Verizon crippling Droid features in Froyo update

Last week Neowin reported that Verizon had posted the instructions to update your Droid to the latest Android OS, Android 2.2 Froyo. With that update InformationWeek points out that Verizon will be disabling a couple of features on the Droid. The Froyo update will disable the ability to tether and the ability to create a Wi-Fi hotspot with your device.

The features that Verizon is disabling were built into Froyo to allow Android users easier access to the Internet from any device. Making your phone a Wi-Fi hotspot would allow you to connect to the wireless network being broadcast from the phone and use it for Internet access or to create a quick and mobile LAN between a couple of computers where Wi-Fi may not be available. Tethering would allow you to connect your phone to your computer and allow the phone to act like a modem to allow Internet access where ever you may be.

A Verizon spokesperson said in an email that, "The Droid by Motorola doesn't have [the] hardware to support a Mobile Hotspot. With tethering there is no Connection on the PC side that will allow you to tether the device so the answer is that option isn't part of this update." Though this is not an accurate statement. Droid users that have rooted their device, similar to jailbreaking an iPhone, have been able to use applications to tether their phone to a computer and create a Wi-Fi hotspot with their Droid.

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56 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

as it works with windows, companies should only be able to ADD their own software to the OS... not block them!!!!!

I find it quite ridiculous paying the full amount of moolah only to be able to use a certain % of it.

screw you comm companies!! that's one of the multiple reasons I don't have a cell phone.

Mouettus said,
as it works with windows, companies should only be able to ADD their own software to the OS... not block them!!!!!

I find it quite ridiculous paying the full amount of moolah only to be able to use a certain % of it.

screw you comm companies!! that's one of the multiple reasons I don't have a cell phone.

!!!! You don't have a cell phone?

Well gee, you're totally sticking it to the man, aren't ya. How's that working out for you, you self-absorbed "i'm entitled to everything" little git?

I've been a VZW customer for a long time and have enjoyed their service, regardless of the way they tend to lock down their devices. In this case, given that the firmware doesn't support the feature in question, it should be a non-issue. Now, if the firmware is updated and VZW still locks the feature or tries to charge for it, that is definitely something to complain about.

So Verizon is not giving users something that they currently don't have anyway without hacks? Why is this a problem? Its their network and they have the right to not support new features on old phones that are going to be replaced soon anyway (Droid 2).

***UPDATE*** "A reader reached out to us with a fantastic bit of insight: while the hardware in question (the Texas Instruments WL1271 WiFi chipset) is technically up to the task, the firmware that runs on said hardware isn't. Whereas the unofficial hotspot solutions utilizes Adhoc mode, Google's official Android 2.2 hotspot requires “Access Point” mode - something which TI hasn't gotten around to adding in any firmware updates. Verizon wasn't exactly correct in saying that missing hardware was the culprit, but it doesn't seem like their intentions were nefarious."

posted YESTERDAY from: http://www.mobilecrunch.com/20...ut-the-droids-capabilities/

After these news I guess I'm ready to embrace changing the original ROM on my phone. Any recommendations as to which one?

Oh wow, some of you are really moronic. I am a previous CST from Verizon Wireless. Verizon has allowed the most open mobile OS on their reliable network. First thing first, this is not possible for the wifi tether. (Wireless tether for root creates an Ad-Hoc type connection. Which means tethering to a PS3 or other systems that don't support Ad-Hoc are not possible) The Droid X has the profiling to do this. People complaining about a feature that can be unlocked in under 30 minutes is just retarded. Root your phone, increase battery life, increase speed, enable free wireless or wired tethering, Clean your phones cache with one button. There is many reasons to root your phone. And about the whole OBEX bluetooth blocking, that was done as a cash generator with Vcast. (It is a business model) And one last thing, AT&T is getting tighter with restrictions. (Like not allowing their Android phones to even side load apps.) People that disagree are just stubborn and don't realize that Verizon and Sprint are the only two networks worth paying monthly bills for.. Any thoughts?? I love stirring up trouble!

TeKNoTroNiK said,
Oh wow, some of you are really moronic. I am a previous CST from Verizon Wireless. Verizon has allowed the most open mobile OS on their reliable network. First thing first, this is not possible for the wifi tether. (Wireless tether for root creates an Ad-Hoc type connection. Which means tethering to a PS3 or other systems that don't support Ad-Hoc are not possible) The Droid X has the profiling to do this. People complaining about a feature that can be unlocked in under 30 minutes is just retarded. Root your phone, increase battery life, increase speed, enable free wireless or wired tethering, Clean your phones cache with one button. There is many reasons to root your phone. And about the whole OBEX bluetooth blocking, that was done as a cash generator with Vcast. (It is a business model) And one last thing, AT&T is getting tighter with restrictions. (Like not allowing their Android phones to even side load apps.) People that disagree are just stubborn and don't realize that Verizon and Sprint are the only two networks worth paying monthly bills for.. Any thoughts?? I love stirring up trouble!

If people were smart enough to read what you said, and what other blogs have said, then they would know this article has a major fault. I'm reporting your comment to see if someone notices it - not for anything offensive.

Pretty much knew this was coming.

They aren't totally lying either, while Droid X can run in infrastructure mode for wifi tethering it seems the Droid can't. I use wireless tether on my rooted Droid, and it's only ad-hoc which limits device compatibility. Not sure if the tethering built-in to Froyo was targeted for infrastructure or not.


Not allowing wired tethering is stupid though. Because the way it works in Froyo a carrier can still charge for the tethering, I don't think it does NAT (not sure though).

paid $500 for nexus to have all greatest and latest features to pair with tmo's $9.99 web2go unlimited data plan. how much did i just save?

leo221 said,
paid $500 for nexus to have all greatest and latest features to pair with tmo's $9.99 web2go unlimited data plan. how much did i just save?

A quadrillion dollars!

leo221 said,
paid $500 for nexus to have all greatest and latest features to pair with tmo's $9.99 web2go unlimited data plan. how much did i just save?

I paid nothing for my Hero, $55ish for my unlimited data plan/talk plan with Sprint. Rooted my phone. How much did I just save?

You have no idea

I'd care if I traveled more. As it stands I'm either at home, at work, or at a friend's house with a WiFi network. When the day comes that I'm stuck in some airport waiting for a flight that will never arrive I suppose I'll just break down and root my phone, otherwise I don't really need this functionality.

Although it does suck that Verizon feels like they can't just be upfront about their reasoning.

They also mentioned a week or so ago that the update was not going to include USB tethering yet the update i received yesterday contained the USB tethering feature.

roadwarrior said,
Why is anyone surprised? Verizon has always been guilty of disabling features on their phones.

EVERY carrier has been guilty of this. When you bring in smartphones that do so much, carriers want to keep them in check, and this is perfectly understandable.

Just like AT&T, Verizon can not handle the bandwidth usage... It seems like Android users will have to root their system just as iPhone users jailbrake it.

Euphoria said,
Just like AT&T, Verizon can not handle the bandwidth usage... It seems like Android users will have to root their system just as iPhone users jailbrake it.

Why would you even say this? Do you have facts to back it up? This isn't AT&T; I've never suffered throttling, disconnects, dropped calls, or any other breaks in service I've had with the likes of others. This is just greed, they want you to upgrade to the newer and better phone, one which big selling points is tethering (wireless).

Euphoria said,
Just like AT&T, Verizon can not handle the bandwidth usage... It seems like Android users will have to root their system just as iPhone users jailbrake it.

Why would you even say this? Do you have facts to back it up? This isn't AT&T; I've never suffered throttling, disconnects, dropped calls, or any other breaks in service I've had with the likes of others. This is just greed, they want you to upgrade to the newer and better phone, one which big selling points is tethering (wireless).

thornz0 said,

Why would you even say this? Do you have facts to back it up? This isn't AT&T; I've never suffered throttling, disconnects, dropped calls, or any other breaks in service I've had with the likes of others. This is just greed, they want you to upgrade to the newer and better phone, one which big selling points is tethering (wireless).

I don't understand, could you repeat that again?

thornz0 said,

Why would you even say this? Do you have facts to back it up? This isn't AT&T; I've never suffered throttling, disconnects, dropped calls, or any other breaks in service I've had with the likes of others. This is just greed, they want you to upgrade to the newer and better phone, one which big selling points is tethering (wireless).

I think one reply would have been enough....
Anyhow, Verizon are not stupid and they know as their customer base increases they will run into same problems that AT&T has ran into. Smart-phones promote web surfing video streaming and other aps and services that are using big chunks of bandwidth.
AT&T ran into this issue since iPhone was out way before Verizon got Android....
Now if you want to talk about the greed of mobile companies why dont you write them a letter about texting plans. It's the biggest rip-off of the century. Minimum bandwidth usage but premium pricing as you are using as much bandwidth as regular data plan or voice plan...

techbeck said,
Root your phone...problem solved.
Can you still root the phone after you've applied Froyo? I'm sure I read an article here on Neowin a week or two ago saying they were including an update to the phone's code in Froyo to disable the current method of rooting.

To be fair, I think both sides are accurate.. you CAN make a wireless network on the hardware it has, but it's not designed for it.. I'll bet just like with iPhones, when you turn it into a hotspot, it'll get hot itself quickly..

Ryoken said,
To be fair, I think both sides are accurate.. you CAN make a wireless network on the hardware it has, but it's not designed for it.. I'll bet just like with iPhones, when you turn it into a hotspot, it'll get hot itself quickly..

Designed for it? Hardware is rarely designed for all the possibilities that software allow...

That being said... I have been able to do WiFi hotspot on Windows Mobile since at least WinMo 5 via third party apps and the HTC Touch Pro (WinMo 6.1) officially.

So the hardware can do it as it isn't a new feature at all.

Frazell Thomas said,

Designed for it? Hardware is rarely designed for all the possibilities that software allow...

That being said... I have been able to do WiFi hotspot on Windows Mobile since at least WinMo 5 via third party apps and the HTC Touch Pro (WinMo 6.1) officially.

So the hardware can do it as it isn't a new feature at all.

Yeah I do the same. I have the Mogul and I just plug it in on long trips and WiFi it up. Can't remember the name of the program a.t.m. but something with a green wave-like logo and it has 5 different options for connection.

david said,
Why do they have to lie? Wow..

Misinformation, really. It's prob some idiot who has no idea what he's talking about just spewing whatever was fed to him. That isn't to say the guys making the decisions don't know, but I doubt the mouth piece is lying intentionally.

Does it even require rooting it to enable it? Could've sworn a buddy of mine was able to tether with his Droid without rooting it, just had to pay $10 for the app to enable https.

Mathachew said,
Does it even require rooting it to enable it? Could've sworn a buddy of mine was able to tether with his Droid without rooting it, just had to pay $10 for the app to enable https.

That is correct. You can do a wired tether without root with PDANet, but you have to have root access in order to use Wireless Tether.

I do believe, however, that the mobile hotspot feature of the Droid X allows for a more robust connection allowing game systems to connect, while Wireless Tether does not. Can anyone confirm this?

NeoandGeo said,

That is correct. You can do a wired tether without root with PDANet, but you have to have root access in order to use Wireless Tether.

I do believe, however, that the mobile hotspot feature of the Droid X allows for a more robust connection allowing game systems to connect, while Wireless Tether does not. Can anyone confirm this?

Could you not just simply flash it with the original ROM before Verizon got their grubby hands on it? I flashed mine with the original ROM before Orange (in the UK) messed with it, and I'm now using Froyo with all the goodies.