Wireless Internet Usage Up… But Details Lacking

Lots of news sources are picking up on the story that an Ipsos-Insight study says that wireless internet usage rates are up 145%, but very few seem to be reporting on the details. Having more people access the internet wirelessly is not a surprise at all. Just look around at how much easier it’s getting. What I want to know is what they’re counting? Is it just access via phones and PDAs? Or are they talking about laptops too? What about people with desktop machines that include a WiFi card? Do they count as wireless access? None of the articles seems to say, meaning we have no clue what this study really says. The full press release indicates that the study includes both WiFi and things like mobile phones and PDAs. That’s good, to some extent, because those really are all “wireless internet” access methods. However, it also makes the study less interesting. Mixing them together to create a picture of the “wireless internet” doesn’t tell us very much. Someone accessing the internet via their mobile phone is quite different than someone sitting at home with a WiFi network. Considering all of the hype that’s gone into WiFi, I’m actually surprised the number isn’t higher. But, combining all different kinds of wireless data into one big number doesn’t tell us very much.

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