Android 2.2 Supports USB Tethering, Creates Wi-Fi Hotspots
As the next version of Google's smarpthone operating system, Android 2.2, nears release, more information about new features is beginning to surface. The latest developments include USB tethering to laptops and the ability to turn the phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Android 2.2 is nicknamed Froyo (stands for frozen yogurt) in keeping with Google's tradition of naming Android versions after desserts in alphabetical order (see also: Cupcake, Donut, Éclair). It has been previously confirmed that Android Froyo will support Adobe Flash, a major improvement for Web browsing on smartphones, and will be much faster than previous versions.
These newly confirmed features will add several connectivity options for Froyo users. USB tethering allows Android phone owners to pipe a 3G Internet connection to a laptop through the phone, negating the need for a Wi-Fi connection. On the other hand, the ability to treat the phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, in other words broadcasting a wireless signal, makes it possible to connect several wireless devices through the phone.
The problem is that even thought the functionality is there, wireless networks may not allow tethering. Networks are wary about it because it takes up precious bandwidth . AT&T has a long-standing ban on tethering for the iPhone , even though it is one of the most demanded features by customers. It's unknown if carriers will let Android 2.2 phones tether.
Android 2.2 Froyo is expected to launch soon, probably within the next few weeks.