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Tethering options in Android 2.2  (Source: TechCrunch)
Google offers tethering option, but will carrier take the bait?

Things just keep getting better and better for Google's Android operating system. We found out earlier this week that Android surpassed Apple for second place in smartphone operating systems in the U.S. market.

Today, we learn courtesy of TechCrunch that the next OS update, Android 2.2 (Froyo), will support native tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. What is unclear, however, is how these features will be implemented with different device carriers.

For example, Apple's iPhone 3G and 3GS support native USB and Bluetooth tethering. However, AT&T disables these features in the U.S. due to the fragility of its 3G network. Tethering can, however, be re-enabled on the iPhone via jailbreaking and performing a few hacks, or by installing an "unauthorized" application like MyWi.

It seems unlikely that most carriers would simply give away the ability to tether freely with their smartphones -- Verizon may be the exception with the Palm Pre and Pixi+ because the carrier is basically giving away the smartphones due to a stockpile of inventory.

In addition, Sprint is charging $29.99 for Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities (provides sharing for up to 8 devices) on its upcoming HTC EVO 4G Android 2.1 smartphone.

While it would be amazing if Android carriers would break the shackles and allow free tethering and Wi-Fi hotspots with their "unlimited" data plans -- in the same way they allow Google Voice -- we're not holding out breath either.

In addition to the tethering options, Android 2.2 is supposed to bring some welcome speed improvements as well. Android 2.2 is reportedly up to 450 percent faster than Android 2.1 in some operations thanks to a new and improved just-in-time (JIT) compiler.



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Awesome!
By Treknologist on 5/13/2010 7:35:07 AM , Rating: 3
This is excellent news! Android just keeps on getting better and better. I read on another site that Android 2.2 should also give the ability to install apps to the SD card.

The question now becomes, how soon will phones like the Incredible will get this update or if newly manufactured Incredibles, Evo's etc. will simply have this version of Android factory installed.




RE: Awesome!
By therealnickdanger on 5/13/2010 7:56:08 AM , Rating: 2
The custom WM6.1 ROM on my HTC Touch Diamond (Sprint) has tethering built in (and my old diamond before that). Whenever I plug into a computer using USB is prompts me to pick between: Charge, Tether, or Flash Drive. I've never been hit with any additional charges in several years.

Then, of course, PDANet has been around forever, but that costs money. It's rather ridiculous that it's taking this long for tethering to become a standard feature... for free, that is. Go Google!


RE: Awesome!
By Red Storm on 5/13/2010 11:05:19 AM , Rating: 2
PDANet is free... at least, it was for me when I got it from the Android market.


RE: Awesome!
By AlphaVirus on 5/13/2010 11:30:46 AM , Rating: 3
PDANet is a free software, with exception of using sites that require login credentials. If you try to visit mail.yahoo.com it won't allow you to proceed until you pay for the full version. Sites like news.google.com will work perfect as they require no login.


RE: Awesome!
By Jeffk464 on 5/14/2010 5:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
I've been using Easy tether on my htc incredible and it has worked like a charm. I have been thinking about rooting my incredible so I could do wireless tethering. It would sure be nice if 2.2 takes care of this for me.


RE: Awesome!
By ksherman on 5/13/2010 7:59:34 AM , Rating: 2
I too wonder how a carrier will deal with this.

My fear is that their solution is to not offer Android 2.2 an option, sticking everyone at 2.1 unless Google offers a way to disable it.

But if that's so, isn't there always a way around updates directly from the carrier? I've heard of plenty of people that get around the delays to get the newest version running on their Droids and such. If so, might not really be a problem.


RE: Awesome!
By mckinney on 5/13/2010 11:31:51 AM , Rating: 2
Doesn't this disable your phone calls if you are on the verizon network?


RE: Awesome!
By ksherman on 5/13/2010 12:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe. It's a sacrifice I'd make. I don't talk on the phone much.

Either way, I'm looking towards the EVO 4G, which Sprint just demonstrated it's ability to browse the web while on a phone call..


RE: Awesome!
By sprockkets on 5/13/2010 7:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
Prob not. You just won't get a call during data transfers. If the connection to 3G is active but idle, calls should come through.

I know having tethering for Android is nice, but for like 3+ years now it was standard on Moto's phones via their software. Even then, I got it to work without it on even Linux since it simply pops up as a modem.

Course, it is an non-carrier phone...


RE: Awesome!
By tdktank59 on 5/13/2010 11:32:37 AM , Rating: 2
The carriers in the end cant stop people from flashing their phones with a newer/alternate OS.

Ive got one of the first android phones G1 from T-Mobile.
I got tired of the sucky performance and it locking up on me so I flashed it with cyanogen.

So Ive been running apps on the sd card, tethering, using terminal on the local device, and many other things that are finally coming out in android 2.2


RE: Awesome!
By ChronoReverse on 5/13/2010 2:12:59 PM , Rating: 3
They should simply throttle when you go over a reasonable amount. And stop billing plans as fully unlimited.

Make a 5GB for instance and as one goes over, throttle the rates down to a trickle. Clearly outline this in the contract.


Uh, what about the carriers?
By Bateluer on 5/13/2010 8:44:11 AM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing this may ruffle some feathers and step on some toes. While nearly all after market Android phones have some form of tethering, it usually isn't 'approved' by the carrier. I'm all for it, preferably without the extra data plan charge, because its a handy tool to have, but if its going to anger the carriers and result in Android phones being locked down, then I'd rather stay with only the tech savvy having tethering.

You know some idiot would try torrent a BD rip with their phone.




RE: Uh, what about the carriers?
By PAPutzback on 5/13/2010 9:20:43 AM , Rating: 2
If said idiot is on the everything plan then they can download whatever they want. There are bandwidth and byte caps and you have to pay heavily if you go over the byte cap.

But 3g is too slwo to download much over a 100meg or so and usually the FTP server will timeout on a connection dragging out a download that long.


RE: Uh, what about the carriers?
By GreenEnvt on 5/13/2010 9:37:03 AM , Rating: 2
As much as I like complaining about Rogers (Canada), they sent out text messages to customers a few weeks ago saying tethering is now officially allowed on their network.

I'd been doing it for years, but it's nice to have an official announcement.

I have a 6GB data plan, back in Febuary I used 3GB in one day because I tethered my phone to my laptop, which in turn was streaming the gold medal hockey game a the olympics, in near HD.


RE: Uh, what about the carriers?
By TomZ on 5/13/2010 12:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
Verizon allows and supports USB tethering with the Incredible, but they require you to pay $30/month for tethering in addition to the $30/month "unlimited" data plan. They also have a 5GB/month cap on tethering.

So they have it now, but you have to pay, pay, pay...


RE: Uh, what about the carriers?
By Suntan on 5/13/2010 1:57:47 PM , Rating: 2
Unless you have the Pre +.

Sitting around at the inlaw's place (dial-up-ville) is less boring now. Turn on the free mobile hotspot and open up the laptop...

-Suntan


RE: Uh, what about the carriers?
By GaryJohnson on 5/13/2010 5:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
Verizon has no way to know whether you are surfing the web on your phone or on a tethered PC unless you use their app. There are alternatives ways to tether with Android.


RE: Uh, what about the carriers?
By Jeffk464 on 5/14/2010 5:23:57 PM , Rating: 1
yes, but please don't abuse it people. We don't need verizon to get so concerned they shut it down.


Its already available !!
By roggrat on 5/13/2010 9:22:29 AM , Rating: 2
While it may not be a native application yet, both wired and wireless tethering are already available for download and support various devices check out :
http://code.google.com/p/android-wifi-tether/
http://code.google.com/p/android-wired-tether/




RE: Its already available !!
By HotFoot on 5/13/2010 10:28:24 AM , Rating: 2
Tethering over wifi or USB is a big plus for me (though I use a different mobile device for that). Unfortunately, my work computer came without bluetooth. I prefer USB tethering in any case, as riding on the train my laptop keeps my mobile charged while my mobile gives me internet so I can keep working.

Glad to see this ability being integrated into competing products. I hope to also see more VoIP over 3G coming to other mobiles. I like to be able to keep in touch with work and family no matter what continent I'm sent to. This is the most brilliant thing about smart phones, from my point of view.


By CZroe on 5/13/2010 3:02:17 PM , Rating: 2
The guide linked in the article is needlessly complex. I just added the cydia.ifoneguide.nl repository and downloaded "Tether Patch 3GS." works with 3.1.2 to enable tethering without installing BlackSn0w (causes signal issues with 3G) and without paying for MyWi or anything else, though I am a paid PDAnet user. No need for SSHing files in or using itunes or anything. There is also a "Tether Patch 3G" in the same repo.

There are no shortage of out-dated guides out there that DO NOT WORK with AT&T. Heck, most of them act like you can still do it without even jailbreaking your phone! That benm.at stuff was not working AT ALL a month ago. In fact, SHSHing in the IPCC their work-around instructed me to download through Safari on the desktop (spoofing an iPhone's identifier) nearly prevented me from being able to do it right (Cydia would crash)!




By CZroe on 5/13/2010 6:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, screw it. I needed to restore my phone for unrelated reasons so I had to re-do it and I recorded a video while I was at it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIisrPjJ6r4

Now I just need to figure out how to set up OpenVPN to hide my tethering traffic. If I ever do, I'll make a vid for that too!


Very, very interesting!
By atlmann10 on 5/13/2010 3:45:45 PM , Rating: 2
Ok; if the Android 2.2 is supposed to release before the EVO, and offer automatic wifi and tethering by default, how does Sprint propose to charge for it? It is supposed to be released before the phone is made commercially available. This also means that the default OS on the phone when you get it on June 4th will be 2.2! It will be automatically upgraded or should be when the OS/Phone is initialized.

I wonder if this is a bit of trickery to grab a bit of extra money on the part of Sprint. Think about it if you pre-order then you agree to pay this fee for tethering for 2 years your locked in. If you do not you will get it free although if the phone is in tight supply (which I am betting it will be), and you want it on release you have no choice.

However; if you wait for it to be openly on the commercial market and available and get it you will automatically get this service to the phone, not with the phone as a broadcast utility. So if you have wireless on a notebook or at your home you will be able to connect through it, however you will not be able to connect devices to the phone if they don't already have a wireless service stream.




RE: Very, very interesting!
By wolrah on 5/13/2010 9:08:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ok; if the Android 2.2 is supposed to release before the EVO, and offer automatic wifi and tethering by default, how does Sprint propose to charge for it?


I'd guess that since Google works very closely with HTC, they had builds with this feature long ago and "customized" it in their ROM to tie to some Sprint authentication system.


Free Tethering
By mavricxx on 5/14/2010 12:21:51 AM , Rating: 2
I really hope Android 2.2 makes tethering free and adds wifi hot spot and I'm definitely dropping my Blackberry for an Android phone!




RE: Free Tethering
By Jeffk464 on 5/14/2010 5:18:16 PM , Rating: 2
blackberry, I laugh at your blackberry.


Smooth Moves
By ksherman on 5/13/2010 7:59:58 AM , Rating: 2
Good on ya Google. Maybe this is their way of getting back at the carriers/phone makers for using their OS at no charge :). "Sorry, um, you aren't paying for this so we can add the features we want. Go suck on a nut. And sell more phones :)"

Either way, I'm interested to see how this shakes down, especially with the EVO 4G. If Google can save me $30 a month (and TBH, I don't care about connecting multiple devices, I will be more than happy with the USB option, assuming it works with OS X), I will drop my iPhone in a heart beat. Okay, maybe not DROP, but you get my drift :-P. I can always get an iPod Touch if I NEED the App Store. Or just my iPhone with no phone...




Not going to happen
By vshin on 5/13/2010 9:08:59 AM , Rating: 2
Carriers won't allow this... at least not without nickle-and-diming you.




Where's Blackberry Connect?
By joedon3 on 5/13/2010 10:46:50 AM , Rating: 2
I've been trying to convince my company for months to get us Android devices. But security is just too good with a BES in place.




By AlphaVirus on 5/13/2010 11:35:04 AM , Rating: 2
I love how Android arrived and every year pleases the customers with new features and support. Currently my preferred choice of OS is still Symbian on a Nokia device but once I test the Incredible I have a slight feeling I will start using both Symbian and Android.

Several friends of mine use Android and I never hear complaints of inadequacy.




Bluetooth voicedial, please.
By adiposity on 5/13/2010 1:17:02 PM , Rating: 2
Bluetooth voicedial, please.




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