An application by Nullriver that turns an iPhone into a portable WiFi hotspot has disappeared from Apple’s App Store 20 minutes after being made available – only to re-appear hours later.

Once operating the app is designed to give Wi-Fi-enabled devices internet access wherever a mobile signal is available.
Until Nullriver’s Netshare’s brief appearance late on Thursday this feature was only available for jailbroken iPhone handsets – and in a more complicated form.

It is one of the most requested apps for the iPhone since it allows the handset to be tethered to feed 3G or EDGE network data to your computer.

However, Nullriver’s NetShare application, priced at US$9.99, appeared to have slipped unnoticed into the App Store without being picked up by Apple.

Nullriver seemed as mystified as everyone else by events. A spokesperson, who emailed, said: “We’re trying to get a hold of Apple right now. Until we hear from Apple, its hard to say what the real reason is, because, if it was AT&T, well, AT&T is not the iPhone service provider outside the US.”

A statement on its website was headed: NetShare, where did it go?
It continued: “We’re not quite sure why Apple took down the NetShare application yet, we’ve received no communication from Apple thus far.
“NetShare did not violate any of the Developer or AppStore agreements. We’re hoping we’ll get some feedback from Apple today. Sorry to all the folks that couldn’t get it in time.
“We’ll do our best to try to get the application back onto the AppStore if at all possible. At the very least, we hope Apple will allow it to be used in countries where the provider does permit tethering.”

Later on Friday, the Netshare app made a reappearance for download by direct link only in the App Store.
It wasn’t showing up in searches but was available if the link was known.

Among the theories offered about the teporary vanishing act were suggestions of legal intervention from telecomms companies.
Wireless carriers have almost always been opposed to tethering smartphones with unlimited data plans.

Some even state in contracts that if you tether a phone, users may be responsible for additional fees associated with the data that used.

It is possible, for an additional cost, to tether some phones, such as Blackberrys, but this hasn’t been an option with the iPhone.

One poster, Vega_man Dan, raised the question of how the Apps Store qualifies applications before posting them.
“This should never have been even accepted for consideration, let alone allowing it to go to sale,” he said.
“I do wonder if Apple is actually testing or examining the apps before posting them to iTunes.”

Until it was pulled, posters on various sites were reported that the application had worked.
Engadget did get it to connect, after a few minutes tweaking.

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