Sony Vaio Z, Y laptops double as 5-connection hot spots

One more reason to travel with a laptop: Sony's new notebooks can share their Internet connection with up to five devices.


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.

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