12 Tech Days Of Christmas 2011

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EasyTether by Mobile Stream: The Grinch Stole Tethering. Now, Steal it Back!

By Jamison Cush

 

The Grinch-like carriers charge $15 to $30 per month to users for Android smartphone tethering privileges — that is, turning a smartphone into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot using the handset’s mobile connection.

This can be a problem if you are traveling any distance from Whoville and spend a fair amount of time on the road. Free and secure Wi-Fi is hard to come by in some hotels and airports, and unless Santa brings you a fancy new set of wheels with Wi-Fi, forget connecting in the car. Tethering is a great solution since it simply takes a smartphone “always-on” connection and shares it with a laptop or other device, allowing you and others to easily jump on the Internet or access email.

 

For a time, the Android Market provided a simple work around in the form of free and low-cost third-party apps that enabled tethering free of charge. However, the carriers proved their hearts were indeed two sizes too small earlier this summer when they blocked the Android Market tethering apps all together.

App Devs to the Rescue

But the app developers down in App-Ville and elsewhere weren’t deterred, and thanks to the bevy of Android app markets available, apps for free tethering are still readily available and easy to acquire. To date, the Amazon Appstore for Android has not only an excellent selection of Android apps, perhaps second to only the official Android market, but also the best tethering app in EasyTether by Mobile Stream.

 

EasyTetherFor a one-time price of $9.99, EasyTether allows users to share their data connection with a PC over USB. While the tethering feature offered by carriers on most phones works over Wi-Fi, allowing multiple devices to connect, the USB connection typically enables faster speeds and retains smartphone battery life.

 

To begin, users have to enable their smartphones to install apps from outside the Android Market, which is as simple a checking off the “unkown sources” box in the Android smartphone settings page. Then, install the Amazon Appstore for Android app onto their phones from Amazon.com and search the Appstore for EasyTether.

 

EasyTether setup is a bit of a hassle, as the app requires a PC-side client, which works with Windows, Mac and Ubuntu, though the EasyTether prompts do an admirable job walking users through it. As a bonus, it can also be used with a PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii via Windows Internet Connection Sharing.

 

Of course, the carriers are still Grinches when it comes to data and pricing, so make sure you are not going over your monthly GB allotment if applicable (Sprint still offers unlimited data, for now). Also, it’s a good bet this app violates a line or two in your customer agreement, so it would be best to keep EasyTether a holiday secret from the rest of the Whos down in Who-ville.

Price: $9.99
Website: Amazon Appstore for Android

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