Device operating systems

Google's Android Update Adds 'Tethering'

One of the new features in Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s latest update of its Android smartphone operating system unveiled today allows the phone to act as a WiFi hotspot for other devices, a feature that is likely to arrive on the iPhone and other devices soon.

The latest Android 2.2 "Froyo" update allows the user to set up WiFi or USB tethering for other devices on the fly. This means that Android users could potentially do things like connect a WiFi-only Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad to a 3G network via an Android phone. Google is calling this feature "a portable hotspot."

iPhone users have been long waiting for tethering features to be added to that operating system. Word is that the OS 4.0 update coming in June from Apple will finally add the feature.

We already have an idea of what operators are likely to charge users for the pleasure of tethering. Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has said that users can add a charge of $29.99 for connecting up to eight devices via WiFi on its new EVO phone. (See Sprint's $199 WiMax EVO Phone Out June 4 .)

The other big development for this version was -- as expected -- support for Flash video baked into the mobile operating system. This is in direct contrast to Apple, which has been vocal about the reasons about why it won't support Flash on the iPhone. (See Adobe Attacks Apple… With Love and Jobs Offers 6 Reasons Adobe Sucks .) See Google's video unveiling the new features of Android 2.2:

You can read more about the Android 2.2 feature set on the Android developer's blog. The update is expected to be available soon, with developers simply saying that it is "right around the corner."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

stephen.donnelly 12/5/2012 | 4:35:31 PM
re: Google's Android Update Adds 'Tethering'

Why should carriers be charging for (or dictating) handset features?

If you are paying per (Mega)byte for your data connection, what does it matter what you do with it? The more data you use they more money they get.


joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:35:30 PM
re: Google's Android Update Adds 'Tethering'

It's an interesting question, why should they charge? Its the same old bytes whatever. Nonetheless, Sprint has a $30 upcharge for EVO and Verizon has a similar thing on their mobile broadband, so I suspect if you go the official route they will try to charge. 

ciffland 12/5/2012 | 4:35:26 PM
re: Google's Android Update Adds 'Tethering'

Actually the iPhone already supports tethering, via USB or Bluetooth. It's just that AT&T in the US don't support it yet as far as I know. I use it in Australia on Optus, and it costs A$10 per month on top of my normal plan.

litewate 12/5/2012 | 4:35:24 PM
re: Google's Android Update Adds 'Tethering'

AT&T's Tilt manufactured by HTC supported tethering with a minor tweak, but was frowned on by the carrier.  The newer Tilt2 comes with tethering support right out of the box.   It's a beautiful thing for a road warrior! 

Data rates are very adequate at 350Kb/s and up as tested at dslreports.com

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:35:23 PM
re: Google's Android Update Adds 'Tethering'

Does any use this feature much?

I've had "tethering" on my last couple of phones, but I rarely use it.



joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:35:22 PM
re: Google's Android Update Adds 'Tethering'

It gets more useful with faster 3G/WiMax/LTE and a boatload of WiFi devices is my guess.

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