a certain unknown network. There are four different labels, each with its speed range.

  • Slow = 0 – 1 Mbps
  • OK = 1 Mbps – 5 Mbps
  • Fast = 5 Mbps – 20 Mbps
  • Very Fast = 20 Mbps+

The Google Support Page goes on to explain the limitations of each speed tier. ‘Slow’ will allow you little more than basic internet functionalities such as sending texts and WiFi calling. ‘OK’ allows you to access social media, browse web pages and stream music. ‘Fast’ and ‘Very Fast’ means you can stream video content without any interruption. The speed designations can be disabled under Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi Preferences > Advanced > Network rating provider. Personally, I haven’t noticed anything yet on my Pixel 2 XL, but I have my fingers crossed.

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Gboard Go starts rolling out to Android 8.1 devices with low RAM

Google is in the process of launching all the “Go” apps for their Android Go project, targeted at entry-level Android devices with limited processing power. We’ve already seen Maps Go and YouTube Go, among others.  The latest addition to the collection is Gboard Go; a lightweight version of Google’s keyboard. This app doesn’t seem to have its own listing in the Play Store yet and is available to devices with low RAM, such as the Nokia 1. Alternatively, anyone running Android 8.1 can sideload it as well.

Gboard Go looks and works mostly the same as the full Gboard.  It installs on top of the standard app. It has themes, gesture typing, and integrated search. However, it’s missing features such as GIF search, stickers, and one-handed mode. If you’re not a fan of the features as mentioned earlier and want to save on some precious system resources, this is the app for you, as it consumes nearly half the amount of RAM compared to the stock Gboard.

February’s security patch to fix Android Auto’s intermittent startup

Android Auto is still relatively obscure and can be found only in a handful cars. However, unlike a smartphone, a car has a significantly lesser margin for error as even a slight bug has the potential to turn fatal. One of the most recent ones is Android Auto’s intermittent failure even to start when you get in the car and plug your phone in. For many, Android Auto just isn’t starting at times when the user’s phone is plugged into their car. Not being able to use the software is a pretty big problem.

However, a fix is en route with the February security patch, which should be out in the next two weeks for Pixel/Nexus owners. Unfortunately, if you have anything else other than that, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer for your device manufacturer to release the patch.

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