A 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.
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.