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AT&T Smart Wi-Fi app nudges Android users off 3G

AT&T Smart Wi-Fi
AT&T Smart Wi-Fi

AT&T's been trying hard to move users off its 3G network and onto Wi-Fi, and its new AT&T Smart Wi-Fi app gets even more aggressive -- it finds and connects you to Wi-Fi networks without any user intervention at all. It uses your cellular connection to look for hotspots, so your Wi-Fi radio can be off instead of sucking battery while it searches; when the app finds a network, it turns on the Wi-Fi radio and connects. You can also manage networks manually, and the app is quick to use, showing a list of available networks and connecting with one tap -- it's definitely simpler than digging into the Android settings every time. You can set how selective the app is, too: It can connect to all public networks, to only popular and selected networks, or to only networks you've selected. The "Missed Opportunities" feature tells you about hotspots you've been in range of, and you can set them to connect next time you're in the area. Networks also get rated by users' experiences with them, and the app can connect you to the best and fastest network of the ones available.

It's an interesting strategy, and one that probably wouldn't work on iOS since the app needs to be running constantly in the background. It's on eight AT&T phones right now -- the HTC Aria, HTC Inspire 4G, LG Phoenix, LG Thrive, Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Bravo, Samsung Captivate, and Samsung Infuse 4G -- and is coming to other devices "in the future," though we don't know which, or if it will work on non-AT&T phones.