If you were paying attention to techie tweets yesterday, you might have noticed an amusing thing taking place in Apple’s iTunes iPhone Top Paid apps list. A humble 99 cent flashlight app bounded out of nowhere to the #4 spot. Why in the world, you might ask, would (1) anyone pay 99 cents for a flashlight app. And, (2) how it it be that enough people bought it to boost it into the top 10 Paid Apps list? The answer, it turns out, was that this flashlight app had a small highly desirable and undocumented talent. It could, in a fashion, provide 3G-to-WiFi tethering.
Now, don’t get too excited if you missed out on buying this app for 99 cents before it was pulled from the iTunes store. The app has quite a few limitations.
1. You cannot tether an iPad to the iPhone using this app because it requires a proxy setting not available for the iPad
2. My attempts to configure it to work with a Windows 7 netbook failed (I tried both Firefox and Safari browsers)
3. Attempts by a friend to use it with Firefox on Mac OS X failed
It did, however, work when using Apple’s Safari browser on a Mac running Mac OS X. The app, in other words, is not nearly as seamless as the Android OS 2.2 WiFi Hotspot feature. It was, however, worth 99 cents to take a look at this app and its hidden charms.