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Frostwire for Android
This is a review of the Frostwire app for Google's Android OS. For this test I will be using an HTC Hero smartphone running Android version 2.1 on the Sprint/Nextel network. Frostwire is a P2P file sharing service similar in both name and function to the now defunct Limewire P2P file sharing service. Frostfire will work with any version of Android so long as it is version 1.6 or later. Frostwire can be downloaded from the Android Market and is currently free. There is also an expanded version offered at $4.99 at the time of this writing.
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What Frostwire Does
Frostwire is a basic P2P (Peer to Peer) file sharing service and system for torrent files. Users will find this service and operation similar or nearly identical to a PC based torrent client. Additionally Frostwire also has a chat program to interact with nearby users. Frostwire automatically determines what users are near by or on similar networks and begins listing shared files. Frostwire automatically determines the list of file types to share with other users and populates a list of those files to be shared. This list is then added to the search feature of the client which will begin searching for names, or file types related to the search. Frostwire also has the ability to connect to other machines on the Wi-Fi network and share files among the systems, this is not a feature I have tested personally so I cannot comment on its functionality or usefulness.
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Cracks in the ice
Frostwire is an application with many problems and bugs to work out. While it is understandable that a user must be connected to a Wi-Fi network to use Frostwire, 4G support would be welcomed. Furthermore, the search feature is really slow, severely flawed, and wildly inaccurate depending upon the search criteria. Frostwire does not have any meaningful way to review network traffic or details on file transfer. The overall usefulness of this application remains to be seen as Android devices do not frequently have large storage, or file caches that one would want to share from the device itself.
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Even with the adoption of tablet devices running Android I still fail to see the exact usefulness of this particular application. It may be ahead of its time and paving the way for the next generation of tablet devices, or microcomputers but for the moment it's lacking focus and purpose. Frostwire is still very early in development, but to be considered useful it needs to adopt 4G network options and refine its search feature. The addition of network monitoring, port adjustment, and packet handling features would really help to further this development. All things considered, this application needs more time to develop into a fully fledged file sharing program.
Check out some other Android torrent apps that are currently available.