Android 2.2 to feature USB + WiFi tethering as standard

Our motherblog, TechCrunch, found out today that the Froyo-flavoured (and bloody fast) Android 2.2 will feature USB and WiFi tethering as standard.

This will give users the ability to access their phone’s 3G connection by either physically connecting the phone to their laptop external-USB-modem-stylee, or over a temporary WiFi access point beaming out from within the phone’s magical inner chamber.

This is already achievable on any rooted Android device (I sometimes use it on my Android 1.5 HTC Hero just to feel special), but it’s good to have this oft-requested, rather practical feature supported out-of-the-box, without the need for any warranty-voiding rooting shenanigans (*ahem*) or third-party applications.

As the original post states, it’s unclear if access to this feature will be able enabled/disabled at the carrier’s whim (I imagine it will be), but — as a buhzillion rooted and custom-ROMed Android users have already proven — that fact is almost moot.

As it stands, I don’t know where the EVO 4G’s $30/month mobile hotspot feature will fit in once it receives its inevitable yoghurty upgrade. We’ll have to wait and see…

No doubt we’ll be treated to a few other features at the Google I/O conference next week, where Android 2.2/Froyo is expected to be announced.