Verizon Denies Tethering, Hot Spot Features to Droid Owners

I remember being surprised when a coworker first got the original Droid and demonstrated Verizon hadn’t crippled the phone in any noticeable way. They have a long history of disabling features either completely or to force customers to use pay for the privilege versions. I wasn’t surprised to see this Wired post by Priya Ganapati explaining that the long desired updated to the latest Android release, Froyo, will come to the Droid minus tethering and the ability to act as a wireless hot spot.

The carrier is claiming the Droid doesn’t have the horsepower to pull of these new software tricks.

“The Droid by Motorola doesn’t have [the] hardware to support a mobile hot spot,” a Verizon spokesperson told MobileCrunch. “With tethering there is no connection on the PC side that will allow you to tether the device, so the answer is: That option isn’t part of this update.”

The modding commuting has already put that to the lie. The same coworker of mine, who still has his Droid, has installed a custom ROM already to not only get Froyo but to get the tethering and hot spot features specifically. The gadget treadmill is in full force, the full features of Froyo will be available on the newer Motorola phones from Verizon, like the Droid X.

I have to wonder what the real cost is to Verizon to just let older devices try to run these newer builds unmodified. If the phone really doesn’t have the oomph to manage these tricks, won’t users want to upgrade anyway? Forcing them to do so well before the mean time to failure, let alone minimum service contract length, is a dangerous gamble in terms of the potential customer good will they could lose.

Verizon Denies Tethering, Hot Spot Features to Droid Customers, Wired

5 Replies to “Verizon Denies Tethering, Hot Spot Features to Droid Owners”

  1. It pissed me off when I read the line about the hardware being unable to tether. I don’t know what they gain from this either – other than most customers will take the statement at face value and trust them. Froyo would allow them to not only enable wireless (and wired) tether but to CHARGE for it. So, they wouldn’t be missing out on their MiFi money. Customers have shown that they are willing to pay an extra fee for tethering.

    I’m still rocking the original T-Mobile G1 and am running a custom ROM (T-Mobile has left the G1 at version 1.6 aka Cupcake). I have installed a preview build of Froyo which worked well (once I turned on a mod to compress RAM). Via custom ROMs with all versions of Android I have been able to tether with a usb cable, via wifi or bluetooth with no problems whatsoever – and this is the oldest/slowest hardware that runs Android!

  2. there is tethering available without rooting… the program is called “easytether” on the market. the only semi-drawback is that it requires a usb connection to the laptop. i used it a bit before i got froyo and it does indeed work pretty well.

    1. I have tried a few different non-root tether apps, but they required you to run client software on the computer connecting to the phone. I’ll have to look into “easytether”. I kind of like having a wired tether since you keep your phone battery juiced up while you surf.

  3. The mystery unravels. This article has a Verizon rep stating that the Texas Instruments WL1271 WiFi chipset in the Droid doesn’t support the official Froyo way of tethering (enabling access point mode). The market apps and custom ROMs enable ad-hoc mode only.

    Makes sense.

  4. I am running a rooted DROID 1 and I couldn’t be happier. I liberally overclock, I tether wired, wirelessly (ad-hoc and through Bluetooth).

    In fact, I’m so happy that I won’t upgrade until a significant change in technology comes around (not even the mighty DROID X is going to make me switch). Also, I won’t upgrade to a phone until it’s been rooted due to the increasing amount of bloatware coming onto these devices (http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/bloatware-android-phones/). I see a minimal amount of this on my girlfriend’s DROID X and it makes me want to vomit.

    The wireless tether is a great feature and it should be free. I’m paying for ‘unlimited’ data, who cares how I use it? Heaven forbid Verizon gives us a killer reason to brag to iPhone users and compel them to switch. Let us have it free! I think Motorola was given a massive break when Apple and Verizon couldn’t get their acts together and offer an iPhone before Android was a serious competitor. But I’m not on the inside of those deals, so what do I know.

    All of this said, I understand why Moto holds back these features from original DROID owners – because the environment is less and less about hardware and more and more about the Market (or app store for those types). Aside from a front-facing camera (which I have issues with) and 4G speeds, I don’t see anything coming out in the next year that would make me want to move away from my precious DROID 1.

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