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Palm Pre Does Not Get US Tethering Either 232

Posted by kdawson
from the cutting-the-cord dept.
fermion writes "The Register is reporting that Palm has sent a note to the Pre Dev Wiki asking it to stop discussing tethering. Palm is worried that its US carrier partner, Sprint, is none too eager to have users tether the game-changing tetherable smart phone. While the communication was informal, not legal, the development forum is evidently eager to avoid any possibility of lawsuits, so has rapidly agreed. Perhaps, like the iPhone, the Pre is going have a vigorous underground. What is interesting is that the Pre, like the iPhone (allegedly), can be tethered outside of the US; but even those customers are being denied apparently lawful information to satisfy the US exclusive agents."
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Palm Pre Does Not Get US Tethering Either

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  • Dumb (Score:5, Informative)

    by m3rck (1110319) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:21PM (#28352901)

    Sprint allows the these phones to tether:

    Blackberry 8703e, Blackberry 8130, Blackberry 8330, Blackberry 8830, 1HTC Touch, 1HTC Mogul (6800), 1HTC Apache (6700), LG Fusic LX-500, LG Muziq, Motorola KRZR, Motorola RAZR V3c, Motorola, RAZR2, Motorola Q, Motorola Q9c, Palm Centro, Palm 700w, Palm 755p, Samsung A900, Samsung A900M. Samsung A920, Samsung ACE, Samsung i830, Samsung SPH-m520,Sanyo SCP-8400. Sanyo Katana, Sanyo Katana 2, Sanyo M

    The Pre is nothing special, and Sprint has no idea what it is doning.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:21PM (#28352905)

    Sprint removed it from their website [engadget.com] back in February.

    Did you really think that an industry that charges 15 cents for 50 bytes of text (IM) that could easily be stuffed into the header overhead of routine handset-to-tower comms would give you tethering for free? really?

  • Maybe I missed most of the argument here, but my Blackberry storm, from Verizon, can tether if I pay $15 per month. I did that for a while until I could convince my phone company to provide DSL to my area. Why are other phone companies against tethering, or am I completely misunderstanding something?
  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:26PM (#28353019) Journal

    People expect that when they buy an unlimited mobile internet plan that it should automatically be able to tether too. THe straight up fact is when you tether your mobile you WILL consume more bandwidth, period. The companies know this and charge accordingly. People seem to forget realities like this, just like the morons who expected a discount on the new Iphone a year into their contract. Iphones arent jsut given to ATT for free, they have a fixed cost, which is subsidized by continued cell service payments generally over a period of 2 years.

  • by joe_n_bloe (244407) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:28PM (#28353065) Homepage

    I got a Centro a little while back and *Verizon* is A-OK with tethering. A short while before that I got a dongle but I hardly ever use it now, because Bluetooth tethering is so convenient.

    Verizon doesn't support its tethering software on Mac OS X, but, no worries, you can set Bluetooth dialing up yourself.

    BTW The Mac OS X EVDO script is terrible and broken. There's a MUCH better one floating around (I forget exactly which but I think it's the "PCS Intel EV-DO Modem Script"). Also, OS X's pppd likes to hang the computer occasionally (requiring a power button reboot), and Bluetooth dialing in general is flaky. But that's not Verizon's fault!

    Tethering really is a killer smartphone app. Too bad providers are so self-centered, unimaginative, and stuck in the past that they can't let owners use it.

    So I'll keep using my Centro with all its warts and random reboots, until, however many years from now, Verizon offers a better option.

  • by halligas (782561) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:34PM (#28353163)
    Um...I pay Sprint $15 for tethering.
  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:45PM (#28353317) Homepage
    The problem is that they are trying to charge people extra for something that they are legally required to let you do. It's kind of like saying "We are charging people extra for cable if you want to hook up your own personal DVR up to.

    NO. If I bought unlimited access, they I get unlimited access and I have the right to shift content I download to anywhere I want. If you don't really want to give out unlimited access, then don't lie and claim it is unlimited access. It is called Fraud when you advertise something and don't supply it.

  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:51PM (#28353407)

    This is complete bullshit. Reverse engineering has always been legal in the US. Talking about in a public forum is likewise perfectly legal. No big media or telecom entity can do anything to stop it. If Palm doesn't like this they should have taken bigger steps to lock the phone down. The devs should proceed as normal and ignore the veiled threats from Palm.

  • Popular? (Score:3, Informative)

    by meehawl (73285) <meehawl,spam&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @05:08PM (#28353675) Homepage Journal
    None of those phones are very popular.

    I will note in passing that each HTC model seems to sell between 1-2m each. Not a huge amount, but HTC does have a lot of different units available, and replaces them around eveyr 12-18 months or so. According to Gartner's most recent report, Apple's share of the smartphone market was ~11%, while HTC's was ~6%.

    I will say that I was without wired Internet for a week while AT&T tried and failed miserably to install U-Verse. Apparently the 40-year-old rat-chewed internal copper wiring can't take VDSL. Who'd have thought so? Anyway, I cranked up the old Sprint Mogul (HTC Titan) and tethered it, rebroadcasting the 3G signal as WiFi and BT using WMWiFiRouter [wmwifirouter.com]. Over WiFi, I was able to get up to around ~1.5/.5 Mbps, after initially being frustrated with ~250/50 Kbps. It seems to be very sensitive to phone position and signal strength, and also elevation.

    The best thing about this is that the tethering ability is available within the $30/month all-in SERO plan (as long as I use a suitable proxy to disguise the phone usage). Sprint's main problem compared to AT&T and Verizon is that is is so damn cheap and it has found it difficult to raise prices like them and increase the ARPU. I think with the Pre, it wants to can tethering until it's more certain it can successfully and reliably charge a premium for it.
  • by FishTankX (1539069) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @05:45PM (#28354175)
    HDSPA tethering in Japan on Docomo's network costs $8 as a base fee, and then $50 up to 50MB of data. Then it goes up from there to a cap of $100 for 100MB. After 100MB, the charge does not increase. This is for up to 7.2Mbps
  • Re:Ok...and? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ahoehn (301327) <andrew@h[ ]hn ['oe.' in gap]> on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @06:06PM (#28354405) Homepage

    Plus, the summary does a pretty awful job of getting to the real story. I've been following the development thread and chat since the rooting of the Pre was first announced. The motivation for the development forum's choice to stop talking about tethering wasn't eagerness to avoid lawsuits, it was appreciation for the way that Palm engineers have been interacting with the "underground" community.

    Palm engineers have been involved in the unofficial dev forum threads and chat, dropping hints, giving the "hackers" knowledge that might have otherwise taken weeks or months for them to discover unaided.

    The big stories here are:
    1) Palm DIDN'T send a cease and desist. They nicely said, "Hey, if you want us to keep helping you out here, stop talking about tethering."

    2) The Pre Dev community is doing some amazing things, thanks to the fact that the Pre is essentially a little Linux box with a nifty GUI.

    3) It doesn't really matter that the affected wiki and forum aren't discussing tethering, since solutions have already been released elsewhere.

    Want to get involved yourself? Head over to the most active dev thread at Precentral.net [precentral.net], contribute to the Wiki [wikidot.com], or join the chat at #webos-internals on FreeNode (irc.freenode.net).

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @06:54PM (#28354897)

    They're making money because you're now paying for 2 data plans plus 1 tethering plan rather than one of each. If you're geek enough to want tethering, you're also going to want data on your phone for those times when it's not worth the hassle of lugging a laptop. So instead of adding the tethering option to your phone's data plan, you're adding the $50-60 plan for a cellular card/dongle.

    Using AT&T prices:

    The cheapest phone/text/data/tethering plan runs around $105/month. 450 minutes, minimal text package, unlimited (5 gigs) data, tethering.

    The cheapest phone/text/data plan runs around $60/month. The DataConnect plan is $60/month. That's a total of $120/month.

    AT&T gets an extra $15/month, $180/year, $360/contract. It's not the cards that they care about. It's the monthly bill. The cards can't cost them much at all in the quantities that they purchase.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @08:51PM (#28356095)

    Sprint removed it from their website [engadget.com] back in February.

    Did you really think that an industry that charges 15 cents for 50 bytes of text (IM) that could easily be stuffed into the header overhead of routine handset-to-tower comms...

    Not "could be stuffed into the header overhead", *is*. SMS messages are carried using spare capacity on the control channel (which is used to tell your phone an incoming call's coming in otherwise, and for telling it if it should change to another channel or cell site... in the other direction, the phone uses it to initiate outgoing calls.) Now, they do have it popular enough now that the control channel fills up, and they have to install a second control channel...so the cost isn't really 0 in those areas.

  • by tmortn (630092) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @09:59PM (#28356697) Homepage
    First off let me state that tethering on a contract that state 'no tethering' is clearly a violation of the terms of said contract.

    However, that being said, just because it is in a contract you sign does not make it 'right'. The idea that the service provider has a say over what happens to content I transfer via the service once it reaches my device is absurd. I seriously doubt you could claim that someone downloading a picture/video/file to their phone and then transferring it to their computer constitutes something that is illegal given said content has no restrictions (say project Gutenburg book files). And yet that is what a 'no tethering' clause claims on at least one method of such a transfer.

    There is zero difference to the service provider if a file makes it to a computer via a network request transfered by the phone or via the phone downloading the file and then transferring the file via bluetooth or usb. The phone is in both cases providing the network access to the file in question. On what grounds (other than greed) should they have any say regarding if the secondary transfer happens as the information reaches the device or shortly there after via another means of file transfer?

    Now they may have grounds to be concerned if I exceed my bandwidth allotment. The problem with that is dealing with the word 'unlimited'. When the plan states unlimited data and then buries a bandwidth cap clause in the legalese I consider that an open case as to whether or not it is 'false advertising'.

    The definition of 'unlimited' should always be clearly defined and not buried in the terms of service. I would argue that to use the word unlimited the provider must define a quality of service rate accessible for the duration of the contract. I would suggest the average transfer rate the device is capable of across the providers network times the length of the contract. Anything less should not legally be allowed to advertise as an 'unlimited' data plan.

    For example having a monthly 1gb bandwidth cap on an 'unlimited' plan attached to a device capable of downloading multiple gb's of data on any given day (before even considering tethering) is an unacceptable stretch of the term 'unlimited'. And even if they removed the word unlimited and explicitly advertised a monthly 1gb data plan they would still have no dog in the 'tethering' fight. Only the right to gig me if I exceeded 1gb of bandwidth in the alloted period of my service contract.

    Obviously for any of this to take effect challenges will have to be brought in court based on enforcement of these contract terms. Oddly enough if you read up on people that do run afoul of the 'no tethering' clause you find they are generally penalized on bandwidth grounds... not the tethering. Consequences are in my experience always driven by dealing with the bandwidth usage... ie paying for overage and/or having your account upgraded to allow for the increased usage. The reason is that the bandwidth overages are far far far easier for the service provider to pursue in court. Here is the common sense reason why. The terms of service to often explicitly state what constitutes excess bandwidth usage. They do not clearly show why 1gb of 'tethered' data is any different from 1gb of "untethered" data... because there is none.
  • Re:Tethering on a G1 (Score:3, Informative)

    by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @02:39AM (#28358305)

    Yea, we got root access here. Also allot of heat. Can't have one without the other I'm afraid.

    You can tether without root access, http://code.google.com/p/proxoid/ [google.com], I think this is the App T-mo pulled,If T-mo is blocking it then go directly to the source. It's still available in Australia and Europe where the government tells the telco's they cant control what we do on our phones.

    Also, you think that's heat, where I live it's 35 Degree's Celcius, and its winter here.

  • Re:Ok...and? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @02:41AM (#28358323)

    Unless you got an app I haven't seen,

    I don't know which app Tmobile blocked/asked removed but Proxoid does not require root (technically its proxying not tethering but the end result is the same). If you cant find it on the market get it from the source. http://code.google.com/p/proxoid/ [google.com]

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