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Use the iPhone as a broadband wireless card

By August 2, 2008apple

Picture_1A company called Nullriver created a $10 application that allows you to use your iPhone as a broadband wireless card for your laptop. Here’s the deal: Many people have broadband wireless cards so that they can use their laptops anywhere (more or less) that there is cellphone coverage. Sprint, Verizon and AT&T all offer these broadband cards, which you plug into a slot on the side of your laptop (either the PCMCIA or USB slot).

Problem is: the data plan for these things usually costs about $60 per month. That’s why people are were excited about the prospect of using the Apple iPhone to ‘tether’ to a laptop and surf the web at high rates of speed. And they’re also fearful that Apple and/or AT&T is going to put the kibosh on this (see update below).

I downloaded the Nullriver application and tested it. Totally amazing! And definitely gives you high speed access to your laptop. In my case I got about 650 kbps downstream and almost 200 kbps upstream. This is comparable to the 3G broadband card I have with AT&T. I’d love to cancel my broadband service and just use the iPhone, but that ain’t happening.

Here’s why.

First, the set up is really tricky. I ran into some problems following the directions that came with the application, but then I’ve never configured two devices to run a SOCKS5 proxy. How about you?

Once I set it up correctly it worked amazingly well, and I was momentarily (and delusionally) contemplating how I could ditch my AT&T broadband service. But then reality set in. The little configuration obstacle course is something I’d have to do every time I wanted to pair up my laptop and my iPhone. And then there is the issue of battery life. Using the iPhone as a constant connection will suck the battery life out of it faster than a pack of dogs on a 3 legged cat. And that would be a problem since I rely on the iPhone to make and receive phone calls. (I know, I’m a maverick).

Still, it’s nice to know that, in a pinch, I could use my iPhone to surf the Internet at high rates of speed. But, then come to think of it, it does that already doesn’t it?

Update: looks like Apple has once again removed the application from the iTunes store. So long little App, we hardly knew ye.


P.S. If you appreciate these kinds of observations, you might want to read this as well.

6 Comments

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  • phil says:

    only 4 out of 11 on front page are about iphone/apple

    CHECK YO FACTS

  • Aaron says:

    All of this information is well and good Ernie, but I’ve looked over all your blog entries visible without going to archives and it seems every one is either 100% about the iPhone or involves some signifigant iPhone angle. I understand it’s a dominating new technological angle you’re living with, but some people don’t even have iPhones. I just wanted to point out that you’ve changed the direction of the entire site to Apple, and mainly one of their products, instead of the law and technology, or really even any other technology.

  • rosalea says:

    There’s an article about chip wars on San Diego.com that says this:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Kedia, Intel’s director of global ecosystem programs in its Ultra Mobility Group, considers the iPhone the first good example of a MID. It demonstrates demand for the mobile Internet. But it also shows the shortcomings of non-Intel chips working with Web technologies called plug-ins, such as Flash.

    “If you go to YouTube, you can find 100 million videos,” Kedia said. “But go to it on the iPhone’s Safari browser and how many will you see? Zero.”

    When Adobe updates its Flash software, it works on Intel’s chips without modification. But to work on devices running on ARM chips – such as the iPhone – it requires modification, Kedia said.

    When Sony wanted to run Flash on its PlayStation Portable and Mylo, two ARM devices, it needed two custom versions of Flash, he said.

    “It’s not an overnight process to port these plug-ins,” Kedia said. “It took two years for Flash 9 to come to ARM. It worked on Day One on (Intel’s) X86.”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Is it true that you can’t go to YouTube on an iPhone?

    The article is at:https://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20080803-9999-lz1b3chips.html

  • thecolor says:

    lame… the N95 has had this feature for some time now and it works great! Uh, turn your N95 into a wireless access point using JoikuSpot https://www.joikuspot.com/

    Apple and the iPhone are so freakin’ behind the times!

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