Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

Summary: In a move to woo business users, Google will add tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot support to its upcoming Android 2.2 "Froyo" operating system.

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It's about time.

In a move sure to sweeten the bid for business users, Google will add tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot support to its upcoming Android 2.2 "Froyo" operating system.

TechCrunch reports that the new version will also offer "full Flash support" and "a whopper of a speed improvement," without going into the details.

USB tethering, of course, allows you to share your paid mobile data connection with your laptop, a serious necessity for corporate road warriors (and tech journalists, too).

The question is whether the carriers will allow it.

For now, no Android phone has formally offered tethering (I stand corrected! Except one: the just-announced HTC Droid Incredible, which I completely forgot about), though there exist several less-than-official ways to do so. Carriers haven't really encouraged the concept either, since it represents an increased load on their networks.

Top-shelf RIM BlackBerrys offer tethering, but Apple's iPhone (on AT&T) does not.

Palm's Pre Plus was the first to break the mold by offering Wi-Fi hotspot capability on Sprint Verizon, for up to five users, at an extra charge. (HTC's recently announced EVO 4G, also on Sprint, will also offer hotspot capability.)

Now Android has followed.

Android 2.2 "Froyo" is expected to officially launch at the Google I/O event next week.

Topics: Smartphones, Android, Google, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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23 comments
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  • Pre Plus on Sprint?

    Actually, Sprint does not have the Pre Plus, only the original Palm Pre. Sprint also does not officially support mobile hotspots on the pre. Sprint pre owners have to install a homebrew app in order to get hotspot functionality. Verizon does offer the Pre Plus with mobile hotspot.
    craigwann
    • G1 has had it for a few years now

      It makes a huge diff. Yes you need to root it.
      Uralbas
  • Tethering is already available on Droid Incredible

    You are wrong in stating that no Android phone officially offers tethering currently - the Droid Incredible does through the VZW Mobile Broadband Connect application (however, I believe it is only USB and bluetooth currently). This was covered by many people, including some of your fellow zdnet bloggers - http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/htc-droid-incredible-solves-the-verizon-wireless-tethering-conundrum/33207
    NetAdmin1178
    • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

      @NetAdmin1178 You're right on the money; I completely forgot about the new HTC Droid Incredible.

      It's been corrected.
      andrew.nusca
  • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

    COOL! I Love my motodroid!! I think tethering is a great idea and I'm not sure the carrier's are against it (as you suggest and was previously a consideration). Right now you can buy a cell modem for the same price as your data connection on your phone so tethering isn't "Internet for Free", it's just using a connection for which you are already paying.
    dbeecher@...
  • Symbian S60 wifi tethering

    Nokia has had tethering on it's E series phone for years (since wifi appeared on the phones) in the form of a third-party app, JoikuSpot, that now is appearing on N series as delivered by Nokia (embedded app). The European carriers use this to make a bit of extra money by charging more for a plan supporting tethering than one without. My plan has supported tethering for at least 3 years as I've used it for that long, T-Mobile UK.
    MrBeck
  • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

    The iPhone does too support tethering, it's just that AT&T has not yet rolled out support for that feature. Your statement made it sound like it didn't.

    Tethering on AT&T is long overdue and late as per AT&T's own schedule. Most likely for concern, as you stated, about the additional network load that it would place on AT&T's network.

    -- Greg
    gskluzacek
  • App Storage

    Does anyone know if apps will be able to be stored on the card instead of phone memory in this release?
    cwallen19803@...
    • Yes! Hyperlinking a Folder!

      @cwallen19803@... An Android hack already does this little trick where the OS sees the extended memory SD card as a Folder. Simple instructions, but this feature is expected to be available via Froyo Update!<br><br>In the meantime here's one link (but there are tons of other ways to do this right now:<br><a href="http://www.androidos.in/2009/01/how-to-install-apk-android-application.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://www.androidos.in/2009/01/how-to-install-apk-android-application.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.androidos.in/2009/01/how-to-install-apk-android-application.html</a></a><br><br>Those too lazy or with ZERO tech skills..... have your kid do it. They are way ahead of most all adults and this is SIMPLE!

      Partition SD Card for Apps2SD!
      http://www.androidos.in/2009/11/manually-partition-sd-card-for-android.html
      Monarky
  • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

    There is already support for tethering on the Droid without rooting through the Pdanet app. The Droid can also be made into a hotspot with rooting and the Barnacle app. Both work great with Verizon.
    kvolkan
    • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

      @kvolkan PDANet has saved my butt more than once.
      jred
  • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

    This will definitely have an influence on my decision as to which phone I will buy next. I'm hopeful that the new Android phone for T-Mobile that was featured here on ZDNet will either have the version out of the box or will seamlessly upgrade to it.
    russdwright@...
  • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

    Though I have a G1, rooted for development and sysadmin purposes, Android phones are USELESS for business users who need to keep their data secure (not on Google services or somewhere in the "cloud").

    We need a way to sync the phones to the desktop, *not Google*! Preferably with the Linux desktop/groupware software, like eGroupware, Tine20, KDE PIM, etc.

    Until Google wakes up to these facts, the current Android iterations are useless to business folks who need to keep their data from untrusted repositories.

    Android for business = SEVERE FAILURE!
    --phs
  • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

    Great to see that Flash support is coming!
    curlynerd
  • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

    Does this mean that they will finally give us business users the most basic feature - hands free Bluetooth dialing? This has been a black cloud hovering over the Droid that needs resolution. I literally almost crashed my car last week when trying to dial a business contact.
    curlynerd
    • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

      @curlynerd What on earth are you talking about? You can voice dial on any 2.0 Android OS phone as far as I know.
      Droid101
      • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

        @Droid101 No you cannot do handsfree dialing - nor can you use your bluetooth headset for the voice dialing. So, this means you have to push at least one button on the Droid handset, then lean close enough to it if it's in the car mount, then hope that it finds the exact contact match. If not, you have to press the screen again to select from the list of matches, or start all over again.

        This process is illegal in California and many other states, and as I said, can be truly dangerous in use. Every single other phone I've had came with Handsfree bluetooth dialing, where I simply pressed a button on my headset and then used voice commands through the bluetooth to arrive at the correct contact.
        curlynerd
  • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

    YES, GREAT NEWS!

    I am seriously considering replacing my Windows Phone with a Android Phone. BUT lack of tethering was a showstopper.

    The only other showstopper is it must be GSM (quad-band), that is, not on Sprint or Verizon. I will keep my fingers and toes crossed for GSM!
    @...
  • WIFI Hotspot?!?

    That's Huge!! That means that an IPad 3G is a waste of money!
    phoebetech
  • RE: Google Android 2.2 Froyo: Tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot support

    The iPhone does indeed offer tethering, it's just that in the US, AT&T apparently doesn't want to support it. I live in Switzerland, where tethering (USB or Bluetooth, your choice) was part of the package from day one - and it works great!
    Nelson Peter