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Google is expected to introduce the next version of its Android operating system for smartphones as soon as next week. Code-named Froyo, we’ve already heard some pretty cool things about Android 2.2. It will support Adobe Flash Player 10.1, and it could be more than 400% faster at some tasks. But now there’s another reason to look forward to Froyo. Word on the street is that it will ship with built-in tethering capabilities that will let you share an internet connection with a laptop over a USB or WiFi connection.
In other words, it will turn your Android phone into a sort of MiFi.
Android phones won’t be the first to offer this feature. If you’re a Verizon Wireless customer with a Palm Pre, you can already use your phone as a wireless hot spot. But there are a lot more Android phones on the market than there are Palm Pres at the moment.
Of course, it remains to be seen how many of those phones will be upgraded to Android 2.2 — and if wireless carriers will offer the tethering feature free of charge or impose additional fees to use it. But it’s still a pretty nifty feature that could theoretically change the way we pay for mobile broadband access.