Internet on your mobile phone has gone from being a niche interest just a few years ago to being totally essential and something we can't live without, like coffee. So when it's slow or behaving like a petulant child, it would be useful to have some numerical evidence to wave in the faces of customer services. To help you with that, thinkbroadband has launched an Android speed testing app to tell you how bad -- or good -- your data speeds really are.
The app, which you can download directly from thinkbroadband.com (you have to register first), can be run either over your mobile Internet connection or Wi-Fi. The amount of data used is reasonably small, and an initial download tells the server how much data it needs to send to perform an accurate test.
thinkbroadband is quite well-known for its home broadband speed checker, which allows you to keep an eye on your Internet speed and log results into your user profile over time. You can't store data from the mobile app at the moment, but we're told that functionality is coming in a future release.
Although the site doesn't mention it, when we tested the app we noticed it uses GPS to determine your location. It's not much of a leap to assume this information could be used in future to determine which areas have very poor data speeds or are very congested. Hopefully, service providers could use the data collected to improve coverage. If we were one of the UK's mobile operators, we'd be gnawing thinkbroadband's arm off to get as much data as possible about these areas.
Because it's still in beta, the application isn't currently in the official Android Market. To install it, you'll need to make sure your phone is setup to allow unapproved apps. If you're not an Android user, you may be pleased to hear that an iPhone version is being developed too.