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Windows Phone 7 To Natively Support Tethering

Ardjuna Seghers by

Windows Phone 7 To Natively Support Tethering

It has now been officially confirmed that tethering support will be a native feature of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, adding to other highlights such as Xbox Live gaming. Tethering basically allows you to plug your phone into a laptop or PC through USB or Bluetooth and use its mobile data connection, avoiding the need for expensive integrated 3G. While its addition was to be expected, it's definitely a relief to find tethering on an OS where basics like copy and paste are surprisingly absent.

Unfortunately it will be up to carriers whether to enable the feature, but at least the support is there to begin with. Microsoft is actually playing catch-up here though: the most recent revision of Apple's iOS4 already adds support to the iPhone 4, and Android handset owners lucky enough to be running the latest version 2.2 (or Froyo if you're more into desserts than maths) are also able to reap the benefits.

Palm OS and RIM OS were already on the ball for a while, and with Nokia's Symbian likewise offering support (and its future MeeGo phone OS looking likely to do the same), smartphone tethering has become a standard feature across the board.

It's definitely the way things are headed, all part of the glorious wireless future ahead in allowing us to keep our devices connected wherever we are. Do you use tethering already, and do you think dedicated 3G dongles and expensive integrated 3G modules in laptops might soon be a thing of the past, or are they here to stay with cool candidates like the award-winning Mobile Broadband MiFi E5830? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Go to comments


September 24, 2010, 4:46 pm

But still no copy and paste?


September 24, 2010, 5:07 pm

I'd hardly say that MS are playing catch-up on tethering, WinMo has supported this for a good number of years (something that I used on a daily basis for mobile internet access). Now, UI I'd accept as a major area for improvement, but having gone over to Android it's going to take something exceptional to win me back.


September 24, 2010, 5:47 pm

Overwhelming ambivalence, apathy and general disinterestedness ( is that even a word ? )

in Win7

Microsoft is a thought follower - not a leader - always have been

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish ....

Nicholas Name

September 24, 2010, 5:49 pm

Very sad to see Microsoft crippling their devices for the sake of some poxy UI 'improvements' to compete in the vacuous iphone/android image-is-everything market. I have relied on, alternately, Symbian and WinMo to provide laptop tethering since December 2004 when I got a Nokia 6630. Since then every phone I've owned has had all the abilities I expect of a smartphone, including the obvious copy/paste, memory card support, etc. For now, at least Nokia is prioritising useful features over fancy UI 'enhancements'.


September 24, 2010, 5:58 pm

and being blocked/overcharged by most network providers


September 24, 2010, 10:08 pm

I've been using tethering on WinMo devices for about many years, so MS is just keeping a core function rather than catching up on this specific point.

The absence of tethering (as well as multitasking and proper bluetooth support) is what kept me away from the iPhone until V4.x of iOS.

It's quite ironic that Apple caught up with WinMo from a functionality POV with iOS 4.1 (which brought up for the first time a decent BT support) just when MS is attempting to catch up on the UI front, at the cost of HUGE cutback on functionality (no cut & paste, no multitasking, loss of the huge existing software catalog), which means that it's now a good looking empty shell, just like the iPhone was when it was first released. Which also shows how late MS is in the game, and how unlikely they are to catch up for at least a year or so, at least from a power user perspective (I'm sure Facebook tarts will be delighted to show it off to their friends!).

I'm using tethering with the iPhone4 without any issues (I'm on 3 so even Skype is possible, there is no restriction apart from the generous 1Gb allowance per monh) but I sometimes prefer using internal 3G in my laptop as I can get better reception...

I miss a proper, unrestricted Wifi tethering solution though, like on Android 2.2 or WinMo 6.x handsets. If I had an iPad, the USB/BT tethering of the iPhone would be utterly useless, and that alone would make me consider Android over iOS (not sure WP7 offers it from what I read). Why should we pay for more than ONE 3G connection when the technology is there to allow my phone to provide occasional internet access to all my other internet-connected devices when Wifi is not available?

So USB/BT tethering is fine, but give us proper Wifi tethering (without having to buy a MyFi of course). One 3G contract is more than enough, as even £5/month is sometimes difficult to justify for an occasional use, and PAYG solutions tend to be economically unattractive (like £2 per day for T-Mobile, that simply stinks).


September 24, 2010, 10:31 pm


Seems that maybe tethering *isn't* supported after all ? The coffin is looking increasing well nailed.


September 24, 2010, 11:09 pm

Seems this might not be true after all:



September 25, 2010, 12:08 am

Turns out it doesn't http://www.engadget.com/2010/0...

Lets hope microsoft get on that WP7 version 2 pronto. Lots of catching up to do


September 25, 2010, 3:08 am

Well, it looks like MS will definitely lose all the power users to Android (or even iOS) then. They may keep *some* of their business users thanks to cautious or backwards thinking IT managers, although most of them have left for RIM ages ago.

So let's hope they'll manage to attract MANY new mainstream customers who will find they UI "new" and attractive enough and will blissfully ignore the lacking functionality.

Personally I think Apple managed to pull that one 3 years ago because no one was really using smartphones (when I tell iPhone users that Apple has finally caught up, they laugh smugly and ask "which function were you using that the iPhone couldn't do", as if no one ever used tethering, multitasking or bluetooth stereo headsets before September 2010. But we're 3 years later, and I think MS is way too late to the game. One step forward and two steps backwards simply won't cut it... Quite sad to see this really.


September 25, 2010, 3:45 am

Windows Phone 7 will be a failure. I can see it.

They really don't get it do they?


September 25, 2010, 3:07 pm

The success of the iPhone has proved that you sell crap products as long as you sugar coat it in eye candy and clever marketing.

Unfortunately, MS are mimicking Apple in many ways with this phone and while the first release might not be stellar there will be future releases that start adding in the missing features to great marketing spin.

I blame Apple and I blame everyone who has ever bought an iPhone. It's taking the industry in the wrong direction. I just hope Google don't follow.


September 25, 2010, 3:14 pm

Windows Phone 7 might be a failure, but Windows 7.? will be a success.

It will have better games than Android at launch, better music integration & Xbox live.

Also some of the hardware looks the same specification as Android so hackers will provide dual booting capabilities, though that should work both ways.


September 25, 2010, 10:54 pm


I think 'disinterest' would do it for you, mate.

Arctic Fox

September 26, 2010, 1:20 pm

I think that it might be a mistake to write WP7 off too quickly. I would be fairly amazed if MS did not have various "additions" in mind for an "SP1" towards the middle of 2011. Having said that, who knows? The smart-mob market is still to immature to predict with any degree of confidence.


September 26, 2010, 5:46 pm

@Arctic Fox, it may be a mistake. But I don't have much faith in a product that's two years too late.


September 27, 2010, 2:32 am


Heh heh - I think you're right :) I was clearly getting carried away with my own indifference to Win Phone 7 ;)

Having reflected the key clue to the likely failure of it is the complete absence of anyone going "woooo hooo - finally win phone 7 ... I can't wait ... it's gonna be super cool ... and I'm going to queue up until midnight just to get one"

Although with enough marketing dollars I'm sure Microsoft will be able to stage manage something :)

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