More People Access Wi-Fi Hotspots with Smartphones than Laptops

A recent article in the Hindustan Times discusses an important milestone in global smartphone use, as published in a report by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WRA). For the first time ever, smartphone users are outnumbering notebook users in accessing Wi-Fi hotspots 40 percent to 39 percent according to the data. Additionally, the study shows that Wi-Fi users prefer to use their smartphones over other devices, though tablet usage is also up to 17 percent over the third quarter of 2012. The move away from laptop Wi-Fi use to smartphone Wi-Fi use can be seen as a result of not only the ubiquitous nature of smartphone culture, but also the emergence of multiple Wi-Fi hotspots around major cities.

The trend of smartphone Wi-Fi use corresponds to the emergence of many Wi-Fi hotspots coming to parks, restaurants and transport hubs around major cities. Being able to connect to Wi-Fi in most cafés, pubs and eateries is now standard practice, as people expect to be able to perpetually connect wherever they are. While some cafés prefer that individuals keep their Wi-Fi access to a minimum, most have been converted to the idea that the longer people stay using Wi-Fi, the more likely they are to purchase more food and drink. Public Wi-Fi has therefore become a fundamental part of the mobile experience. This trend has a strong basis in the simultaneous evolution of smartphones, such as the BlackBerry Bold 3 smartphone, which are focused on quick Wi-Fi connection and instant communication.

Another reason why smartphone Wi-Fi use is on the rise is because of changes in the log-in process of public Wi-Fi hotspots. More Wi-Fi hotspots are doing away with entering screen names and passwords, a process which turns many people off due to the time involved and the need to remember a password at a later date. Entering this information can also be a drawback for people using smartphones because of the smaller screen. By removing this barrier to internet connection, more people are using their smartphones to connect to the internet.

Some of the most common activities of users on public Wi-Fi include checking and sending emails, using social media websites and engaging in online shopping. For instance, if someone is out shopping for a new smartphone, mobile phone use at Wi-Fi hotspots allows users to check multiple sources for the latest BlackBerry prices, checking multiple local and digital shops for the best BlackBerry price while they are out and about. This ability to quickly research multiple avenues of shopping allows smartphone users to ensure that they are getting the best price.

Knowledge of safety issues around public Wi-Fi is also becoming more important with increased public Wi-Fi use.  For instance, public Wi-Fi users should be aware that Wi-Fi hotspots are always unsecured. In other words, hackers may be active over the same network in order to gather personal information on you. This is the case even if you must log in to use the Wi-Fi. It is best, therefore, to not use public Wi-Fi centers to undertake personal or sensitive interactions such as logging into your bank account. Additionally, look out for your phone or laptop’s built-in security features which should alert you to nefarious activity. Don’t assume you know better than your firewall! Keep your passwords safe and secret, and always use common sense.

New Wi-Fi hotspots are a great opportunity to kill time, stay connected and use social media. In an ever interconnected world, however, it is best to use common sense, stay smart and reveal personal information with caution.