May 2nd, 2011

The folks behind PDANET have released version 3.0 of their application, and although they didn’t include a changelog on the Android market listing they did tweet what the update brought – the ability to hide your unauthorized tether usage from your carrier. It’s a proactive move from them in light of recent carrier movements to help stop unauthorized tethering so that they may charge you for that right.

AT&T first warned iPhone users about their “illegal” actions and we feared they might catch on to Android users next. While we don’t foresee that happening any time soon, JuneFabrics isn’t going to wait for carriers to take action before they do. Version 3.0 brings a masking feature which supposedly blocks your carrier from seeing your usage.

We’re not sure what they’re doing to achieve this and we’re not sure if carriers can work around their method to make it useless. The developers say that most users shouldn’t even need this, but do enable the option if you start receiving letters or text messages from your carrier.

One Verizon user has claimed that the carrier is somehow causing these applications to fail by disabling and reenabling USB debugging every five minutes on Froyo devices, but I have not had the opportunity to check this claim at the time of this writing. (And this is the only report I’ve heard claiming as much.)

I can confirm that this issue is not isolated to Verizon, though, and may actually just be a bug in the phone or application itself. Our tipster stated he didn’t start having the issue until he upgraded to Android 2.2, but users on the Android market are reporting that the latest update to the application causes the same – it’s highly unlikely that they’re Verizon users unless they commented from the web version of Android market. (Even then, there’s no way they could pin the problem on the update since they’d be unable to update in the first place.) We’ve contacted JuneFabrics for comment.

Whether or not they’re doing it, Verizon has already shown their cards when it comes to tethering – they don’t like it and they will do everything in their power to keep it from happening. They’ve gone as far as blocking their users from being able to see popular tether applications in the Android market such as EasyTether and PDANet. This doesn’t stop those users from installing the tether applications, though, as they can be had in places other than the Android market.

For the time being, PDANet 3.0 is only available for Windows desktops, but a Mac version is expected to follow it shortly. [Thanks Stan!]