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Verizon breaks your phone, charges $20 extra to fix it.

Just when you think “Hey, a feature I can actually find a use for”, your local phone company things “Hey, a feature I can find a price for”. Latest example? Verizon. Certain android phones sold by the company come with the ability to be used as a wireless hotspot, not unlike the iPhone on any company that doesn’t try and milk you out of every spare dime you can find–hi, Telus, nice to see you. Until recently, those phones could be used in that fashion easily, and freely–allowing you to take advantage of your cellular data connection using your laptop, should you have no access to a traditional wi-fi connection and need to make use of your computer for something net-ish. Fast forward to earlier this week. Verizon pushed out an update to those particular phones, effectively disabling that feature. Their reasoning? Now, it costs extra. Google’s apparently helping them with this, having agreed to remove apps from the Android Market that might make it easier to work around the partial bricking. You don’t actually own your phone. It’s a rental–a very expensive, non-returnable rental. You can thank Verizon for the reminder.

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