Last week during a TWiT podcast, Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7, said that WP7-equipped devices would offer tethering support, depending on the carrier. Tethering allows users to connect the smartphone to a PC or other supporting USB-based device in order to access its wireless network, using the smartphone as an external modem.
But that has since changed, as a statement released by Microsoft on Friday indicated that Windows Phone 7 will not support tethering after all. In fact, the company would not indicate that the feature would or would not be included in future builds of its new mobile OS. Currently Palm, Android and Blackberry support tethering, and AT&T just recently added tethering support to its network for iOS3 iPhones here in the U.S.
Last week also brought reports that Windows Phone 7 devices would not appear on CDMA carriers such as Verizon and Sprint until the first half of 2011. "We had to make some trade-offs," senior product manager Greg Sullivan said. "Even Microsoft doesn't have unlimited resources. We had to prioritize doing fewer things, really, really well."
In addition to its GSM-only status at launch, Windows Phone 7 will also lack features supported by other platforms including replaceable memory cards, copy/paste functionality, full third-party multitasking, and now tethering. The first wave of Windows Phone 7 devices are expected to launch sometime in October.