London subway system launches free Wi-Fi service as city gears up for Olympics

london tube to get wi fi in time for olympics but its not all good newsLondon’s vast, sprawling subway system — the oldest in the world — is hauling itself into the 21st century with the roll-out of Wi-Fi at some of its stations this week.

The move comes as the city gears up for the start of the Olympics on July 27. Transport for London (TfL), the body that manages the network, said passengers at stations such as Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Stratford and King’s Cross will now be able to use their mobile devices to connect to the web.

There are plans to have around 80 stations connected by the end of next month, and another 40 before the year’s out. The service will be free until the end of the Olympics.

The Guardian headed below ground on Thursday to see what commuters made of the new service.

Trainee psychologist Lucy Butler didn’t appear to be overly impressed. “I don’t think it’s that practical with people rushing [around],” she told the newspaper. “I guess I might check the directions when I’m lost.”

TfL’s partner for the initiative, Virgin Media, called this week’s launch “a truly historic moment,” though according to the Guardian, few people on the platforms appeared to be aware of the new service.

Still, Gareth Powell, London Underground’s director of strategy and service development, seemed happy with the way things were going. “Bringing a next generation Wi-Fi service to one of the world’s oldest underground transport networks is progressing as planned,” he said in a statement.

“The first stations include some of our busiest and most well-known destinations and we’re on-track for a successful launch this summer — all delivered at no additional cost to fare payers or tax payers.”

Keep in mind though, the Wi-Fi signal will only be available on platforms, not on the trains themselves — though with long waits for trains a fact of life for some users of London’s subway system, there should be plenty of time to log into Facebook, post a few tweets, send some emails, surf the web, play Words With Friends, download some apps….

[Image: Jose AS Reyes / Shutterstock]

Home Theater

Samsung Galaxy Buds first look: Are they ear candy or ear worm?

Samsung’s answer to the oddball design of Apple's AirPods is the new Galaxy Buds, which are cheaper, better looking, and bring some neat features. Can Galaxy Buds snuff out the AirPods?
Computing

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 could bring blazing-fast 5G to laptops

While the Snapdragon X55 promises to bring fast data connectivity to the next generation of 5G smartphones, the modem also holds potential in transforming the way Always Connected PCs are used.
Computing

Wi-Fi helps connect all of our devices at high-speed, but what exactly is it?

What is Wi-Fi? It's a technology we all use everyday to connect all of our portable devices, but understanding how it works and how far it's come from its humble beginnings is another thing entirely.
Gaming

Here's how you can play your favorite PC games with a Nintendo Switch controller

Nintendo's Switch controllers, including the Joy-Cons and the aptly titled Pro Controller, use Bluetooth, which makes them compatible with your PC. Here's how to start using them for PC gaming.
Home Theater

ATSC 3.0: The next-gen TV update explained

ATSC 3.0 is the next major update to the broadcast standard we use today. Will this be the second coming of free, over-the-air TV? We're here to explain everything about the new standard.
Product Review

Samsung's Galaxy S10 phones are its most refined yet. Be prepared to pay up

Samsung has unveiled its lineup for its most popular smartphones, and it includes the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. The two flagship phones boast hole-punch cameras, fingerprint sensors embedded in the display, and beefier batteries.
Mobile

Adobe Premiere Rush CC is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 this year

The Samsung Galaxy S10 boasts a number of hardware improvements over previous Samsung phones, but it also offers a few software improvements too. Adobe Premiere Rush CC, for example, is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 later this year.
Mobile

Folding smartphones hinge on the success of the Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. S10 Plus vs. S10e vs. S10 5G: Which should you buy?

With four stunning Galaxy S10 phones to choose from, Samsung is bombarding us with choice, but which one should you buy? We compare the S10, S10 Plus, S10e, and S10 5G in various categories to find out exactly how they differ.
Wearables

Samsung's new Galaxy Watch Active can track your blood pressure

Looking for a new fitness buddy? Samsung just launched the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, two new wearables with a raft of fitness-focused features that'll keep you moving and get you down the gym.
Gaming

Samsung Galaxy S10 optimizations make it great for Fortnite

Samsung's new line of Galaxy S10 devices have been optimized for gaming. All three offer improved support for the Unity engine and the S10 Plus also offers vapor chamber cooling, similar to the Xbox One X.
Mobile

From folding phones to 5G -- here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked

Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event treated us to a real parade of technological excellence, from folding phones to new fitness wearables. Here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked on February 20.
Mobile

Google’s radical Gmail redesign is finally rolling out on Android

Google is slowly but surely giving its apps a refresh, modernizing them and ensuring that they're easy to use. The latest app to get a redesign is the Gmail app for Android, which has been redesigned with a few tweaks.
Mobile

The best Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus cases to protect your $1,000 phone

Can't get enough of big phones? The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is absolutely up your alley. But it's still fragile, and damage is easily gathered through normal life. Protect it with the best Galaxy S10 Plus cases.