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Palm Pre Does Not Get US Tethering Either 232

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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  • by genghisjahn ( 1344927 ) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:23PM (#28352959) Homepage
    ...the US is so far behind the rest of the tech world when it comes to wireless technology, they cannot offer a tethering service because they don't have the infrastructure to do it. It has affected all carriers. If it was only poor planning on the part of one company, that would be understandable. Even if it was poor planning on the part of many companies, one at least could offer this great feature (at a realisitc price) and make a killing. But as it one can do it at anything close to a price that middle class Americans will pay. Links to the contrary are welcome.
  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:27PM (#28353031) Homepage

    Indeed. Leave it to the marketing department at Palm to let out a story about something that the Pre cannot do and spin it so that all of a sudden the "underground" that will try to make it do what it cannot do are now some kind of elite hackers. Meanwhile, does anyone actually want one of these phones? If you want to tether your phone, why not buy one that can do that? T-Mobile allows it for BlackBerrys, for example...

  • by TejWC ( 758299 ) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:32PM (#28353131)

    Reasons why cell phone companies hate tethering:
    1. Youtube. When AT&T did calculations for the iPhone, they initially didn't take youtube into account and once it was available to iPhone customers, their 3 year bandwidth projection was hit in just 3 weeks (I'll look up the citation later, but you'll have to take my word on it). Now that youtube is available to many mobile devices, I would assume that they are worried that other apps (like WoW, Skype, BitTorrent) could suck up a lot of bandwidth
    2. Tethering your computer to your phone means that your cellphone could potentially be part of a botnet from your pwned windows computer.
    3. If they can legally charge you for it, why not? Many businesses are willing to pay the fee as a "cost of doing business".

  • by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:35PM (#28353171)

    This is especially irritating because I was just starting to look around for an iPhone alternative that would allow tethering, background apps and no restrictive app store policies, etc. etc. all the reasons why the iPhone is essentially a nerfed technology demonstrator.

    Here is a great case of the technology being far ahead of the networks that support it. I think some of the major device providers should get together and form a network that is designed from the ground up to support data first and voice second.

  • Re:Dumb (Score:5, Interesting)

    by guruevi ( 827432 ) <`moc.stiucricve' `ta' `ive'> on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:42PM (#28353269) Homepage

    None of those phones are very popular. The Blackberries are either too expensive or only for business people (who don't mind paying a lot) and are too large for most people. The Motorola's are a pain in the butt so nobody uses them, the Samsungs, Sanyo's and LG's have been reflashed with provider-specific firmware which cripples usage of the phone and makes tethering all but impossible since the Bluetooth connection is very, very slow (My Samsung did 10s for 1MB).

    The Palm Pre and the iPhone is (going to be) very popular, have fast Bluetooth and raw processing power and have the ability for user-level programs and firmware which the provider doesn't control. The iPhone can already get up to 100kbps on the average over EDGE and has promised to deliver us HDSPA (Mbit range) something the providers in the US simply aren't and really don't want to get prepared for.

  • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <.deviladv. .at.> on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:51PM (#28353413) Homepage

    Companies aren't selling goods and services any more, they seem to sell permissions and licenses. What these companies should be selling is a connection and that's it. It should be completely separate from the hardware, and they should not be able to dictate what hardware is allowed on their service, or what you do with your hardware. They should not be allowed to regulate what is transmitted on said line.

    And there should be at least 40 of these companies, not four.

    We need to block all these company mergers, and encourage more start ups to increase competition. And we need to create regulations for the market to stop this nickle and dime shit these companies are allowed to get away with, separating the service from the hardware in order to increase innovation and competition and give rights back to the consumer. These companies have too much power to dick over customers. Whatever happened to treating the customer like a valued customer in this country? Is every single major US company run by a half-assed dickhead who only knows how to make money by screwing customers?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @04:52PM (#28353429)

    This is just another example of Sprint ruining the Pre release.

    My wife and I bought two at launch (we were at the sprint store at 7 AM) and were initially absolutely thrilled with the device. We are still thrilled with the device itself, but Sprint's service is absolutely terrible. The Pre insists on using an extremely weak Sprint signal over the MUCH stronger Verizon or US Cellular signal that it can also detect, which means that I am dropping several calls a day unless I intentionally put the phone somewhere where the Sprint signal is blocked and thereby force the Pre to roam.

    As a result, I will be returning both Pres, the two touchstone docks, two leather cases, and a Sprint Airave we bought to provide decent service to our house. Overall, we invested more than a thousand dollars in the phones and related equipment because we really wanted them to live up to the hype. The phone itself is amazing and *does* live up to the hype, but sadly Sprint's network is simply pathetic in my area and makes the phone all but useless.

    When the Pre is released for Verizon in January, we will be first in line.

  • Tethering on a G1 (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @05:18PM (#28353807)

    Last I checked, the G1 is only available through T-Mobile. The terms of their agreements PROHIBIT tethering on any phone, including the G1.

    I mean, they had Google pull a tethering app from the Android app store because using it constituted a violation of the user agreement.

    Are things different in Dallas?

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

    by GeekWade ( 623925 ) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @05:31PM (#28353963)

    Was anyone really expecting the greedy phone companies to give us tethering?

    No, but when I say to the sales guys "I will pay more if I can tether" I expect this little thing called capitalism to rear its little head and for somebody to take my money in exchange for the service that I am (wait for it....) willing to pay for! No, the incredible per kilobit fees that they threaten with in the standard "unlimited" plans do not count. Let me and the others like me pay for "unlimited+" and go upgrade your network to handle the load. When the next big thing comes along I will probably pay for that too and you can further upgrade your network. Wash, rinse, repeat...

  • Re:Well maybe. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by profplump ( 309017 ) <> on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @06:07PM (#28354421)

    The only reason I can see is to reduce liquidity in the secondary phone market, so they can sell more new phones. Even if they don't make a lot of money on the phone directly, new phone sales allow them to get people into new long-term contracts, which are very profitable and help reduce turnover.

    I just wish I wasn't required to enter a long-term contract even when I *do* provide my own phone. I know /. is full of apologists who rail about recovering the cost of hardware subsidies, but I have yet to encounter a provider who will sell me standard, post-paid wireless voice and data services on a single line without a 12-24 month contract and the related cancelation fees, even when I provide my own equipment.

  • by ( 245670 ) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @06:15PM (#28354501)

    Sure. Or they can add a routine to their firmware that looks for this type of connection and, when detected, cripple the phone. I grabbed a 3G iphone the week they were jailbroke and ran one of the socks proxy programs that was available. The iphone would not charge when data was being passed through the socks proxy. I could have the data connection active and do all the streaming audio I wanted on the phone through Pandora (hours and hours and hours) and it charged fine. But, as soon as I started putting data through the socks proxy, the phone stopped taking external power. Tried a number of socks proxys (all that were available at the time) and the behavior was the same. Data passing to/from the phone = battery charges. Data passing THROUGH the phone = no charging. Just having a telnet session open was enough to disable charging. So active tethering sessions were limited to a few hours. That may not sound like a big deal but it really kills the phone. A couple hours of tethered access and the battery's almost dead and you can't swap it out even if you were willing to schlep around extra batteries.

    This is much more devious than making such use outright impossible. Since most people don't know what the heck they're doing, they won't be able to troubleshoot and isolate the problem. Maybe they'll think tethering just takes too much power and that's why it's not supported. [cough]bullshit[/cough] AT&T and Apple get to keep their revenue stream while the customer gets conditioned to avoid the behavior AT&T dislikes. The customer give up on tethering or only use it as a last resort.

    I took the phone back after a few days of testing my charging theory. Currently using a Blackjack 2 which had to be mildly hacked to restore band selection and a couple other options. Tethered 8-10 hours a day as a method of external access testing.

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

    by m.ducharme ( 1082683 ) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @08:52PM (#28356103)

    I used to sell Rogers cellular way back when, and they were trying really hard to get people to buy pcmcia cellular cards for their laptops (with the pricey data plan to go with it). Rogers is banking that tethered laptops and whatnot will be the next big thing, and they'll be right there saying "see, we had it all along!" I suspect that there are people up high in Rogers who know that once mobile bandwidth reaches certain speed and portability tipping points, consumer interest in tethering technology and mobile internet service generally is going to explode. It's kinda shocking that other cell companies don't see this, as it seems like we're right on the cusp of that point now.

  • by d3ac0n ( 715594 ) on Tuesday June 16, 2009 @08:53PM (#28356125)

    Meanwhile, does anyone actually want one of these phones?

    Well, the fact that no Sprint or Best Buy can keep them in stock might be a clue to their popularity. The waiting list at the Niagara Falls Blvd. store in Amherst NY is two weeks long.

    Thankfully I work in downtown Buffalo. The Sprint store on Main Street there apparently has received (and has been promised) the single largest stock of Palm Pre's of ANY store in the continental United States (according to the store owner, who happened to be in the store the day I visited) and THEY can't keep them in stock for more than a day at a time.

    Sales are so brisk that it takes an hour and a half just to enable the phone as Sprint's activation servers are so backed up with Pre activations.

    So yeah, I'd say sales are brisk, and lots of people want the Pre.

    Oh, and I am absolutely LOVING my Pre, although I have no plans to set up tethering. I frankly don't need it with the internet capabilities of the Pre.

    Most mind boggling experience so far? Listening to Pandora radio jacked into my Jeep stereo while driving home today. Just... freaky cool!

Variables don't; constants aren't.