Tethering on Google Android without root access

So you want to tether your brand spanking new Android phone (Google G1 or HTC Hero or alike) but you don’t want to bother with rooting your phone. Bad news: you can’t (wireless), sort of – read on.

Well technically you can but it requires a USB cable connection to make the phone act like a modem device which Windows (or Linux) can then use to ‘dial’ to the world wide web. The HTC Hero comes with this functionality built in (it just requires some HTC drivers which even works on Windows 7, albeit with separate installation of the drivers as the setup fails), for the G1 and others you can install PdaNet on your Android phone to do the same.

So in fact you can tether your 3G connection to your computer using an Android phone, but you can’t do it wireless. Bluetooth is incomplete and as such wont give you a DUN device so no dice there. And for the wifi tethering tool, you really really need root access. Why? Because it switches your WiFi card in your phone from normal to router mode. This allows other devices to connect to it and use the 3G device as a gateway.

So why shouldn’t you root your phone (besides risking to brick your phone)? You can’t buy paid applications from the Android Market anymore. For some no reason to hack their phone, I prefer to have the option to keep using paid applications. Perhaps in the future I’ll try to root my HTC Hero and I will post my findings.

Update: I rooted my phone after owning it for a year or so and I was able to by and install paid applications just fine. I forgot where I read this tidbit of information but it seems to be rubbish – rooting does not prevent you from buying apps.

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