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Tether App Turns Your Android Phone Into a Broadband Modem

Tethering is awesome. It's the act of using your cell phone as a high-speed modem for your laptop. Alas, usually it involves jailbreaking or unlocking your phone, or paying your carrier exorbitant monthly fees.

Not so with Tether, an app that works like any other (i.e. no hacking required) and requires only a one-time payment. It's been around for BlackBerry for a while (it was previously known as TetherBerry), but the developers have just released Tether for Android.

For a very reasonable $24.99 (half the price of the BlackBerry version), the app lets you get online even in places with no Wi-Fi. You simply install and run the Tether for PC software (Windows), install and run the app on your phone, then connect the phone to your PC via a USB cable.

It's worth noting that Google's own tethering app (which carriers can opt to disable) is built into Android OS 2.2. Tether, on the other hand, works with OS 1.5 and later and can't be disabled by carriers, making it the ideal choice for phones like the stuck-with-2.1-for-the-foreseeable-future Virgin Mobile Samsung Intercept.

If you want to make sure everything works properly before plunking down your 25 bucks, there's a 7-day free trial period. I'm going to do some test-driving at this end (using the aforementioned Intercept), so watch for a more hands-on review next week.

In the meantime, what do you think of this option? Well worth $24.99, or something you just don't need? If I could get an iPhone version, I'd pony up the dough faster than you can say "jealousy."

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