Google Reinstates Android Tethering App, More Fun G1 Facts
Article by George Norman
On 03 Apr 2009
Earlier this week we were announcing the fact that Google pulled the “Wi-Fi Tether for Root Users” app from the Android Market for the simple reason that it violated the rules – rules which have Google obeying T-Mobile’s “Terms of Service” which state that tethering is not allowed on its networks (details here). Google has revised the situation and has decided to bring back the app, with just one little catch: it is available for all other carriers except T-Mobile.

“Several applications that enable tethering were removed from the Android Market catalog because they were in violation of T-Mobile's terms of service in the US. Based on Android's Developer Distribution Agreement (section 7.2), we remove applications from the Android Market catalog that violate the terms of service of a carrier or manufacturer. We inadvertently unpublished the applications for all carriers, and today we have corrected the problem so that all Android Market users outside the T-Mobile US network will now have access to the applications. We have notified the affected developers,” explains the Mountain View company in a statement.


Developer of “Wi-Fi Tether for Root Users” and PhD student in Computer Science at the University of New Hampshire, Seth, responded to the news and raised an interesting point: “This seems to indicate that they have a mechanism in place to filter Market listings by carrier. I'm still not too keen on Google allowing the Market to be controlled by carriers at all, but at least we might not have to keep track of half a dozen different Terms of Service just to figure out what we can and can't publish. Users may not agree with my mild optimism here, since they'll be the ones with limited access to apps.”

What exactly is that “filter mechanism” that Google has in place? Is the filtering being performed according to your carrier, and if so, does it use the phone’s SIM card to detect the carrier or the IMEI? If the filtering is done by detecting which network the G1 is connected to, then a simple workaround would be to switch SIM cards.

If you run your Android-powered G1 phone on T-Mobile’s network and the news has you down, here are some fun facts about the “Google phone”, as presented by Chief Executive of T-Mobile USA, Robert Dotson in his keynote speech at the CTIA wireless trade show in Las Vegas:
- 80% of G1 owners use the device to surf the net on a daily basis. 50% of users connect to the web via WiFi on a daily basis.
- Android apps are downloaded once a week by 4 out of 5 G1 owners.
- Half of G1 owners have traded up from the basic handset.
- YouTube and Facebook are accessed at least once a weak by G1 owners. In related news, visiting YouTube and Facebook has been proven to enhance productivity in an enterprise environment (details here).

What is tethering?

Tethering is a mobile device’s capability to connect to a non-mobile device, like your desktop computer, and give that non-mobile device access to the web. To put it more bluntly, you just connect your smartphone to your computer and in no time at all you have wireless internet. You can connect your mobile phone via: serial cable, USB cable, PC card, IrDA, Bluetooth, and WiFi. The term comes from the word “tether”, which is when you use a cord to anchor down a moveable object.

Tags: Google, Wi-Fi Tether for Root Users, Tethering, G1, T-Mobile, Android Market
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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