I've been using Internet tethering on my AT&T iPhone for several months now but I had my first business trip where I depended on it and it really performed. I was at Lotusphere 2011 last week and I have to say that the conference wi-fi overall was excellent. Much better than in past years and better than other conferences I attend. However, when I went back to my room at Disney's All Star Sports at night, I needed to get online and get some work done. Sure, I could have paid the hotel $9.95 a day for wired ethernet access but I'm already paying for a data plan on my iPhone. Apple makes it incredibly easy to connect and the AT&T speeds were averaging 1.5Mbit/sec - not bad.
I had my Lenovo X201i Windows 7 laptop with me (my favorite laptop for traveling), connected the USB cable to the iPhone (Bluetooth works also but I wanted to charge my phone at the same time), go into the network setting on the iPhone and turn Internet tethering "on." That's it! After a few seconds, a blue bar with the words "Internet Tethering" will display at the top of the iPhone to show that my laptop was connected to the Internet. I was able to start up my VPN software and connect to the IBM intranet.
I'm excited about the upcoming ability for the iPhone to act as a wi-fi hotspot. This feature should make it easier for me to get online with my iPad or Samsung Galaxy wi-fi only tablets. At this time, I have no plans to migrate from AT&T to Verizon. I'm happy with the AT&T data speeds and I don't need to spend more money for essentially the same phone on Verizon. I am, however, eagerly awaiting the new iPad as well as the new iPhone later this year. I'm also eager to get my hands on the new Motorola Atrix. And while I'm interested in the Motorola XOOM tablet, I'm not interested in the $800 price target. In fact, I'm not aware of any plans for a major vendor to release an Android tablet in 2011 that matches the Apple iPad's $499 price point. That should bode well for iPad sales in 2011.