It seems like the latest trend is to flaunt multidevice hot spot connectivity on your portable device. First came the Evo, and now Sony's new Vaio Z and Y series laptops will offer a feature called Share My Connection, an out-of-the-box instant solution for allowing others to hop onto a Wi-Fi connection. Even better, it can connect up to five other Wi-Fi devices (like, say, an iPad) at once.
There's nothing really new about configuring your laptop to share its connection with other Wi-Fi devices, but most people don't know how to do it. Now, you may be wondering: If there's a Wi-Fi signal in the room that the Vaio is connecting to, why not connect the Wi-Fi iPad/other gadget directly? Tethering does makes a lot more sense when it's a 3G-to-Wi-Fi solution. Still, these Vaios could be a boon for offices with Ethernet-only connections or hotel rooms with shoddy Wi-Fi that might charge access per device. (UPDATE: although unexplained in Sony's original press release, the service is actually only available to those who configure their Y or Z with 3G service from Verizon Mobile Broadband. It's essentially subscription-based 3G hotspot sharing, like a MiFi, except built into the Vaio with an opt-in subscription cost. It's not a means of sharing an Ethernet internet connection.)
Vaio Y and Z laptops have 13-inch screens and are the most portable Sony notebooks outside of their W Netbook line and their miniature Ps. Unfortunately, these Vaios start pricey ($770 for the Y series and $1,950 for the Z series), and Share My Connection is a subscription-based service. At any price, Share My Connection might be too expensive for most users to consider unless they didn't already own a wireless router. However, it could conceivably be used to replace one's home internet service. Share My Connection will be available on Sony's laptops starting June 20.