Ever wished you could use your smartphone's 3G networking capabilities to give your laptop Internet access? Two new mobile services have been released that let you turn a Wi-Fi enabled phone into a wireless hotspot for nearby devices.
TapRoot Systems has been beta-testing its WalkingHotSpot software since the spring, but has just officially launched the version to all users. It's currently available for Windows Mobile (version 6) and Symbian S60 phones, though the company says it's working on versions for other mobile OSes. The unfortunately named Dutch company Morose Media (a name only Morrissey could love) has also introduced its WMWifiRouter utility, an application designed for Windows Mobile devices (though it's also available for Symbian-based devices through Morose's Finnish partner Joikusoft for about 24 euros). As both create ad hoc networks, they only offer WEP security, not the superior WPA encryption. While the phones' data speed won't be as speedy as the ones offered with wireless broadband plans (using dedicated PC cards), these services could come in handy in a pinch when you want to share a connection and don't have access to a fixed hotspot.
The one major difference between the two apps is in the companies' pricing strategies. Whereas TapRoot is charging either $6.99 monthly or $24.99 annually for WalkingHotSpot, Morose is charging a one-time fee of 19.99 euros (a little more than $28) for WMWifiRouter.