updated 12:10 pm EDT, Thu May 13, 2010
Android's Froyo will have tethering option, speed
Google's upcoming Android 2.2 will have built-in data tethering when it ships, a firmware leak confirmed today. The software will share an Android phone's cellular link over USB and will be integrated with a new hotspot feature. Much like the Evo 4G, owners will have the option of using phone's Wi-Fi connection to share its data with nearby devices.
Speed may also play a role in software, as parts of the interface has been informally tested as running about 450 percent faster than Android 2.1.
Whether or not the features will be enabled on every Android 2.2 device isn't clear in the TechCrunch slip. Unlocked, reference phones like the Nexus One are the most likely to have the options turned on, but any carrier-locked phones such as the HTC Droid Incredible or myTouch Slide may have the feature switched off depending on policies. Most US carriers charge extra for tethering where Canada, much of Europe and other countries often allow it for free.
The addition nonetheless would both catch Android up to the iPhone in tethering support and would possibly give it an edge by placing support out of the direct control of a provider. AT&T has repeatedly promised tethering for Apple's handset since June of last year but hasn't set a definitive timetable; it has usually said it wants the network to be capable of handling the increased 3G activity.