It must feel good to walk around with a 3G cell phone and be able to access the Internet from almost anywhere, anyplace and anytime; I wish I knew what it felt like because I don’t have one. For those that do, I’m sure the last thing on your mind is turning your handset into a WiFi router for (optionally) anyone and everyone else near you to use.
PCWorld says that TapRoot Systems based in North Carolina has designed software it calls “WalkingHotSpot” which effectively turns a 3G mobile broadband cell phone into a WiFi router. When the software officially launches it will only be available for Windows Mobile or Symbian Series 60 smartphones, according to the company’s CEO.
A free demo version of the software is available to download but it only allows one WiFi connection at a time. TapRoot hopes that the full featured software will be picked up by cell phone providers but the service, if it goes that route, will not be free. TapRoot will sell the software to providers which will then charge users to use it (or not), in otherwords, it’s yet another optional addition to your plan that costs extra.
WalkingHotSpot supports almost any mobile broadband service but only phones based on HSDPA/UMTS (offered by AT&T) will handle both WalkingHotSpot and voice calls at the same time.
I’m sure that with the service, you will have the option of setting it to “private” mode or “public” mode which would allow passersby to make use of your connection. Let’s think about this for a minute. You’re using your phone to allow your laptop an Internet connection via its WiFi features (essentially, the phone is a modem) but the only use for this is “private” mode.
If you’re feeling generous then I suppose the “public” mode option would nice and make for an easier connection but I wouldn’t want every person walking by to make use of it.