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

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.

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.