Tuesday, August 6, 2013

There's an app for that: Inexpensive hotspot for Verizon smartphone customers grandfathered into unlimited data.

If you are one of the lucky Verizon customers that have stood your ground and said "I will not upgrade into a new contract" and are grandfathered into unlimited data, there is an app that can turn your phone into a mobile hotspot without forfeiting $20 a month to Verizon. For a small endangered species of smartphone users (those with unlimited data), coming across a free wi-fi tethering app that actually works is like finding the Holy Grail of smartphone apps. FoxFi, available for Android users on the Google Play Store, can turn your phone into a mobile hotspot.  It is free to download but the free version does come with a data limitation usage. To get around that you can either close and restart the app (which shuts the service off) or pay a one time fee of $7.99 to the developer and use all the data to your hearts content.
In searching high and low for this type of app there are others that are similar but require you to root your phone. If you have no idea what the word “root” refers to, you can either A, click the little blue link above to find out or B, ignore it, and keep reading on, because it’s probably something you would not be interested in doing anyway. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say you’re going with option B.

So why would you want to do this.  Easy, data sharing on the go to your other devices.  Parents of young ones will find this especially great.  Imagine you are going on a road trip from the Northeast to Florida with your 5 year old and 7 year old. Depending on where you are starting from it can be anywhere from 15 to 20 hours drive. How do you help keep them from going stir crazy and making you yell "DON'T MAKE ME PULL THIS CAR OVER!".  There is the old method of multiple handheld DVD players that require you to pack dozens of DVD's and switch the discs out every hour to an hour and a half.  What if they had their own ipods or small tablets that allows them to watch TV?  What if you signed up for a free month of Netflix just before the trip? By having this app you can turn your smartphone into a way for them to watch kids movies on Netflix the entire drive down and back.  Throw in some headphones and you have peace and quiet for hours.  Maybe even days!

Now before you go downloading the app there is still yet one more catch, even after paying for the app.  Hopefully you will have read this before downloading the app but if you didn't, you can get a refund on the app by going back into the Google Play Store.  The catch is you have to have a phone that is compatible.  Click this link to see whether your phone is compatible with the app.  If your phone is compatible then awesome.  If not, that is kind of a bummer but the developer is always adding to the list so I would bookmark the page and keep checking back.

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