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328 comments

Not Banned (4, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018410)

From what I've seen (from screenshots) they're not banned as such, but they will not load to a specific carrier if that carrier has asked that it be blocked. You can still side-load it, with your carrier's data charges being incurred at your peril.

This is good. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018436)

It puts more load on their network if you use up your five gigabytes of monthly data with your laptop instead of your cell phone, unless you pay extra for it.

Re:This is good. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018510)

If my carrier did it (they have not) I'd be quite annoyed, as it was a supported feature when I signed my contract. Here (in Canada) recent legislation allows you to get out of a contract if they change it, or so I'm lead to believe.

Re:This is good. (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018596)

It needed recent legislation? Basic contract law says that they can't make changes to the contract without your agreement. If they're going to pull the "by continuing to use the service you agree to our new terms" bullshit, they at least need to allow you a way out of the contract at that point, or there is no way you can indicate your agreement.

Re:This is good. (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018642)

Basic contract law says that they can't make changes to the contract without your agreement.

You agreed to let them make changes to the contract when you signed it.

Re:This is good. (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018680)

You agreed to let them make changes to the contract when you signed it.

Either that, or your contract specifies that every time you use your phone you are agreeing to any goddamn agreement they want.

It's all fun and games until they abduct you and sew your lips to someone's asshole. I seen it on the teevee.

Re:This is good. (4, Insightful)

base2_celtic (56328) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018720)

But you can't. IANAL, but any contract that says "you agree to any changes in the future" is illegal and non-binding.

This is why WoW's Terms and Conditions are continually popping up for you to agree to -- every time they make a change, you have to reagree.

Re:This is good. (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018810)

But you can't. IANAL, but any contract that says "you agree to any changes in the future" is illegal and non-binding.

This is a almost universal in subscription service contracts. For you, a non-lawyer, to stand up and state that it is universally non-binding flies in the face of the facts that it is used everywhere, enforced everywhere, and any time you challenge it, they simply terminate the contract and send you packing.

Re:This is good. (5, Informative)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018862)

and any time you challenge it, they simply terminate the contract and send you packing.

Because saying you automatically agree to any changes is illegal and they can't hold you to it. Anybody can put ANYTHING in a contract, but that doesn't mean they can enforce it. All they can do is terminate the contract, which is exactly what's being discussed here. Wireless companies cannot charge you an ETF when you decline a change to your contract. The contracts state "We (The Company) may terminate the Contract at any time for any reason" and any change to the contract that is met with your declination will cause the company to enact that clause and send you packing. Of course, they would have to eat the cost of the device as well, but that's what they'll do if the new contract terms are so important.

Re:This is good. (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018962)

and any time you challenge it, they simply terminate the contract and send you packing.

Because saying you automatically agree to any changes is illegal and they can't hold you to it. Anybody can put ANYTHING in a contract, but that doesn't mean they can enforce it. All they can do is terminate the contract, which is exactly what's being discussed here. Wireless companies cannot charge you an ETF when you decline a change to your contract.

And in the mean time you will be left with a device that won't work on anyone else's network, and they may not charge you early termination, but you will be they will charge you for any phone payments due on the device. They won't eat the device charges.

They have your credit card and a contract that says you promised to pay, and the credit card company will simply pay it and bill you. You won't have a leg to stand on when you complain.

If you are a lawyer you would know that the agreed to right to modify, signed in advance, is enforceable the vast majority of the time. Only rarely do you find a judge who with tell them they can't do it. If they were getting bitch slapped by judges as often as you seem to think, they would stop putting that in their contracts in the first place. But its still in there. Know why? Cuz it works.

Re:This is good. (4, Informative)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019168)

They have your credit card and a contract that says you promised to pay, and the credit card company will simply pay it and bill you. You won't have a leg to stand on when you complain.

If you are a lawyer you would know that the agreed to right to modify, signed in advance, is enforceable the vast majority of the time. Only rarely do you find a judge who with tell them they can't do it. If they were getting bitch slapped by judges as often as you seem to think, they would stop putting that in their contracts in the first place. But its still in there. Know why? Cuz it works.

I promised to pay $199.99 plus tax for my Droid X, to extend my contract for 2 years, and to be subject to an early termination fee of $350 should I cancel my service before the contract time is up. That's what I promised to pay. They didn't loan me the extra $400 of MSRP and tell me that it will be paid off over time automatically as I continue my service. I paid $199.99, and that's it.

From Customer Agreement | Verizon Wireless [verizonwireless.com] :

If you cancel a line of Service, or if we cancel it for good cause, during its contract term, you'll have to pay an early termination fee. If your contract term results from your purchase of an Advanced Device after November 14, 2009, your early termination fee will be $350 minus $10 for each full month of your contract term that you complete. (For a complete list of Advanced Devices, check verizonwireless.com/advanceddevices.) Otherwise, your early termination fee will be $175 minus $5 for each full month of your contract term that you complete.

Can Verizon Wireless Change This Agreement or My Service?
We may change prices or any other term of your Service or this agreement at any time,but we'll provide notice first, including written notice if you have Postpay Service. If you use your Service after the change takes effect, that means you're accepting the change. If you're a Postpay customer and a change to your Plan or this agreement has a material adverse effect on you, you can cancel the line of Service that has been affected within 60 days of receiving the notice with no early termination fee.

What Are Verizon Wireless' Rights to Limit or End Service or End this Agreement?We can, without notice, limit, suspend or end your Service or any agreement with you for any good cause, including, but not limited to: (1) if you: (a) breach this agreement; (b) resell your Service; (c) use your Service for any illegal purpose, including use that violates trade and economic sanctions and prohibitions promulgated by any U.S. governmental agency; (d) install, deploy or use any regeneration equipment or similar mechanism (for example, a repeater) to originate, amplify, enhance, retransmit or regenerate an RF signal without our permission; (e) steal from or lie to us; or, if you're a Postpay customer, (f) pay late more than once in any 12 months; (g) incur charges larger than a required deposit or billing limit, or materially in excess of your monthly access charges (even if we haven't yet billed the charges); (h) provide credit information we can't verify; or (i) are unable to pay us or go bankrupt; or (2) if you, any user of your device or any account manager on your account: (a) threaten, harass, or use vulgar and/or inappropriate language toward our representatives; (b) interfere with our operations; (c) "spam," or engage in other abusive messaging or calling; (d) modify your device from its manufacturer's specifications; or (e) use your Service in a way that negatively affects our network or other customers. We can also temporarily limit your Service for any operational or governmental reason.

They WILL eat the device charges. They have to. Declining a change in your contract and causing Verizon to cancel it is NOT "good cause" to charge an ETF.

If YOU are a lawyer you would know that there's a reason Verizon's customer agreement goes into such depth with regard to early termination fees, changes in the contract, and Verizon's rights to end the contract. They didn't write those hundreds of words of legalese (that mostly protect the consumer more than Verizon) out of the goodness of their heart.

Re:This is good. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018832)

>>>You agreed to let them make changes to the contract when you signed it.

My Paypal contract said the same thing, until a judge threw it in the trash. He said that contracts may not supersede consumer protections provided by law, and eventually forced Paypal to issue $100 refunds to all their customers (at least the ones who made the class action claim).

When a contract changes, it becomes null-and-void until both parties agree to the changes. Most times the "agreement" is automatic within 30 days, but during that 30 days you have the option to back out.

And of course when you do that, the company will just drop you as a customer. No fine has to be paid, but you also have no service.

Aside -

I like when companies use the word "lifetime" as in "You shall pay $15/month for life!" until they decide to redefine life as ending next month, and raise your rates. Or else claim that lower-level tier has been discontinued, and the next tier is $45. Bastards.

Re:This is good. (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019182)

My Paypal contract said the same thing, until a judge threw it in the trash. He said that contracts may not supersede consumer protections provided by law, and eventually forced Paypal to issue $100 refunds to all their customers (at least the ones who made the class action claim).

Not been following the supreme court on AT&T vs Class action lawsuits?

Re:This is good. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36019154)

Of course they can't. But that's why they always include the "by continuing to use the service you agree to our new terms" BS as standard boilerplate when you sign on.

I suppose with smart phones they now have the ability to pop up a little window every time you connect to their phone network with a message notifying you of changes. Something brief and to the point like "The terms of your contract have been altered. Pray that we don't alter them further" would seem appropriate.

Re:This is good. (1)

telekon (185072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019268)

ZOMG I wish I had mod points this week. +5.

Re:This is good. (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018870)

This isn't a problem with the users, it's a problem with the network. As with almost all mobile data providers, they oversell and underprovision. It's all about squeezing users for as much as they can. If they can force people to pay a premium for the same data service they will, if they don't have to upgrade the network, even better.

Add to this that if I am on the road I use as much data on my phone/iPad as I do at home (sometimes more if I'm watching videos remotely), so there's really no excuse for not allowing people to tether their phones. It's just about not spending money on upgrading infrastructure and getting more from double billing customers.

Re:This is good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36019212)

This isn't a problem with the users, it's a problem with the network. As with almost all mobile data providers, they oversell and underprovision. It's all about squeezing users for as much as they can. If they can force people to pay a premium for the same data service they will, if they don't have to upgrade the network, even better.

They undersell because few complain. What do you suggest? You'll be up against a lot of apathy.

Add to this that if I am on the road I use as much data on my phone/iPad as I do at home (sometimes more if I'm watching videos remotely), so there's really no excuse for not allowing people to tether their phones. It's just about not spending money on upgrading infrastructure and getting more from double billing customers.

Do you really use more bandwidth (not GB) with a handheld device than with a fully-fledged, multi-tasking computer? Anyway, they oversell then do what they can to stop people noticing, who we gonna call?

Re:This is good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36019228)

You live in a weird dreamworld where you're entitled to whatever you want on your terms, huh? I had a reply typed out explaining that statement but I realized you're so deep in your own ass that you'll probably argue with me from the POV of that dreamworld which is fucking annoying, to say the least... so since you brought nothing to the conversation, I am doing the same and simply insulting you for being a dumbfuck.

Re:Not Banned (1)

RandomAdam (1837998) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019102)

I have read about this practice many times...but it still blows my mind.....users in the US allow their carriers to charge them twice for the same service???? Bits to the phone is bits to the phone....doesn't matter if the phone then routes those bits to a computer or not. I live in New Zealand....tethering is standard practice (I'm posting this from my laptop through WiFi on my nexus), how has this situation been allowed to develop over there?

Damn. (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018416)

But the plan said "unlimited"! Now how will I BitTorrent 50GB Blu-Ray rips?

Re:Damn. (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018456)

By jailbreaking your handset, and telling the carrier to be more honest in their marketing next time if they complain?

Re:Damn. (5, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018540)

Also, while I'm aware that this could only be considered 'on topic' by the most tenuous of standards, I'm surprised we got a term so positive as 'jailbreak' into mainstream usage. The connotation that the phone as-provided is trapped in a jail, and that the user is freeing it by hacking the OS, seems like a reasonable analogy to me, it's just that I would've expected the carriers to go for a bit of negative PR. Something along the lines of "Sure, you could install that evil communist app that hasn't been authorised by an upstanding corporation's store, but you'd need to terrorist-molest your phone to do so. You don't want to do that, do you?"

Re:Damn. (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018586)

Grr... mod points all used up - angry at self for not seeing your post and giving you one...

Terrorist-molest your phone

LOL

Re:Damn. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019170)

Also, while I'm aware that this could only be considered 'on topic' by the most tenuous of standards, I'm surprised we got a term so positive as 'jailbreak' into mainstream usage. The connotation that the phone as-provided is trapped in a jail, and that the user is freeing it by hacking the OS, seems like a reasonable analogy to me, it's just that I would've expected the carriers to go for a bit of negative PR. Something along the lines of "Sure, you could install that evil communist app that hasn't been authorised by an upstanding corporation's store, but you'd need to terrorist-molest your phone to do so. You don't want to do that, do you?"

As others have pointed out, the correct term for Android devices is "root" not jailbreak ... not that "root-molest" sounds any better, now that I think about it.

Re:Damn. (2)

ElBeano (570883) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018704)

In the world of Android, the term is "root", rather than "jailbreak".

Re:Damn. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018602)

Doesn't 2.2 have a built-in WiFi hotspot capability? (or do some carriers remove that as well?)

Re:Damn. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018660)

On some phones. Nexus One for example needs no additional software at all. It becomes a wifi router.

Re:Damn. (1, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018952)

Many do, but gosh darn it, carriers want you to actually pay more to put a greater burden on their network. What's the fun in that? Darn it, even if I agreed to a contract which doesn't allow tethering, it's not fair, and I should be able to do it anyway! It's just not right that Google would let my carrier enforce their contract terms! Besides, I only use it so friends can tether through my phone when it's connected to the Internet through my WiFi network, and I bought the phone, so I should be able to do anything I want with it.

Re:Damn. (3, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019094)

The carrier sells you 'x' GB/month of total data transfer (where x=data_rate*seconds_in_month if they sold the plan as 'unlimited'). What the hell difference does it make which device those bits happen to end up on after transiting through your phone?

Re:Damn. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019206)

The carrier sells you 'x' GB/month of total data transfer (where x=data_rate*seconds_in_month if they sold the plan as 'unlimited'). What the hell difference does it make which device those bits happen to end up on after transiting through your phone?

The difference is that they'd much rather limit your consumption to as small a percentage of that promised 'x' gigabytes as they possibly can, and the presumption is that a phone will consume less capacity than, say, a laptop. And that's true: but it's still a crappy way to treat your customers. Not being boned up the ass like that is why I'm on T-Mobile, and why I'm absolutely furious with AT&T for fucking up a good thing. Bastards. Can't compete? Just destroy the competition.

Personally, I think we should simply encourage everyone we know to install Netcounter (or some similar app) to track their usage, and then run network-intensive applications like Youtube as often as needed to run up as close to the cap as possible each month. Teach the carriers that they need to stop trying to find ways to screw people over and start building out more capacity because we're going to use it.

Re:Damn. (1, Redundant)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019246)

You're wrong. The carrier sells you what's in the contract. If they sell you "X" Gb per month for on-phone use, and 0 Gb per month tethering, then that's what you bought. If you don't agree with that, then don't agree and don't sign up. But, as long as the terms are "no tethering," and you agree, quit trying to claim it's somehow unfair. That's disingenuous, and not just because it's easier to suck bandwidth from a tethered PC than from a phone.

Re:Damn. (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019162)

Many do, but gosh darn it, carriers want you to actually pay more to put a greater burden on their netwo

You must have Down's syndrome.

If I'm under the monthly limit for my plan what the fuck does it matter which device got the bits? 5GiB on my phone is indistinguishable from 5GiB on my laptop. It's the exact same network load.

Re:Damn. (0)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019264)

"If I'm under the monthly limit for my plan what the fuck does it matter which device got the bits?"

What the fuck does your agreement to a contract mean? Obviously nothing. If it doesn't matter which device gets the bits, then you should have no problem with limiting those bits to your phone.

Re:Damn. (4, Interesting)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018986)

This is my favorite feature of my Nexus One. Just a few taps and it turns into a WiFi hotspot. This one feature has saved me hundreds of dollars on hotel rip-off WiFi prices. Nice also in the car to have WiFi for your passengers.

This is a feature of 2.2 (and above) unless your evil phone carrier disables it. (T-Mobile is happy with me using it.)

Re:Damn. (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019176)

T-Mobile is happy with me using it.

Enjoy it while it lasts. *Cue Imperial March as AT&T logo rolls into view*

Re:Damn. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019224)

This is my favorite feature of my Nexus One. Just a few taps and it turns into a WiFi hotspot. This one feature has saved me hundreds of dollars on hotel rip-off WiFi prices. Nice also in the car to have WiFi for your passengers.

This is a feature of 2.2 (and above) unless your evil phone carrier disables it. (T-Mobile is happy with me using it.)

Nothing to do with the Nexus One, per se. It's just that the Wi-Fi tether option wasn't turned off by T-Mobile (unlike most of the other providers out there ... bloodsuckers.) My G2 had that option in the stock firmware as well (I'm also a happy T-Mobile customer, and for the same reasons.) And if the AT&T buyout goes through ... well, I'm going to be thoroughly pissed. Hey, even you folks out there that aren't on T-Mobile ought to be writing your Congresscrooks about this: ongoing consolidation in the industry isn't good for anyone, no matter what provider they are being screwed by.

Why the sensational title? (4, Informative)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018450)

Google Allows Carriers To Ban Tethering Apps

I beg to differ, and here's why.

Android based smart phone users are not prevented from installing tethering apps from elsewhere. In fact, one can [still] install them if on the Sprint network.

What Google has done is to 'comply' with Verizon's request to have tethering apps removed from the Android Market if this market is accessed by Android devices *on* the Verizon network.

This falls short of a ban as implied by the diction in the title.

Re:Why the sensational title? (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018560)

Why the sensational title

The 'i' in Android is not at the beginning of the product name.

Re:Why the sensational title? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019234)

Why the sensational title

The 'i' in Android is not at the beginning of the product name.

IAndrod? Hm ... sounds funny when you put it that way.

Great, then Apple never banned apps either (1, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018618)

Android based smart phone users are not prevented from installing tethering apps from elsewhere.

Nor were iPhone users before official tethering support was released. I had a tethering app I compiled myself, and any Jailbreak user could happily buy tethering apps as well.

Therefore Apple has never banned an app, since you can simply sideload it by jailbreaking.

Re:Great, then Apple never banned apps either (3, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018630)

There is a difference between jailbreaking your phone, and checking a check box.

Re:Great, then Apple never banned apps either (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018700)

And, as noted here, they're not even banned, just blocked for specific carriers. (Perhaps Apple did the same, I don't know)

Re:Great, then Apple never banned apps either (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019156)

Yes, Apple made the tethering a carrier-specific feature, so some carriers like AT&T block it without paying extra.

Re:Great, then Apple never banned apps either (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019238)

Interesting, where on an AT&T supplied Android phone is this check box that you speak of?

Re:Great, then Apple never banned apps either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018662)

The distinction is that, on Android, you can load up a tethering app without the need to install some shady jailbreak and compromise your handset's security.

Re:Why the sensational title? (2)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018646)

My experience is that Google's market restrictions (at least the ban on purchasing paid apps that most of the world is still subject to, a situation that leads to rampant app piracy on Android) are implemented by SIM card matching, not the network you are accessing from.

Re:Why the sensational title? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018684)

It's not a sensational title. It's a statement of fact.

Allows is the key word. They are ALLOWING not FORCING carriers to block tethering apps if they CHOOSE.

Re:Why the sensational title? (3, Informative)

MimeticLie (1866406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018766)

The GP's point was that the apps aren't "banned", they just aren't available from the official store. With an iDevice, you could argue that to be the correct terminology since you can't get apps any other way short of jailbreaking. With Android however, removing the apps doesn't mean that individual users are banned from using them.

Re:Why the sensational title? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019158)

But some phones can only go to some stores.. (at least according to the CNET video reviews I occasionally see.)

so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018688)

It is still evil.

Last of evils being bought by greatest (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018804)

But with the least of four evils (T-Mobile USA) soon to be bought by arguably the greatest of them (AT&T), what do you recommend that smartphone customers who value their freedom do?

Re:Last of evils being bought by greatest (1)

rnswebx (473058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019248)

In my experience, "smartphone customers" and "value their freedom" are mutually exclusive in the US.

Re:Why the sensational title? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019074)

For that matter, so far as I know, the ability to have carrier-specific app access control is not new to Android Market, either. For example, wasn't it that Skype was for a long time only available to Verizon customers due to an exclusive deal?

Well, either way, it still sucks. Just because Apple is worse is no excuse for Google to stoop that low.

Openness (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018466)

But...but Android is open!!1

Re:Openness (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018508)

It is. I can buy an Android device on any carrier I want from any manufacturer I want, and I can base my buying decisions entirely on whether or not a carrier has blocked tethering apps if I so choose. This isn't an Android problem, it's a Verizon problem.

Re:Openness (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018696)

What part of sideloading isn't open? And what part of the Market is open?

Re:Openness (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018768)

The Android Market is not open. It's somewhat tightly controlled by Google. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing as long as users have alternatives to it (that don't involve voiding warranties, etc).

Re:Openness (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018816)

What part of sideloading isn't open?

Having to register with AT&T as a developer in order to get the drivers needed to adb install an app.

Re:Openness (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018972)

What part of sideloading isn't open?

Having to register with AT&T as a developer in order to get the drivers needed to adb install an app.

Wow, that sucks. Good thing T-Mobile is not nearly so evil. Oh, wait [slashdot.org]

Re:Openness (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018974)

can you please elaborate???

Re:Openness (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019128)

There are two ways to load applications onto an Android-powered device without using Android Market: A. running an APK file with the "Settings > Applications > Unknown sources" checkbox turned on and B. loading applications over a USB cable with Android Debug Bridge (ADB). Option A requires that the device's firmware not be customized to hide the "Unknown sources" checkbox from the user, but AT&T has made the choice to hide it across all Android-powered phones that it offers. Option B requires a device driver that's apparently specific to each make, model, and revision of device. AT&T requires that one register with AT&T as a developer before it will offer drivers for download.

Re:Openness (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019208)

This is only if you buy the handset itself from AT&T, though. In which case you're already screwed, since they can (and will) fully control what you can or can't do with it.

As far as Android openness goes, my conclusion so far has been that only devices running stock Google software (e.g. Nexus One/S) are worth buying. With the rest of them, you never know if you'll ever get updates, or what functionality will be removed on operator's behest.

make sock puppets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018474)

they're fun to talk to when you're alone.

I don't get it (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018518)

What happens if I remove my SIM card, boot up my phone and get onto the Google Market using my WLAN?

Re:I don't get it (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018566)

Sim card? Not seen one of those in years.

Re:I don't get it (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018710)

Sim card? Not seen one of those in years.

So what exactly does your phone used to make calls? Pixie dust?

Re:I don't get it (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018874)

CDMA phones don't use sim cards.

Subscriber identity programmed into the handset (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018876)

Sim card? Not seen one of those in years.

So what exactly does your phone used to make calls? Pixie dust?

U.S. wireless carriers that aren't AT&T (and aren't about to be bought by AT&T) use CDMA2000 instead of GSM and UMTS, and CDMA2000 phones don't necessarily use a CSIM [wikipedia.org] . Verizon Wireless and Sprint have chosen to forgo CSIM in favor of a subscriber identity programmed directly into the handset.

Re:I don't get it (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018992)

Perhaps a UICC [wikipedia.org] , or he has a CDMA phone?

Re:I don't get it (1)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019014)

Many CDMA phones, such as those on Verizon's network, do not use SIM cards [wikipedia.org] . Their identification is hardwired into the handset, and cannot be swapped out.

VPN + tethering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018536)

I was wondering - couldn't you just configure your phone to use a VPN tunnel and then tether a laptop. That way there's no way your carrier could snoop on your packets. I was under the impression most phones support VPN tunnels, are tethering apps incompatible?

VPN + tethering works & why we like cryptograp (3, Insightful)

EnergyScholar (801915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018702)

This totally works. Yes. This makes it impossible for anyone without your VPN keys to inspect your packets. VPN is just an encrypted P2P connection. Carriers will not arbitrarily block encrypted connections. Ergo, this is technically how to overcome any attempts to block tethering by the network provider. If carriers begin to routinely block tethering, this is how the technically adept will respond.

Here is another example of why all traffic on the internet should always be encrypted. Should we fork the internet, this is how the new, forked version will have to work.

Re:VPN + tethering works & why we like cryptog (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018880)

MY guess is they start off with traffic analysis, looking for data patterns that look unusual for a phone. Once they have found that they have a couple of choices

1: just threaten the person immediately. Afaict most contracts have clauses that allow them to be terminated for any or no reason whatsoever.
2: dig in more detail to see if they can find hard evidence of tethering.

Re:VPN + tethering works & why we like cryptog (1)

t3st3r (1226232) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018904)

Except of course that it doesn't work everywhere. Two of the major carriers here in Canada (Telus and Rogers) block VPN unless you specifically pay for it as an addition to your data plan. If you don't have the option on your plan the VPN session will fail to authenticate with an error stating that the connection to the remote server cannot be established.

Re:VPN + tethering works & why we like cryptog (4, Interesting)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019142)

You just have to have the vpn server on port 80 or 443 and you'll look a lot like https :)

That's what I do to get on my vpn from the library.

Retarded (1)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018570)

My somewhat rubbish Nokia 5800 supports tethering via the Nokia PC suite on Windows or directly within Ubuntu. My carrier (Vodafone Australia) doesn't give a shit and has never given a shit about me tethering my phone.

WTF is happening over in the US? Will things ever get better (for users anyway) in the telecommunications area?

Re:Retarded (1)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018866)

We have epic greed here, is our major retardation. It's not enough to make money, you have to get filthy rich off of every poor slob you can. They will be down to charging us by the bit if we let them, and it looks like we will let them. They have all the guns, lawyers, judges and politicians. The USA is a new kind of political animal, it's pure corporate mercenary-ism. Freedom and liberty are a punch line in a joke here now. Only the truly naive still believe in the old nationalism fairy tales of "home of the free". Don't laugh, our brand of bullshit is coming your way soon too.

Re:Retarded (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018988)

My understanding is that the issue comes with smartphone plans that are either "unlimited" or have limits sufficiantly high (multiple gigabytes per month) that those using a smartphone alone are unlikely to reach them. The carriers have priced such plans based on the assumption that users will only use them to connect a phone. Tethering users are both more likely to be using a lot of data (much easier to use a lot of data when you have a laptop to hand) and are getting more utility out of the connection so the providers unsurprisingly want them to pay more. It seems to be most pronounced in the US but i've heard of it being an issue with some providers here in old blighty too.

Out of interest what kind of plan are you on?

Re:Retarded (1)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019068)

In the US, the carriers want to charge an arm and a leg for the privilege of tethering. I think that with Verizon, you are expected to pay an amount on top (~US$30) which is roughly the same as your data plan (so, $30 for my phone line + $30 for data + $30 for tethering, or so). It mostly comes down to carriers being greedy, as far as I can tell. They want to ban tethering except for specific phone models, and charge extra for tethering with those models.

Capped. (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018580)

With virtually all carriers capping virtually all plans these days, any rationale for preventing tethering disappeared.

Now it is simply GREED. They have special plans that add tethering. Therefore you can't tether for free any more.
They can't claim network impact. As long as you stay under your Cap what is the problem?

There is precious little data to suggest tethering users actually use more data. I know I don't. Sometimes I just want to
send an email attachment that happens to be on my laptop. Some times I need to SSH into a server and can't put up with
trying do deal with a command line task on that tiny screen.

But it seems the defenders of this clamp down all seem to be rushing to defending the carriers because the carriers
rely on the "over sell" of their bandwidth. Any user that approaches his CAP is therefore somehow stealing from
the carrier. (I kid you not, I've seen this argument posted [androidcentral.com] ).

But even to reach that level of gullibility you have to buy into the idea that people who tether use more data. But its just not supported by the facts.

The coming release of a flood of WIFI only tablets, with no continuing data plan for the carriers has a lot of people planning to tether these tablets for those few times a year when traveling where there is no handy WIFI. The carriers are trying to nip this in the bud, and they believe that every handheld device needs to have a carrier plan.

Re:Capped. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018828)

It's not just greed. I have no problem with greed, plus there is no realistic way to prevent greed on a macro scale. This smacks of collusion, which I am quite against. In a truly competitive market you would expect market forces to make things which cost virtually zero to provide to cost virtually zero. One major carrier would offer tethering for free and all the others would be forced to follow. For that matter, it is inconceivable to me that text messages are not free with any voice plan as they use so much less bandwidth. The stupid two year contract standard in the US allows all carriers to exert monopolistic policies. IMO this could be solved quickly if all carriers were forced to offer a la carte pricing and advertise how much that "free" phone costs over a 2 year contract.

Re:Capped. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019130)

Now it is simply GREED. They have special plans that add tethering. Therefore you can't tether for free any more.
They can't claim network impact. As long as you stay under your Cap what is the problem?

Dude, bandwidth consumed isn't the only possible rational.
There are lots of programs whose network behavior is exceedingly shitty,
but generally doesn't cause problems because your home router &/or ISP can handle it.
When you take that same behavior, multiply it by many more users, and throw it at a cellphone tower, it causes endless problems.

Remember when iPhones were being banned from college campuses because of a bug in their DHCP handling?
Or the various times the Telcos had to work with app makers to fix bad network behavior that was stressing cell towers?

I'm not saying that banning tethering is a good idea, just that "As long as you stay under your Cap" is an exceedingly ignorant stand to take.

Default Feature as a Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018608)

Very few industries have the sheer audacity to offer natural, built-in features of an electronic device that they don't have any ownership of as a service. Brah-vah.

I personally plan to sell as a service using chairs as mini-tables, car keys as box-openers, and toothpicks as appetizer handles. --So, if any of you think any of those are good ideas, want to pay me to be able to do them, and already own keys, a chair or toothpicks...

Android as an open platform is a myth (2, Interesting)

u19925 (613350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018620)

Android only uses Linux based kernel. How does it make it open. You can't update anything on your Android phone without the permission from carrier/manufacturer/google. Google hasn't released latest Andrioid source code, not that it would help user in any way. You can't use gps on Android phone without giving google all your location information. The truth is, apart from the fact that you can download uncertified app on google android, you can't do anything more that what you can do on competing platform. I don't think this makes it any more open than other offerings.

Re:Android as an open platform is a myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018716)

You can't update anything on your Android phone without the permission from carrier/manufacturer/google.

This is false. I can buy an Android device that isn't even tied to any particular service, and without the Google stamp of approval at all.

Re:Android as an open platform is a myth (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018792)

... and it is more than just the Linux kernel that is open (although not for 2.3 yet , and I would like to know what the hold-up is).

Re:Android as an open platform is a myth (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018980)

I can buy an Android device that isn't even tied to any particular service, and without the Google stamp of approval at all.

You appear to describe tablets running AOSP Android as opposed to phones running OHA Android. Popular AOSP tablets are made by Archos and Coby. Out of the box, they come with the anemic AppsLib instead of Android Market; anyone who doesn't want to depend on AppsLib and Amazon has to "pirate" Android Market using something like ArcTools.

Re:Android as an open platform is a myth (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019012)

True. As for what you can do with it, that is another question.

Re:Android as an open platform is a myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018748)

This is a public service announcement to readers of this comment. Please don't feed the trolls. Thank you.

Re:Android as an open platform is a myth (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018820)

If you own an Android phone, you should root it. If you don't, you're just using the crappy version of Android provided by the carrier. To fully appreciate the power of Android, one must completely control the device as it was intended in the first place.

Re:Android as an open platform is a myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36019050)

Hi, I use a cheap Nokia* 5800 smartphone and replaced my bootloader and OS flash memory image, and what is this "rooting" you are talking about?

* Sadly, Nokia is dead now. (And MS holds the bloody spoon ["Cause it hurts more!"].)

Re:Android as an open platform is a myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36019078)

This is the key to openness. Imagine a PC where Microsoft would say if you can install application X or Y. It would suck completely. It's the same thing for cell phones.
Having the freedom to install an application not approved by Google is the key.

Aiding and abetting evil (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#36018740)

It's not quite "being evil" but it's getting closer.

Sure, I know it's more about carries being evil, which they are masters of, but I would be more impressed with Google if they demonstrated a little more backbone.

Read about this a couple of days ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018786)

Is there a delay in here? Lately I've been reading stuff here that I read everywhere else a couple of days ago.

Re:Read about this a couple of days ago (0)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019172)

Welcome to 1999, the end times are almost here!

We're paying for the data... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018800)

are we not purchasing 5gb of "unlimited" data usage? Why does the carrier have any say in how we use it. and if they do have a say and are snooping packets don't they break the provider nutrality?

Re:We're paying for the data... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#36019026)

I think this goes to Net Neutrality. With Congress essentially killing Net Neutrality off the Carriers who also are big in the terrestrial Internet Space, can dictate what you use and how you use it. You don't have choice. These numbnuts will go to testify in congress and say how they're improving their networks and how their bringing innovation and jobs to the marketplace. Bullshit. AT&T is running ads about how they're improving their network and putting in new towers and... Bullshit.. it's all a bunch of marketing spin so that regulators will approve them buying T-Mobile. Here's what your wireless future looks like in the US.

AT&T buys T-Mobile
Verizon just gets bigger
Sprint chews up the rest of the market and eventually dies. Then there'll be two. Yes, we consumers really have a lot of choice when it comes to Wireless, don't we? No 700Mhz free spectrum, you can either choose from Menu A or Menu B and guess what they'll both charge you out the nose for Wireless Data. There won't be unlimited plans and like minutes, you can certainly buy a set amount for "less" but watch what happens when you go over.

Okay then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36018814)

Having been continually disappointed by Android, both in terms of the platform and the phones it runs on... Well, the fact that I could just hop on the market, grab a tethering app, and not have to have a nerdgasm rooting my goddamned phone has been the only reason I've been unhappily debating snagging another Android device when my contract is up this year.

Playing games with tethering? Great. Now there's no reason I shouldn't just get an iPhone.

Keep your bazaar and its ugliness and foul odors; I'll happily go order pizza from the cathedral.

urine bag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36019230)

I clutch my urine bag and dream of electronic urine transformation!

"Let's not be sensationalist here!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36019272)

Precious Android, and all of its defenders. Further proof Slashdot is now fully occupied by the cruft of the tech community.

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