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Lifestyle of Wi-Fi Connected Mobile Consumer

Some 34 percent of internet users have accessed the internet using a wireless connection either around the house, at their workplace, or some place else, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

In other words, one-third of internet users, either with a laptop computer, a handheld personal digital assistant (PDA) -- or in rarer cases a cell phone -- have surfed the internet or checked email using means such as WiFi broadband or cell phone networks.

Users of wireless access show deeper engagement with Internet related applications -- at least when focusing on two basic online activities, email and news. Among the 34 percent of internet users who have gone online with wireless connections:

- Seventy two percent of wireless users check email on the typical day, compared to 63 percent of home broadband users and 54 percent of all internet users.

- Forty six percent get news online on the typical day, compared to 38 percent of home broadband users and 31 percent of all internet users.

The differences between wireless and home broadband users are statistically significant and notable because most wireless users (80 percent) have broadband connections at home. The findings suggest that the "relentless connectivity" afforded by wireless access represents a different quality in online behavior.

It is possible -- even likely -- that lifestyle circumstances such as one's job may require lots of email connectivity and associated wireless access. But the boundaries between checking email on a portable device for work or personal purposes can be very blurry; having such work-driven access may foster greater frequency of personal emailing or other kinds of online activities.

Most wireless surfers connect wirelessly from more than just one of the places asked about. In fact, 25 percent of internet users have gone online wirelessly from two of the three places; put differently, three-quarters of all those who have logged onto the internet using a wireless network have done this from more than one of the types of places queried.

The growth in wireless networks at home has undoubtedly fueled the use of laptops to connect wirelessly via Wi-Fi around the house. One in five (19 percent) of internet users have wireless networks at home, which is twice the number recorded when the Pew Internet Project asked this question in January 2005, when 10 percent of internet users had home wireless networks.

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