I am still playing with HTC’s Droid Incredible from Verizon Wireless and like I said initially, it’s a very cool smart phone. However, the mobile broadband tethering leaves something to be desired.
After a month with the Palm Pre Plus as a free and seamless Wifi hotspot, the Incredible, based on the Android operating system, is like a mobile broadband cluster fudge. Mobile Broadband on the Incredible isn’t so incredible.
[I returned my Palm Pre Plus to Verizon because the Incredible offers a much more robust web experience. That said, I am waiting a bit before getting the Incredible because I have will to live with it for 12-18 months before I get my next discounted Verizon phone.]
First, you have to use the Verizon Access Manager software, which is a bit of a pain. It’s not simple like the Palm Pre, which behaves exactly like your home router.
But the bigger hassle is that you have to check off “Mobile Broadband Connect” on the Incredible every time you want to use it and it won’t let you do that unless you’re already connected to the device to which you want to provide Internet access (see photo). There is an always-on menu for certain networking functions, but “Mobile Broadband Connect” is not one of them.
And the cable you use must have a micro-B USB connector on one end, not the far more common mini-B connector that come with just about any PC peripheral and lie all over your house. So hang on to that cable with a micro-B connector on one end that came with the phone. The good news is that they are getting more popular.
And don’t mistake the Incredible for a notebook computer. While the web experience is great for a smart phone, it has nowhere near the display real estate and versatility of a notebook PC.
Why Verizon decided to make it mobile tethering so difficult on an otherwise excellent smart phone is beyond me. My older and battered Blackberry from Verizon spares me of this rigamarole save making me use the Verizon Access Manager.
I am also told from the comments to my original review of the Incredible that Android-based smart phones can be turned into a free Wifi hotspots. It’s done by downloading a custom ROM (a program) to “root” your phone. How to do it is explained in the video below, but beware: it might be considered a hack by Verizon.
I have not attempted it nor will I with the Incredible loaner I have from Verizon. Such is the price of using an open operating system like Android rather than something proprietary that Verizon can tightly control.
Despite returning my Palm Pre, it was an absolute drop dead simple Wifi hotspot for up to five users. Verizon is giving away mobile tethering on the Pre because sales have been so slow. Mobile tethering for the Incredible and Blackberry costs $30 a month although Verizon has knocked $5 off that as a promotion lasting into July. Then it goes back to $30.
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