With casual snapshooters opting more and more for a good-enough smartphone instead of a camera, it's not a big surprise manufacturers are hungry for ways to get point-and-shoots connected. Currently, that means putting Wi-Fi in and creating apps so you can connect your camera to your smartphone. And that's how we end up with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90.
It has a built-in 802.11n radio on the left side that can be used to connect to a Wi-Fi network of your choice, assuming the network uses WPS or you have a password; it doesn't seem to work with networks that make you agree to the service, such as those in airports and hotels.
Now, to use it with a smartphone, it seems like you need to sign up for a Lumix Club account, a new cloud service that allows you to upload photos taken with the FX90 to Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, or YouTube (no Twitter?). Once signed up, Panasonic gives you an iPhone or Android app called Lumix Link that lets you connect the FX90 to your device and then share your stuff using your wireless broadband connection. (Hope you have unlimited data!)
Wireless aside, the camera sounds pretty decent with an f2.5 ultrawide-angle 24mm lens with a 5x zoom, a 12-megapixel high-speed CCD sensor, and a 460K-dot-resolution touch screen. It also has a one-touch record button for capturing clips at resolutions up to full HD in AVCHD format.
Pricing and availability weren't announced, but I'd look for it by October to get in on the holiday shopping action.
Is it me, or does this tethering setup that requires you to sign up for an account to get an app sound like a hassle, even if it is just a one-time thing?