If you travel even moderately for business, you can rack up wireless access expenses that top $100 per trip. If in the course of one day you connect at the airport, at the hotel twice a day, at a couple of hotspots, and then at the airport on the way home, you could easily spend more on one trip for Internet access than you do at home for a whole month of broadband.
The smart and mobile enterprise is looming just around the corner. In the emerging Smartphone society, cool will not have to carry a laptop at all. Newer device models from Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Research in Motion, and others cram access to e-mail, the Web, and ever-more business applications and company intranets in with the look and function of a cell phone. Never mind the annoyingly tiny screen and short battery life. With starting prices of around $200, every one's going to want to be smart while on the move.
The Smartphone market is booming. In the first half of this year, 38.5 million were shipped worldwide, up 75% from the same period last year. More than 200 million smart phones will ship annually by 2009, In-Stat predicts. Businesses and individuals are buying them, and Smartphone makers are blurring the line, pitching their products as "prosumer" devices for both work and personal use.
Wireless Internet access is a blessing and a curse to the business traveler. While you can be more productive than ever, staying in contact with clients and colleagues no matter where you roam, often you’re left scrabbling for a wireless access point. In airports often you have to position yourself just right to get a signal and it often is difficult to set up the connection. Once you do get your connection set up, the signal frequently fades in and out. Some hotels charge up to $12 per connection to use their wireless networks, and free wi-fi isn’t anywhere near the universal feature we sometimes think it is, especially in smaller towns and cities.