Review of Tether for BlackBerry Smartphones
Tether by definition is:
- (noun) a cord that anchors something movable to a reference point, which may be fixed or moving.
- (noun) an application that allows you to access the Internet on your computer anywhere there is cellular coverage, through your Smartphone.
Today, I will be reviewing the latter of the two, as I don't think anyone wants to hear how well my new surfboard leash (a.k.a. tether) has been working out for me. For those still in the dark...not to worry, just "hang loose for a minute" and I'll do my best to get you up to speed. Tethering, is the use of a mobile device, such as a BlackBerry, to supply Internet access for another device (i.e. computer), which is otherwise unconnected, using the Smartphone as a modem. This can be done through Bluetooth wireless technology or cables (such as USB). Now that the technicalities are out of the way, let's get to the meat and potatoes, or as we say here in the Islands...Fish and Poi.
I'm always on-the-go; brunches, meetings, conferences, etc. As you may have seen from my video, I work from a pretty unique office setting. At times, Internet connectivity has posed a bit of a problem. Due to my on-the-go lifestyle, I need to be able to "connect" from just about anywhere and everywhere. This is where Tether comes in. Whether I'm at the corner café or a remote beach location; as long as my BlackBerry has cellular service, I can count on Tether to keep me connected and "surf'n the web". Connectivity speeds are limited to your specific service provider's network, however, users have experienced download speeds up to 2,400 kbps.
Tether is appropriately titled, as it truly is a lifeline. During the holidays, I flew to Las Vegas for a business meeting, with the expectation of returning home for Thanksgiving. As fate would have it, I was flying on an airline's "buddy pass", which basically means ridiculously cheap airfare "on standby" status. Those who have flown on a ‘'buddy pass" know where this is going...you guessed it, my return flight was overbooked. Needless to say, things were not looking too promising for me.
As I was patiently standing in line at the airline's customer service counter, (which was swarming with an endless sea of people) an idea hit me. I could jump on my laptop and book a flight home on another airline. As fate would have it, the airport's Wi-Fi signal was too weak to make a solid connection. Now here is where it happened...
You could say I had a "CrackBerry moment". As I gaze at my BlackBerry, frustrated, there is was...the ever-present blue "t" icon (and no...it WAS NOT Twitter...but TETHER). I was relieved to see that oh-so familiar Tether connection screen. Within seconds Tether connected my laptop to the Internet, utilizing my BlackBerry's data plan. It took a total of about 5 min...I had "looked and booked" a flight home on an alternate airlines via their website. Though, it cost me 30,000 frequent flyer miles, it was well worth Thanksgiving back in Paradise. This would never have been possible without my lifeline-Tether!
Tether is available for purchase via their website or at CrackBerry.com for a one time fee of $49.95. This may seem like a hefty sum (at least I thought so) for a single app, however, if you compare airport and hotel Internet access fees today, you will find that an investment in Tether will pay for itself after just a few visits.
For those bargain hunters: NEWS FLASH... Tether went on sale last week for $24.95! I'll be crossing my fingers, hoping this review finds you in time to take advantage of this 50% off special. Too late???...not to worry, Tether goes on sale at least twice a year. I was fortunate enough to pick up my copy of Tether (back then called TetherBerry) for $19.99. Months later (in March), Tether offered a "Birthday Special" for $29.99, as Tether had officially turned one year old. In April, ShopCrackBerry.com offered Tether as the Deal of the Day for only $24.97 (50% off). For the conscientious consumer, I would wait to snatch Tether up during one of these "specials".
Upon purchasing this app, you will receive (via email) simple-easy-to-follow installation instructions. Set up should take no more than 5-10 min, depending on connectivity speeds. In order to use Tether, users must install the application on both their BlackBerry and their PC or Mac. Both applications are extremely lightweight. Tether only takes up 64KB, so BlackBerry bog down should not be an issue.
This app offers two ways to tether one's BlackBerry to their computer. You can connect via USB cord, or my personal fave...via Bluetooth. While the USB connection can be a bit cumbersome, it also provides you with the advantage of charging your BlackBerry while tethering.
I highly recommend that you add Tether to your arsenal of apps. It is a powerful business tool, and an amazingly useful and life saving application. I would compare the acquisition of this app to big wave riding..."Go Big Or Go Home!" Definitely a must for the traveling professional, savvy leisure traveler, or anyone who just wants to stay "connected"...from just about ANYWHERE on the planet.
- Utilizes your Blackberry's data plan to keep your computer "connected" from just about ANYWHERE on the Planet
- Blackberry to computer tethering can be done via bluetooth
- Easy to install, without the need for any advanced network configuration
- Good download speeds-up to 2,400 kbps
- Priced @ $49.95, this app boasts a hefty price tag (as far as apps are concerned)
- App allows your BlackBerry to tether with only one computer at a time
- Use with an unlimited data plan (NOT required, but highly recommended to avoid any data overage charges from service provider)
Now, should you still be a little hesitant about dropping $49.95 for this app... not to worry, you can try-before-you-buy! Tether offers a Free 7 Day Trial, that's right...FREE! After all, if you can't surf EVERY SPOT in the world...at least you can surf FROM ANY SPOT in the world! Drop me a line describing your Tether experience.
Tether gets "Aloha Joe's" 4 out of 5 surfboard rating.
** This review was written as part of the CrackBerry Idol 2010 competition. Click for details. **