This doesn't come as much of a surprise, but TechCrunch has reported that two of the hottest new features of Android 2.2 Froyo, tethering and mobile hotspot, can be included or excluded at the carrier's discretion. They asked Hiroshi Lockheimer, head of engineering on Android, about the issue and were told that carriers could identify if a user was taking advantage of these features if they wanted to. Also, we all know that Android makes it pretty easy to change or remove features (like in the case of AT&T devices being unable to install non-Market apps) or skin the entire OS. If a carrier didn't even want to give the user the chance to tether, it would probably be pretty easy to do.
TechCrunch went on to bring up an interesting point concerning "Google experience" Android devices: Could a carrier strip out the tethering and hotspot features or charge for them and still be able to call their Android device a "Google experience"? No one knows for sure at this point, and we'll probably have to wait until either the Android 2.2 update hits devices like the Motorola Droid or we see a phone come to market with Froyo pre-installed. What do you think the carriers will do? Share your opinion with us!