I have been USB-tethering with my Sprint HTC Mogul for more than two years, connecting my Ubuntu 8.04~10.04 and Win XP~7 laptops/netbook to Sprint’s usually-speedy-enough 3G data network. While my Mogul still works fine as a phone, email client, light browsing, an GPS navigation with Tomtom 7 and Google Map, I am really getting tired of Windows Mobile 6.1.
I am a fan of building custom Linux kernels for the x84 architecture and having root access to an OS, so the ability to do (close to) the same on a ultra-portable embedded device with an ARM architecture with an Android OS appeals to me.
The hardware I want is something like the HTC Evo (4G) or the HTC Desire/Incredible. While the Android 2.1 that comes with them pretty much does what I need, and I think I can always tinker around to get USB or Wifi tethering, the rumor that Android 2.2 will come with that ability built-in gets me fired up. Sprint says they’ll be charging an additional $29.99/month for Wifi hotspot on the Evo, so it remains to be seen if a carrier will disable the new built-in Wifi hotspot capability so they can charge more.
If history is an indication of what’s to come, I may have a reason to be optimistic.
Back in October 2007 when I got my Mogul, rumors were that there was a GPS module built-in, but Sprint had disabled it in the ROM. A few months later, Sprint released a new ROM with that GPS module enabled, even though they continue to provide their proprietary Sprint Navigation at a monthly fee. I hope they somehow decide to allow the native Wifi hotspot, but I’m not holding my breath for it.