Normal Android users could gain one of the most popular features of hacked Android phones – built-in internet tethering. TechCrunch has posted some leaked screens of Android 2.2 (FroYo) which reveal USB tethering and a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Both options have long been available to users of custom ROMs, like CyanogenMod, but this is the first time we have seen them in the vanilla Android build.
The real question now is, will carriers allow these default tethering options to make it to their Android phones? Many carriers currently allow tethering, but there is an additional $29 charge for official support. On the other hand, users can still enable tethering on most Android phones with free apps (like PDAnet) and the carriers can’t do anything to stop it.
Tethering is against some of the carriers’ terms of service, but anyone can tether freely as long as they are not abusing their data (going over 5 GB). I guess we will find out next week which phones are getting Android 2.2 first (our money is on the Nexus One) and how the carriers plan to handle it.