Over the weekend I had the worst experience that a geek can have, loss of broadband Internet access at my home. While I waited for Comcast to get the service restored, I decided to see what was availble for tethering my Nexus One with a notebook computer. I found two applications in the Android Market, PDANet and EasyTether, for tethering Android phones. Because EasyTether is cheaper ($9.99 vs. $23.95) I decided to give it a try, and you will find free versions of both programs in the Android Market. The free versions stop providing access to secure web sites after a period of time, but continue to provide access to unsecure web sites indefinitely.
To use EasyTether you need the program running on the phone and PC. When you first run EasyTether on your phone a wizard guides you through the process for getting it to work. In case you don’t have Internet access on your notebook to download the Windows version of EasyTether, the Android EasyTether wizard directs you to download the software to your phone, mount the phone to the notebook, copy the software to the PC, and install it.
I installed EasyTether on my Asus Eee PC 1000 HE running Windows 7, and though I did see warnings that Windows could not verify the drivers being installed, the installation went smoothly. After installation completes an icon is added to the system tray. To use EasyTether, connect the phone to the notebook with a USB cable, right click the EasyTether icon in the system tray, and click connect. EasyTether has an option to automatically connect whenever a device connection is detected. After the connection is made you will see a message saying that the USB transport is being used and you can then connect to Internet sites.
The speed of the Internet access depends on the speed of your phone’s Internet connection. When I tested the Internet speed using my Nexus One on T-Mobile I saw download speeds of just under 1 Mb/s and an upload speed of around 300 Kb/s, slow by home broadband standards, but probably fast enough for Internet access in a pinch.
EasyTether only works with USB connections on computers running Windows 7, Vista, and XP. A OS X version is promised as is Bluetooth support. You will find both the free and paid versions of the program in the Android Market.