TechCrunch is reporting that Android 2.2 (Froyo) will bring with it built-in USB tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot features. So you’ll theoretically be able to connect your Android phone to your computer and use it as a modem or, better yet, use it as a little travel router to share your mobile data signal with nearby devices (you can set up a password, of course).
The bigger question, though, is whether or not the carriers will allow it. While Google may be able to enforce the “If you use our operating system, you have to leave this feature in tact” rule, you can bet that the carriers, who have historically charged up to $30 extra per month to tether or turned off tethering altogether, aren’t going to be thrilled about their Android handsets providing such an easy, free, consumer-friendly feature. If Google’s able to strong-arm them into allowing it, though, it’ll be a huge win for Android.