Froyo Android 2.2 Missing Tethering, Hotspot Access

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The new "Froyo" Google Android 2.2 software being offered by Verizon Wireless for its Motorola Droid smartphone seems to have everything a user could want except two of the most sought-after features: tethering and hotspot access.

Verizon has published a list of enhancements and improvements to the Android 2.2 software now available for updating its latest Motorola Droid smartphone.

However, a glaring omission to that list is tethering, which the ability to connect a computer to a smartphone to access the Internet over a cellular network in order to avoid paying access fees for Wi-Fi hotspots.

Tethering is available on several smartphones, including the iPhone 4 and the BlackBerry.

The iPhone 4 allows tethering via AT&T's network, although it is a $20-per-month option. The iPhone Download Blog shows how it is done.

BlackBerry users can get tethering capabilities for a one-time fee of $49.95.

Other smartphones such as the Google Nexus One can be hacked to give them tethering capabilities, as shown here by a blog post on lifehacker.

Hotspot access, or mobile hotspot, allows a smartphone to connect to the network to create a short-range Wi-Fi network that other devices including laptops can use to go online.

Tom's Guide speculates that Verizon deliberately prevented this feature in order to protect the market for its Verizon MiFi device, for which it charges monthly fee of $60 for 5GB of data usage.

Verizon Wireless did not respond to questions about its decision to not offer the tethering and hotspot access capabilities. However, the company did send a statement to several news outlets that said the Motorola Droid lacks the hardware to support a mobile hotspot, and that there is no suitable PC connection for use in tethering.

Other than tethering and hotspot access, "Froyo" or Google Android 2.2 has a lot of enhancements, including improved Web browsing with Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta, new security options including device wipe and device lock, Bluetooth voice dialing, new video features for the built-in camera, and new management features.

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