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Android Networking Your Rights Online

Google Allows Carriers To Ban Tethering Apps 328

Posted by timothy
from the ultra-customizable dept.
iluvcapra writes "Google, in its continuing struggle to provide phone carriers (if not its end users) with an open platform, is now banning tethering apps from the Android market. These apps haven't disappeared and can still be sideloaded, insofar as your carrier doesn't lock this functionality or snoop on your packets."
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Google Allows Carriers To Ban Tethering Apps

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  • Not Banned (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @06:57PM (#36018410)
    From what I've seen (from screenshots) they're not banned as such, but they will not load to a specific carrier if that carrier has asked that it be blocked. You can still side-load it, with your carrier's data charges being incurred at your peril.
    • This is good. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:00PM (#36018436)

      It puts more load on their network if you use up your five gigabytes of monthly data with your laptop instead of your cell phone, unless you pay extra for it.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)
        If my carrier did it (they have not) I'd be quite annoyed, as it was a supported feature when I signed my contract. Here (in Canada) recent legislation allows you to get out of a contract if they change it, or so I'm lead to believe.
        • by jrumney (197329)
          It needed recent legislation? Basic contract law says that they can't make changes to the contract without your agreement. If they're going to pull the "by continuing to use the service you agree to our new terms" bullshit, they at least need to allow you a way out of the contract at that point, or there is no way you can indicate your agreement.
          • Re:This is good. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by icebike (68054) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:22PM (#36018642)

            Basic contract law says that they can't make changes to the contract without your agreement.

            You agreed to let them make changes to the contract when you signed it.

            • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:26PM (#36018680) Homepage Journal

              You agreed to let them make changes to the contract when you signed it.

              Either that, or your contract specifies that every time you use your phone you are agreeing to any goddamn agreement they want.

              It's all fun and games until they abduct you and sew your lips to someone's asshole. I seen it on the teevee.

            • Re:This is good. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by base2_celtic (56328) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:31PM (#36018720) Homepage Journal

              But you can't. IANAL, but any contract that says "you agree to any changes in the future" is illegal and non-binding.

              This is why WoW's Terms and Conditions are continually popping up for you to agree to -- every time they make a change, you have to reagree.

              • Re:This is good. (Score:4, Insightful)

                by icebike (68054) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:40PM (#36018810)

                But you can't. IANAL, but any contract that says "you agree to any changes in the future" is illegal and non-binding.

                This is a almost universal in subscription service contracts. For you, a non-lawyer, to stand up and state that it is universally non-binding flies in the face of the facts that it is used everywhere, enforced everywhere, and any time you challenge it, they simply terminate the contract and send you packing.

                • Re:This is good. (Score:5, Informative)

                  by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:46PM (#36018862)

                  and any time you challenge it, they simply terminate the contract and send you packing.

                  Because saying you automatically agree to any changes is illegal and they can't hold you to it. Anybody can put ANYTHING in a contract, but that doesn't mean they can enforce it. All they can do is terminate the contract, which is exactly what's being discussed here. Wireless companies cannot charge you an ETF when you decline a change to your contract. The contracts state "We (The Company) may terminate the Contract at any time for any reason" and any change to the contract that is met with your declination will cause the company to enact that clause and send you packing. Of course, they would have to eat the cost of the device as well, but that's what they'll do if the new contract terms are so important.

                  • by icebike (68054)

                    and any time you challenge it, they simply terminate the contract and send you packing.

                    Because saying you automatically agree to any changes is illegal and they can't hold you to it. Anybody can put ANYTHING in a contract, but that doesn't mean they can enforce it. All they can do is terminate the contract, which is exactly what's being discussed here. Wireless companies cannot charge you an ETF when you decline a change to your contract.

                    And in the mean time you will be left with a device that won't work on anyone else's network, and they may not charge you early termination, but you will be they will charge you for any phone payments due on the device. They won't eat the device charges.

                    They have your credit card and a contract that says you promised to pay, and the credit card company will simply pay it and bill you. You won't have a leg to stand on when you complain.

                    If you are a lawyer you would know that the agreed to right to modify,

                    • Re:This is good. (Score:5, Informative)

                      by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @08:22PM (#36019168)

                      They have your credit card and a contract that says you promised to pay, and the credit card company will simply pay it and bill you. You won't have a leg to stand on when you complain.

                      If you are a lawyer you would know that the agreed to right to modify, signed in advance, is enforceable the vast majority of the time. Only rarely do you find a judge who with tell them they can't do it. If they were getting bitch slapped by judges as often as you seem to think, they would stop putting that in their contracts in the first place. But its still in there. Know why? Cuz it works.

                      I promised to pay $199.99 plus tax for my Droid X, to extend my contract for 2 years, and to be subject to an early termination fee of $350 should I cancel my service before the contract time is up. That's what I promised to pay. They didn't loan me the extra $400 of MSRP and tell me that it will be paid off over time automatically as I continue my service. I paid $199.99, and that's it.

                      From Customer Agreement | Verizon Wireless [verizonwireless.com]:

                      If you cancel a line of Service, or if we cancel it for good cause, during its contract term, you'll have to pay an early termination fee. If your contract term results from your purchase of an Advanced Device after November 14, 2009, your early termination fee will be $350 minus $10 for each full month of your contract term that you complete. (For a complete list of Advanced Devices, check verizonwireless.com/advanceddevices.) Otherwise, your early termination fee will be $175 minus $5 for each full month of your contract term that you complete.

                      Can Verizon Wireless Change This Agreement or My Service?
                      We may change prices or any other term of your Service or this agreement at any time,but we'll provide notice first, including written notice if you have Postpay Service. If you use your Service after the change takes effect, that means you're accepting the change. If you're a Postpay customer and a change to your Plan or this agreement has a material adverse effect on you, you can cancel the line of Service that has been affected within 60 days of receiving the notice with no early termination fee.

                      What Are Verizon Wireless' Rights to Limit or End Service or End this Agreement?We can, without notice, limit, suspend or end your Service or any agreement with you for any good cause, including, but not limited to: (1) if you: (a) breach this agreement; (b) resell your Service; (c) use your Service for any illegal purpose, including use that violates trade and economic sanctions and prohibitions promulgated by any U.S. governmental agency; (d) install, deploy or use any regeneration equipment or similar mechanism (for example, a repeater) to originate, amplify, enhance, retransmit or regenerate an RF signal without our permission; (e) steal from or lie to us; or, if you're a Postpay customer, (f) pay late more than once in any 12 months; (g) incur charges larger than a required deposit or billing limit, or materially in excess of your monthly access charges (even if we haven't yet billed the charges); (h) provide credit information we can't verify; or (i) are unable to pay us or go bankrupt; or (2) if you, any user of your device or any account manager on your account: (a) threaten, harass, or use vulgar and/or inappropriate language toward our representatives; (b) interfere with our operations; (c) "spam," or engage in other abusive messaging or calling; (d) modify your device from its manufacturer's specifications; or (e) use your Service in a way that negatively affects our network or other customers. We can also temporarily limit your Service for any operational or governmental reason.

                      They WILL eat the device charges. They have to. Declining a change in your contract and causing Verizon to cancel it is NOT "good cause" to charge an ETF.

                      If YOU are a lawyer you would know that there's a reason Verizon's customer agreement goe

                    • by kybred (795293)
                      This is from the T-Mobile [t-mobile.com] (US) web site:

                      7. Provide customers the right to terminate service for changes to contract terms.

                      Carriers will not modify the material terms of their subscribers’ contracts in a manner that is materially adverse to subscribers without providing a reasonable advance notice of a proposed modification and allowing subscribers a time period of not less than 14 days to cancel their contracts with no early termination fee.

            • by cpu6502 (1960974)

              >>>You agreed to let them make changes to the contract when you signed it.

              My Paypal contract said the same thing, until a judge threw it in the trash. He said that contracts may not supersede consumer protections provided by law, and eventually forced Paypal to issue $100 refunds to all their customers (at least the ones who made the class action claim).

              When a contract changes, it becomes null-and-void until both parties agree to the changes. Most times the "agreement" is automatic within 30 days

              • by Rosyna (80334)

                My Paypal contract said the same thing, until a judge threw it in the trash. He said that contracts may not supersede consumer protections provided by law, and eventually forced Paypal to issue $100 refunds to all their customers (at least the ones who made the class action claim).

                Not been following the supreme court on AT&T vs Class action lawsuits?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Of course they can't. But that's why they always include the "by continuing to use the service you agree to our new terms" BS as standard boilerplate when you sign on.

            I suppose with smart phones they now have the ability to pop up a little window every time you connect to their phone network with a message notifying you of changes. Something brief and to the point like "The terms of your contract have been altered. Pray that we don't alter them further" would seem appropriate.

        • This isn't a problem with the users, it's a problem with the network. As with almost all mobile data providers, they oversell and underprovision. It's all about squeezing users for as much as they can. If they can force people to pay a premium for the same data service they will, if they don't have to upgrade the network, even better.

          Add to this that if I am on the road I use as much data on my phone/iPad as I do at home (sometimes more if I'm watching videos remotely), so there's really no excuse for not a

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phoomp (1098855)
        Everybody knows that laptop megabytes are bigger than cell phone megabytes.
        • Usage patterns are different tho...

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @06:58PM (#36018416) Homepage

    But the plan said "unlimited"! Now how will I BitTorrent 50GB Blu-Ray rips?

    • Re:Damn. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonBuggy (611105) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:02PM (#36018456) Journal

      By jailbreaking your handset, and telling the carrier to be more honest in their marketing next time if they complain?

      • Re:Damn. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MoonBuggy (611105) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:10PM (#36018540) Journal

        Also, while I'm aware that this could only be considered 'on topic' by the most tenuous of standards, I'm surprised we got a term so positive as 'jailbreak' into mainstream usage. The connotation that the phone as-provided is trapped in a jail, and that the user is freeing it by hacking the OS, seems like a reasonable analogy to me, it's just that I would've expected the carriers to go for a bit of negative PR. Something along the lines of "Sure, you could install that evil communist app that hasn't been authorised by an upstanding corporation's store, but you'd need to terrorist-molest your phone to do so. You don't want to do that, do you?"

        • Also, while I'm aware that this could only be considered 'on topic' by the most tenuous of standards, I'm surprised we got a term so positive as 'jailbreak' into mainstream usage. The connotation that the phone as-provided is trapped in a jail, and that the user is freeing it by hacking the OS, seems like a reasonable analogy to me, it's just that I would've expected the carriers to go for a bit of negative PR. Something along the lines of "Sure, you could install that evil communist app that hasn't been authorised by an upstanding corporation's store, but you'd need to terrorist-molest your phone to do so. You don't want to do that, do you?"

          As others have pointed out, the correct term for Android devices is "root" not jailbreak ... not that "root-molest" sounds any better, now that I think about it.

          • by adolf (21054)

            It's possible to have a rather modified Android device without, at any time, having root available.

            Just because most ROMs include root access (via a modified su binary) does not mean that all of them must. Furthermore, installing such ROMs does not require root to begin with -- it's generally a recovery mode function, wherein the concept of "root" is foreign.

            So. Just because the common term with Android is to "root" it, does not mean that it is the correct term.

            That said: For what it's worth, I definitel

            • That said: For what it's worth, I definitely have "rooted" my Droid: It was one of the first things I did when I got the phone, and doing so (way back then) simply required using adb to replace su, with no other changes.

              The first couple of releases of Android shipped that way. It was only a desire to prevent programmers from perceiving Android apps as easily-piratable that root access was removed. That irked me at the time: I was an early-adopter G1 owner, and I was torqued when my root access disappeared ... of course that didn't last long. I currently have a G2, and I waited until a reliable root procedure was released before I bought it. I'm running Cyanogenmod 7 now and couldn't be happier.

              • by adolf (21054)

                I'm on CM 7, too: I could be happier (the camera is still broken on Droid, even more weirdly than before), but I'm not complaining. (Not much, anyway. It's minor to me.)

                2.3 (ala CM 7) offers the fastest response I've ever seen from this device, and I frankly expected the opposite. Too bad that VZW is completely unlikely to ever send out an OTA update for others to enjoy it, as that would cut into their sales of new phones...... :-/

                I just wish it was called something other than "rooting," as that's a mis

                • by shaitand (626655)

                  "I just wish it was called something other than "rooting," as that's a misnomer at best."

                  Not sure what you mean here. Last I checked people referred to using the procedure to gain root access as "rooting" and anything else as modding or simply installing an alternate rom. I haven't really seen any sign of people using the term "root" to encompass all of the above.

                  Unless you mean the same technically illiterate people who refer to a pc tower as a "hard drive" but they really don't count, since they wouldn't

                • by h4rr4r (612664)

                  How is it broken on Droid?
                  I am running 7.0.2 and it seems fine.

      • by ElBeano (570883)
        In the world of Android, the term is "root", rather than "jailbreak".
        • Re:Damn. (Score:4, Informative)

          by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @09:11PM (#36019524)

          Actually, in Android there are multiple layers of rooting:

          1: Getting a root prompt.
          2: Keeping a root prompt and changes done, as opposed to having the phone soft-brick (until it gets reflashed), or automatically reinstall itself.
          3: Being able to keep the root prompt across a reboot.
          4: Being able to modify filesystems, mount them read/write and have changes persist across reboots.
          5: Flash a ROM, kexec()ing around the signed kernel, because the bootloader is encrypted. Other than the Droid and the Xoom, this is the best modders can do with Motorola devices.
          6: Flashing a completely customized ROM with a custom kernel.
          7: Disabling anti-consumer crap completely on the device and allowing the user to do what he/she wants. This is how the Nexus and other Google items ship (fastboot oem unlock.) Complete unlock means that the device is not carrier locked, nor locked to a certain ROM. This is why I highly recommend GSM based HTC devices -- IIRC, almost all of them can have "S/OFF" flipped, so they don't care what ROM or carrier they work with.

        • Re:Damn. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Falconhell (1289630) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @10:05PM (#36019960) Journal

          In Australia the word root means sex!

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      Doesn't 2.2 have a built-in WiFi hotspot capability? (or do some carriers remove that as well?)
      • by icebike (68054)

        On some phones. Nexus One for example needs no additional software at all. It becomes a wifi router.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by msauve (701917)
        Many do, but gosh darn it, carriers want you to actually pay more to put a greater burden on their network. What's the fun in that? Darn it, even if I agreed to a contract which doesn't allow tethering, it's not fair, and I should be able to do it anyway! It's just not right that Google would let my carrier enforce their contract terms! Besides, I only use it so friends can tether through my phone when it's connected to the Internet through my WiFi network, and I bought the phone, so I should be able to do
        • Re:Damn. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MoonBuggy (611105) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @08:14PM (#36019094) Journal

          The carrier sells you 'x' GB/month of total data transfer (where x=data_rate*seconds_in_month if they sold the plan as 'unlimited'). What the hell difference does it make which device those bits happen to end up on after transiting through your phone?

          • The carrier sells you 'x' GB/month of total data transfer (where x=data_rate*seconds_in_month if they sold the plan as 'unlimited'). What the hell difference does it make which device those bits happen to end up on after transiting through your phone?

            The difference is that they'd much rather limit your consumption to as small a percentage of that promised 'x' gigabytes as they possibly can, and the presumption is that a phone will consume less capacity than, say, a laptop. And that's true: but it's still a crappy way to treat your customers. Not being boned up the ass like that is why I'm on T-Mobile, and why I'm absolutely furious with AT&T for fucking up a good thing. Bastards. Can't compete? Just destroy the competition.

            Personally, I think we

          • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

            by msauve (701917)
            You're wrong. The carrier sells you what's in the contract. If they sell you "X" Gb per month for on-phone use, and 0 Gb per month tethering, then that's what you bought. If you don't agree with that, then don't agree and don't sign up. But, as long as the terms are "no tethering," and you agree, quit trying to claim it's somehow unfair. That's disingenuous, and not just because it's easier to suck bandwidth from a tethered PC than from a phone.
            • by MoonBuggy (611105)

              I made my decision, which (among other things) is why my phone's only on WiFi, but that doesn't mean I've given up all right to complain about the fact that my options have been reduced to "Sign a contract (and pay for a service) that makes absolutely no technical sense" or "Don't have mobile internet".

              Yes, I have a choice. It's a crappy choice made possible by conflict of interest, lack of competition, general asshattery on the part of the businesses, and the total abandonment of logic in the contracts. Id

        • Many do, but gosh darn it, carriers want you to actually pay more to put a greater burden on their netwo

          You must have Down's syndrome.

          If I'm under the monthly limit for my plan what the fuck does it matter which device got the bits? 5GiB on my phone is indistinguishable from 5GiB on my laptop. It's the exact same network load.

          • by Namarrgon (105036)

            I think you'll find there's a high correlation between "plans that have tethering blocked" and "plans with 'unlimited' data". With no clear monthly limit, carriers want to discourage you from using more than the "average" amount of data, which tethering frequently does.

            For plans with limited data (i.e. you have to pay more if you want to use more) then the reverse is usually true - carriers encourage data use as it directly increases their income, and there are rarely restrictions on tethering (certainly tr

      • Re:Damn. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mspohr (589790) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:59PM (#36018986)
        This is my favorite feature of my Nexus One. Just a few taps and it turns into a WiFi hotspot. This one feature has saved me hundreds of dollars on hotel rip-off WiFi prices. Nice also in the car to have WiFi for your passengers.

        This is a feature of 2.2 (and above) unless your evil phone carrier disables it. (T-Mobile is happy with me using it.)

        • T-Mobile is happy with me using it.

          Enjoy it while it lasts. *Cue Imperial March as AT&T logo rolls into view*

        • This is my favorite feature of my Nexus One. Just a few taps and it turns into a WiFi hotspot. This one feature has saved me hundreds of dollars on hotel rip-off WiFi prices. Nice also in the car to have WiFi for your passengers.

          This is a feature of 2.2 (and above) unless your evil phone carrier disables it. (T-Mobile is happy with me using it.)

          Nothing to do with the Nexus One, per se. It's just that the Wi-Fi tether option wasn't turned off by T-Mobile (unlike most of the other providers out there ... bloodsuckers.) My G2 had that option in the stock firmware as well (I'm also a happy T-Mobile customer, and for the same reasons.) And if the AT&T buyout goes through ... well, I'm going to be thoroughly pissed. Hey, even you folks out there that aren't on T-Mobile ought to be writing your Congresscrooks about this: ongoing consolidation in the

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:02PM (#36018450)

    Google Allows Carriers To Ban Tethering Apps

    I beg to differ, and here's why.

    Android based smart phone users are not prevented from installing tethering apps from elsewhere. In fact, one can [still] install them if on the Sprint network.

    What Google has done is to 'comply' with Verizon's request to have tethering apps removed from the Android Market if this market is accessed by Android devices *on* the Verizon network.

    This falls short of a ban as implied by the diction in the title.

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:13PM (#36018560)

      Why the sensational title

      The 'i' in Android is not at the beginning of the product name.

      • Why the sensational title

        The 'i' in Android is not at the beginning of the product name.

        IAndrod? Hm ... sounds funny when you put it that way.

    • Android based smart phone users are not prevented from installing tethering apps from elsewhere.

      Nor were iPhone users before official tethering support was released. I had a tethering app I compiled myself, and any Jailbreak user could happily buy tethering apps as well.

      Therefore Apple has never banned an app, since you can simply sideload it by jailbreaking.

      • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:20PM (#36018630)
        There is a difference between jailbreaking your phone, and checking a check box.
        • by Nerdfest (867930)
          And, as noted here, they're not even banned, just blocked for specific carriers. (Perhaps Apple did the same, I don't know)
          • Yes, Apple made the tethering a carrier-specific feature, so some carriers like AT&T block it without paying extra.

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Interesting, where on an AT&T supplied Android phone is this check box that you speak of?

    • by jrumney (197329)
      My experience is that Google's market restrictions (at least the ban on purchasing paid apps that most of the world is still subject to, a situation that leads to rampant app piracy on Android) are implemented by SIM card matching, not the network you are accessing from.
    • For that matter, so far as I know, the ability to have carrier-specific app access control is not new to Android Market, either. For example, wasn't it that Skype was for a long time only available to Verizon customers due to an exclusive deal?

      Well, either way, it still sucks. Just because Apple is worse is no excuse for Google to stoop that low.

    • What Google has done is to 'comply' with Verizon's request to have tethering apps removed from the Android Market if this market is accessed by Android devices *on* the Verizon network.

      This falls short of a ban as implied by the diction in the title.

      Ah, damage control.

  • What happens if I remove my SIM card, boot up my phone and get onto the Google Market using my WLAN?

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Sim card? Not seen one of those in years.
      • by dnaumov (453672)

        Sim card? Not seen one of those in years.

        So what exactly does your phone used to make calls? Pixie dust?

        • CDMA phones don't use sim cards.
        • Sim card? Not seen one of those in years.

          So what exactly does your phone used to make calls? Pixie dust?

          U.S. wireless carriers that aren't AT&T (and aren't about to be bought by AT&T) use CDMA2000 instead of GSM and UMTS, and CDMA2000 phones don't necessarily use a CSIM [wikipedia.org]. Verizon Wireless and Sprint have chosen to forgo CSIM in favor of a subscriber identity programmed directly into the handset.

        • by msauve (701917)
          Perhaps a UICC [wikipedia.org], or he has a CDMA phone?
        • by gnapster (1401889)
          Many CDMA phones, such as those on Verizon's network, do not use SIM cards [wikipedia.org]. Their identification is hardwired into the handset, and cannot be swapped out.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sun (104778) <shachar@shemesh.biz> on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @10:24PM (#36020092) Homepage

      A while back it was not possible to buy non-free (beer) applications from the Android Market from my country. Only when I put in a SIM that belongs to another country was I able to even see for-pay applications.

      Market regularly uses the SIM card to identify which network you belong to and adjust the applications you can see accordingly.

      For the sake of the test, though, I've tried just that. I removed the SIM card and searched for tethering in the market (with the SIM card it resulted in both free and for-pay results).

      Without the SIM card the results seem to be exactly the same. Have not downloaded any of them (no need, as my carrier charges by the MB, and is happy for me to use as much traffic as I possibly can, and my phone has tethering built-in), but the results list seems to include all of them.

      So, yes, at least preliminarily, it seems like you can bypass the restriction by simply removing the SIM card.

      Shachar

  • Capped. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:14PM (#36018580)

    With virtually all carriers capping virtually all plans these days, any rationale for preventing tethering disappeared.

    Now it is simply GREED. They have special plans that add tethering. Therefore you can't tether for free any more.
    They can't claim network impact. As long as you stay under your Cap what is the problem?

    There is precious little data to suggest tethering users actually use more data. I know I don't. Sometimes I just want to
    send an email attachment that happens to be on my laptop. Some times I need to SSH into a server and can't put up with
    trying do deal with a command line task on that tiny screen.

    But it seems the defenders of this clamp down all seem to be rushing to defending the carriers because the carriers
    rely on the "over sell" of their bandwidth. Any user that approaches his CAP is therefore somehow stealing from
    the carrier. (I kid you not, I've seen this argument posted [androidcentral.com]).

    But even to reach that level of gullibility you have to buy into the idea that people who tether use more data. But its just not supported by the facts.

    The coming release of a flood of WIFI only tablets, with no continuing data plan for the carriers has a lot of people planning to tether these tablets for those few times a year when traveling where there is no handy WIFI. The carriers are trying to nip this in the bud, and they believe that every handheld device needs to have a carrier plan.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not just greed. I have no problem with greed, plus there is no realistic way to prevent greed on a macro scale. This smacks of collusion, which I am quite against. In a truly competitive market you would expect market forces to make things which cost virtually zero to provide to cost virtually zero. One major carrier would offer tethering for free and all the others would be forced to follow. For that matter, it is inconceivable to me that text messages are not free with any voice plan as they use

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Now it is simply GREED. They have special plans that add tethering. Therefore you can't tether for free any more.
      They can't claim network impact. As long as you stay under your Cap what is the problem?

      Dude, bandwidth consumed isn't the only possible rational.
      There are lots of programs whose network behavior is exceedingly shitty,
      but generally doesn't cause problems because your home router &/or ISP can handle it.
      When you take that same behavior, multiply it by many more users, and throw it at a cellphone tower, it causes endless problems.

      Remember when iPhones were being banned from college campuses because of a bug in their DHCP handling?
      Or the various times the Telcos had to work with app makers to

      • Dude, bandwidth consumed isn't the only possible rational.
        There are lots of programs whose network behavior is exceedingly shitty,
        but generally doesn't cause problems because your home router &/or ISP can handle it.
        When you take that same behavior, multiply it by many more users, and throw it at a cellphone tower, it causes endless problems.

        Good thing, then, that Android Market does not have restrictions on other kinds of network apps that you can run on an Android phone (and API permits full spectrum of socket operations - including running a server).

        To give a simple example, Android Market today has, IIRC, 3 FTP servers and 2 BitTorrent clients.

      • by drb226 (1938360)
        I believe the argument is more correctly paraphrased, "it makes no sense to distinguish between smartphone traffic and traffic from devices tethered to a smartphone". Any computing device has the same potential to behave badly with the network.
    • There is precious little data to suggest tethering users actually use more data. I know I don't.

      For that matter, the assumption that one cannot use large amounts of data with one's phone is quite insane today. Just think about video streaming if you want a popular use case.

      When it comes specifically to Android - and looking at the geeky side of it - there are BitTorrent clients for Android. The notion that using that on my phone is okay, but checking email from a tethered netbook is not, is quite insane.

  • by u19925 (613350) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @07:18PM (#36018620)

    Android only uses Linux based kernel. How does it make it open. You can't update anything on your Android phone without the permission from carrier/manufacturer/google. Google hasn't released latest Andrioid source code, not that it would help user in any way. You can't use gps on Android phone without giving google all your location information. The truth is, apart from the fact that you can download uncertified app on google android, you can't do anything more that what you can do on competing platform. I don't think this makes it any more open than other offerings.

    • If you own an Android phone, you should root it. If you don't, you're just using the crappy version of Android provided by the carrier. To fully appreciate the power of Android, one must completely control the device as it was intended in the first place.

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      On blackberry there is no need for rooting or sideloading, if I want to install an app from an unsanctioned source I browse to the app with the blackberry browser, click on it, confirm that I want to install it and it is done. It is by far the most PC like platform.
  • It's not quite "being evil" but it's getting closer.

    Sure, I know it's more about carries being evil, which they are masters of, but I would be more impressed with Google if they demonstrated a little more backbone.

  • by Intrinsic (74189) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @08:58PM (#36019452) Homepage

    I already dropped my cellphone plan because the data package was too expensive, being forced to purchase a separate tethering plan that is more expensive makes me think I have made the right choice. Im not going to be paying for two data plans, my home internet and my cell internet. Ill find a way to make it work with home internet and wifi hotspots.

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