One Step Closer To Obsoleting Root: Android 2.2 Introduces Tethering


There was a time that you’d need to slip on your hardhat (which – for a geek – translates to a pair of ugly bifocals) and get down and dirty with your phone to unlock compelling features such as installing apps onto the SD card, and tethering your phone with other devices to use as a hotspot.

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Google’s appeased our desire to install applications to our SD cards already with the now-famous Issue 1151 being dubbed as a “Future Release” feature, and it looks like internet tethering will be getting the same treatment. Both WiFi and USB tethering will be supported with the WiFi implementation giving your usual host of options (setting the SSID name, security type, the password, and whatever else your heart may desire).

All of this will be baked into Android 2.2, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up just yet: I reckon certain carriers (Sprint now suddenly comes to mind, for some reason) wouldn’t appreciate that added functionality and would be quick to remove the feature from any phones they carry with Android 2.2. It’ll be interesting to see how this is handled on a case by case basis, but at least we’re one step closer to – at least for some people – not having to worry about rooting their phone for certain compelling features.

[via TechCrunch]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. just as an fyi – i currently tether with my htc incredible using pdaNet for free (sorry big red) … although, I tried to watch episodes of LOST on my laptop through that connection and endured the dreaded …. Loading … msg.

  2. Very interesting… I wonder if Verizon will allow this to fly. They have set a precedent of allowing it through the Palm Pre Plus… I’m not sure that it would apply to more popular phones on their network, but it is interesting never the less…

  3. A couple of thoughts…
    -PDANet does not allow https protocols, but rooted tethering applications do. So, I wonder if Google’s version has any limitations.
    -I personally don’t see a problem with Internet Tethering. a) Most carriers already have Internet USB devices for laptops, so this isn’t an unprecedented step. b) If you happen to bump into the data connection barrier, then the cell phone company gets to make more money.

  4. This is VERY good news for me because I’m ready to switch to a high powered Android but my TP2 gives me the Tethering that I need. Now just gotta wait for Tmo to drop their first powerhouse phone. And it better be 2.2 ready with a Real KB

  5. Wired and Wireless tethering, hotspot, Apps2SD, a working STABLE JIT compiler, holy crap! Froyo looks to be THE dessert of choice this year!

  6. Is it safe to assume, although it make take sometime, that 2.2 (Froyo) will come to the 2.1 Android Phones? Cause I like my 2.1, but 2.2 is looking real nice.

  7. @Kevin – PDANet DOES allow https, but only with the paid version, not the free one.

  8. Unless they offer this for free, we will still need to root and run the Wi-Fi tether app.

  9. HTC is allowing tethering in their 2.1 ROMs..

  10. An at the same time Vodafone remove their FUP!

  11. PDANet dosnt work with linux.

  12. Don’t get me wrong I like Android but I think this is the prime example where Google went wrong with the OS. Personally I thin that when I’m buying a phone (specially that was based on Linux OS) I should have all the root privileges from the get-go, and not need to hack around and attempt to jail brake it just so i can dig out the best features of it. This is exactly why I think MeeGo (even though its still in it’s infancy)has a much better potential down the road, that is if Intel and Nokia won’t screw things up along the way.

  13. Makes you wonder what kind of stuff Cyanogen will come up with in his ROMs once tethering and apps2sd are the norm. He’ll find a way to make it more awesome.

  14. Just so you guys know. It’s not that hard to root or unroot your phone.. It seems like this website makes it the biggest deal out of it.

  15. Damn this is sweet but I really doubt any phones will be able to use this besides the Nexus One for free. Why you might ask because all phones all controlled by the carriers but that phone. People can hope and dream that the other phones will get 2.2 and all its goodies soon but in reality money talks and bullshit walks and thats why Google made the Nexus One to give the user what they want as soon as possible. So people if you really want 2.2 you better pray or pay because its been proven time and time again that you will get the updates will manufacturers and carriers say so.

  16. The employees at the VZW store are the ones who told me about pda2net in order to convince me to get a droid over a Palm Pre. To me that means that VZW is aware of it and does not have a problem with its use.

  17. sorry sprint, looks like i’ll be rooting my EVO when it gets 2.2

  18. But no BT tethering? Unless I’m mistaken, isn’t the wifi hotspot a lot more battery intensive than BT tethering?

  19. One more reason for nexus one to exist and possibly have Google plan a nexus two…

    So if there are so many important changes, why is this being called 2.2 and not 3? Well, I guess 3 might be the one where major improvements are made for enterprise use.

  20. @Josh, while it may not be that hard, it’s still untrodden territory for a lot of Android users and – even with reassurance that their phones will be fine after root and that it’s easy as pie – I’ve been met with a LOT of uncertainty. Rooting simply isn’t for everyone.

  21. lol @ the title. Rooting my G1 is the best thing I’ve done to the phone. There’s a lot more to “root” then tethering and A2SD

  22. Nexus One.

    That’s about all I have to say.

  23. My Incredible has tethering. It is called Mobile Broadband Connect. And it is at the bottom of the page. Interestingly it used to be labeled ‘Tethering’ but there was a ‘minor’ OTA update and the only thing I see changed is the renaming of the ‘Tethering’. Incredible!

  24. @Oscar, trust me, I know – I have a rooted G1 as well. The fact of the matter is that for ever 5 geeks that are willing and able to root their phones, there are an unimaginable amount more that won’t even come near this stuff if you told them all you had to do was press a button. Google’s bringing features that originated in the dev scene (mainly xda) to the core of Android so they can bring all of those other people up to speed with – at least – the most desirable and beneficial features that have come out of the mod scene. The point of the title wasn’t to say “custom ROMs via root has a few nice features and now they’re giving them to us”, it was simply a title. Nothing more, nothing less.

  25. Can’t wait to root Froyo on my Droid…

    5x faster performance is nothing to laugh at, either :-)

    I heart Android.

  26. Just the fact that there is any need to “root” a device shows the device just isn’t “open”. I’m an Android fan, but won’t buy one until the devices and the markets are open.

  27. ThinkOpenly:

    You do realize this will only come over time, right? The mere fact that Android allows people to install just about whatever they want on their phone(even have tethering on the market!) means something amazing. If Google could magically have their way I’m sure they’d allow tethering from Android 1.0.

    Open Puritanism sounds nice but fails in real world.

  28. ThinkOpenly:

    I disagree, there isn’t really any need for anyone other than geeks to root a device, and for most people it would cause more harm than good.

    I like the fact that root access is restricted and that there is pretty much no risk of me damaging os files no matter what I run on the phone.

    Just because you dont have full root access by default doesnt mean that the device, or the os, is not open. It is.

  29. anyone whose had a g1 since the begging (pre-RC33) knows android originally came with root access it was removed in an update after people complained about the security issues now people are complaining about not having root it really is rather am

  30. Nice. Rogers in Canada have tethering included in all their 1GB or more plans. They say we’re on our own for finding software to make it work, now this is interesting.

  31. The Incredible has built-in cable tethering, and you typically get asked about it when you plug in your USB cable.

    To use it officially you need to install VZ Access Manager on your PC and sign up for another $30 per month on top the baseline $30/month web/email VZW requirement for smart phones, for $60/month total, the same monthly price as service with a USB 3G modem.

    PDA2net gets you around this extra monthly charge, but with either limitations or extra cost for the app.

    However, if you modify some preferences on your Incredible and use Windows DUN then you can have full access at no add’l charge beyond the base $30/mo web/email service. It only takes 2 minutes and no root is required.

    I’m still waiting for root (or maybe 2.2?) to turn the Incredible into a wifi hot spot, but cable-tethered works great for now, and as compensation for the minor hassle of a cable charges the phone’s battery instead of running it down.

    As for the Palm device promotion, it’s true VZW is offering free PC tethering without any monkey business (still need the $30/mo web/email). They are desperate to sell Palm devices. First they cut their price to 2-for-1, then threw in free mobile broadband, now the phones are free, too. Still Android is outselling 10-to-1 from what I hear.

  32. @josh
    If rooting is so easy why has it not been achieved on the incredible yet? However, the evo has already been rooted from day one. It may be easy on some devices, but obviously not so for others.
    I’m still waiting for root on Incredible.

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