Is MyTether a Black-Eye for Homebrew?

Last week, myTether released an update to their application that added support for Verizon’s new Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus. For those unfamiliar with the app, it allows you to utilize your Palm Pre Plus or Palm Pixi Plus as a wireless modem, allowing you to use your webOS device to connect a laptop to the Internet.


While this application has been available for Sprint phones, the latest version competes directly with Palm’s own Mobile Hotspot and more importantly Verizon’s $30 per month service. One of the impressive features of the new webOS devices has been their ability to transform into a personal MiFi. The myTether homebrew app requires a donation of $14.95. No reoccurring monthly fees and it provides the same feature.

Palm has been very supportive of homebrew and to date, updates to webOS haven’t slowed the movement. In many ways, the homebrew developer community has been a breeding ground for applications, many of which graduate from PreCentral’s Homebrew App Gallery to the Official App Catalog. Homebrew is the minor league for apps before busting into the majors. It’s allowed developers to test their applications, while end users get the benefit of free software, understanding that apps in this phase are in beta. myTether would never be accepted into the App Catalog, since it’s a drain on network resources and wireless providers are not being paid for service. When you contract for unlimited data plan on your phone, the wireless company does not expect that you’ll be using large chunks of data associated with laptop use.


In the short time it’s been around, the Homebrew developer community has made remarkable strides and have established standards and proper protocols for developers when creating their apps. myTether has drawn criticism for it’s installation practices, sometimes disrupting core webOS functionality. From personal experience, I’ve used myTether and it disabled my camera. I opted for a Verizon MiFi and a stable phone.  The developer has reportedly addressed those issues with it’s latest version. Preware’s Rod Whitby recently reviewed the application and surmised.

So, in summary, again with regard specifically to the installation, non-interference, and security aspects of MyTether, it seems that version 2.1.0 has now reached the point where it should safely install and uninstall in accordance with homebrew best practices, not interfere with other unrelated webOS functions, and not trivially compromise the security of the device.

It appears that Aonic now conforms to the best practices of the homebrew developer community, which is great for all parties involved, most importantly those installing homebrew apps. Unfortunately, myTether is also also a prime example of why companies such as Apple lock down their platform. One could argue that Palm’s MobileHotspot for Verizon webOS devices is the killer feature available on Palm webOS devices or any phones on the Verizon network. For Verizon, it’s about plans — voice, data and MobileHotspot requires a $30 a month plan. Over two years, that’s $720. The homebrew alternative is $14.95. Verizon cannot be pleased, but what’s their recourse and how will this affect Homebrew going forward?


  1. I think that VZN will be pissed, as usual. ANYone who has used them will know that they are the most controlling in regards to what their phones are allowed to do on their network.

    Truthfully, they can stuff it. I was glad to leave them and their nickel and dime-ing for sprint.

  2. If VZW or Sprint offered a way for me to occasionally tether w/out a recurring monthly cost I’d probably pay it. But $30/mo for something I’ll use less than once per month? I don’t think so. Charge me $1 per day only on the days I need it and I stop using My Tether.

  3. I think Verizon AND Sprint need to wake up and allow us to tether without having to pay outrageous additional fees.

    We already pay for Internet access on the phone. Why should it cost more just because it’s used through a laptop? Packets are packets, bytes are bytes.

    Impose a monthly transfer limit if necessary, but providers really should stop differentiating between packets used by one device and packets used by another.

    That’s why many of us feel justified using apps like MyTether. We’re not really “stealing” anything; we’re just using the same bandwidth to view that website on our laptop instead of the phone itself.

  4. Here is how I think this will go down:
    1) Verizon blames myTether for poor MiFi sales.
    a) Ignore poor Pre sales numbers and the user base they are selling too (Moms).
    2) Verizon threatens Palm with yanking Pre+ from sales floors
    3) Palm asks myTether to stop
    4) Nothing changes
    5) Blogs loyal to Palm such as everythingpre and precentral begin hammering/questioning myTether in blog posts.
    6) The community begins dividing into pirates and ninjas
    7) Situation turns into a something only Chuck Norris can solve, to bad Chuck Norris’ beard is the ultimate smart phone so why would he care about the Pre’s situation.

  5. Andrew Yeager-Buckley says:

    I don’t think sprint will shut down homebrew apps. The percentage of Pre users that have actually taken the time to install homebrew apps is probably pretty small. Out of 5 friends with a pre I’m the only one that’s taken the time to figure it out.

  6. yea i installed preware on 6 of my friends pre’s and all 6 dont update unless i tell them to. i dont think most pre owners are using mytether.. its just like jail-broken iphones.. they sell 1 million maybe 15 % max may actually jailbrek their phones

  7. I second mdizzle(great name) and Andrew Yeager-Buckley.

    Most people who are buing a Pre or Pixi on verizon will not install homebrew apps. They are probably not very tech savvy but like the Webos because its like the iPhone. These users can get the smooth and easy UI experience but stay on Verizon (minus thousands of apps that the iphone has, lol).

    Verizon wont care because the Homebrew users probably make up less than 5% if not less than 1% of users.

    The homebrew community is a great enthusiast community to test apps. It allows the tech savvy members to play with new software that not available through Palm. It also gives non-Homebrew apps users stable apps that have been tested in the homebrew community.

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