2006: A Phone As A Wi-Fi Access Point

Back in 2006, it was Nokia with its N80 phone that introduced Wi-Fi in a mobile phone to me. What is so  normal now was revolutionary and daring then and I wondered at the time if we would see software for such devices that turned the phone into a Wi-Fi access point. Pretty much unthinkable only five years ago as mobile devices and operating systems were pretty much closed to the outside world and Symbian was pretty much alone at the time (perhaps acompanied by Windows Mobile?) with multitasking capabilities for third party applications and a native program runtime environment.

In 2007, first things about Android were heard and I was once again speculating about the Wi-Fi chip being used as an access point. Here, my hopes were even higher as Android is even more open so more chances for third parties to do this, at least in theory.

Fast forward to 2010 and we now have Wi-Fi AP functionality in both Android and Symbian but not quite in the way I was imagining then. On Symbian it's a third party application while on Android, the functionality is directly built in by Google. That might have something to do with apps on Android running in a virtual machine which probably makes it a bit more difficult to get to lower layer functionality.

One thought on “2006: A Phone As A Wi-Fi Access Point”

  1. What really irks me is why this isn’t a standard feature on feature phones?! I’d love to have a trusty dependable 100 to 200 EUR Nokia and a large 4 inch or larger device that I use sparsely that I can decide whether or not I want to carry with me.

    It’ll run MeeGo or Android or iOS, whatever.

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