Android road warrior has phone, ISO connectivity

November 23rd, 2009 at 9:42 AM  2 Comments

junefabricsAs I stated in my previous post, I have left the world of BlackBerry and Microsoft Exchange behind and transitioned my e-mail, calendar, contacts, and mobile platform to Google Apps and Android. Doing so was no small decision, as my “day job” requires that I have access to all of these items and that they work in unison with each other, my desktop, my laptop, and that I have access to my data anywhere at any time.

I own an IT consulting firm, and as you can imagine, that means that I am not always in the office, and don’t always have connectivity available. With my BlackBerry, it was as simple as loading the Sprint SmartView software on my laptop (similar applications are provided by most carriers) and using my BlackBerry’s data connection. However, SmartView doesn’t work with the Samsung Moment, and Sprint has made the (poor) decision to do away with tethering or “Phone-As-Modem” options on their Simply Everything plans which are required plans for their smartphones. I speculate that their reason for doing away with tethering is an effort to drive customers to the increasing number of mobile broadband devices that they carry, including the new Novatel MiFi 2200 router, but I’ll save that gripe for another post.

So it seems that all is lost, I can no longer tether my phone to my laptop to use the data connection, and that’s a deal breaker. Weighing my options, door number one, I stay with BlackBerry and keep on trucking, but that’s not going to be a long term solution as Sprint will eventually drop tethering from my account. Door number two, I buy another device with another data plan, and I’m good to go. But why? Why should I have to fork out the money for another device, have something else to carry around, power, charge, and pay a monthly fee to use when I have a perfectly capable connection hanging on my belt, that I’ve been using for over a year, especially when I know full well that the only reason Sprint is making this change is to try to dig deeper into the pockets of smartphone carrying business professionals. Sprint, I’m still not against you, but I found door number three and I’m taking it (yes, it’s a line from National treasure).

One of the great things about the Android platform is the Android Market and the incredible amount of software that is available, more often than not, for free. One of these applications is June Fabrics PdaNet, a tethering application that is available for several platforms, including Android. Setup is painless on both the phone and the PC, but useage is a little different than what I was used to. The most noticeable difference, which I’ve already hinted at, is that you actually install PdaNet on both the phone and the PC that you wish to use it with. Once installed on both, you connect the phone to the PC via USB or bluetooth (Android 2.0 required for bluetooth tethering on the Android platform), launch the application on your phone and enable your connection method, right click the PdaNet tray icon on your PC, and select Connect.

That’s it, you are now using your phone’s data connection on your PC. PdaNet is one of the many applications available on the Android Market that provides a paid version and a “lite” or free version. The paid version gives you full use of your data connection, while the free version restricts you to http web access only. If you’re on the go as much as I am, you’re going to want the full version. The good news is that it’s cheap, $29.00 one time. I was paying an extra $15 a month for tethering when Sprint offered it.

This was one of the most crucial obstacles to overcome in order for me to be able to transition to the Android platform as a mobile business professional. Next time I’ll discuss some of the other applications and tools that I have found to make Android the platform for business now and in the near future.