Forthcoming Windows Phone 7 devices are expected to have most of the required features of today’s smartphones—an application store, a 5-megapixel or better camera, a touchscreen, gaming—but there’s one it won’t have, and that’s tethering.
In the past week, phone enthusiasts were abuzz with news that the phones would allow tethering depending on the operator, based on comments that Brandon Watson, director of developer experience for Windows Phone 7, made during a podcast.
Turns out he was wrong. On Friday, Microsoft said that, in fact, Windows Phone 7 devices won’t allow tethering. Tethering lets people connect their phones to a computer to access the Internet via a cellular network, with the phone serving as a modem.
Lack of tethering will put Windows 7 phones at a disadvantage compared to many of the other leading smartphones on the market. Apple famously did not initially enable tethering, but after users clamored for it, the company added support for the feature in 2009’s iPhone OS 3.0 update. (iPhone service provider AT&T didn’t support iPhone tethering until earlier this year.) BlackBerry and Android phones also allow it.
Microsoft has been promoting the new phone platform as one that will turn around its flagging mobile sales. Early reviewers have been mostly positive about their experiences with demonstration devices.
The first phones running the new operating system are expected to become available in October.