Survey: Wi-Fi becoming smartphone must-have

ABI Research says 74 percent of those polled with Wi-Fi-enabled cell phones take advantage of the connectivity, and 77 percent would seek Wi-Fi in their next phone.

More and more people expect Wi-Fi from their cell phones, according to a survey released Wednesday by ABI Research.

The survey was conducted in February, with more than 1,000 U.S. mobile-phone users between the ages of 18 and 59 participating.

A Windows Mobile smartphone with Wi-Fi connectivity. CNET

The results showed that 77 percent of people with Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phones are completely or very satisfied with their devices. Among those who have Wi-Fi on their phones, 74 percent use the feature, and 77 percent say they will also seek Wi-Fi connectivity in their next phone.

According to the study, about 44 percent of smartphones currently have the Wi-Fi feature. This figure is expected to increase to 90 percent by 2014. This is interesting, as almost 60 percent of those owning Wi-Fi-enabled phones have had their phones for less than a year.

These findings fall in line with a report earlier this year by the Wi-Fi Alliance stating that despite the economic downturn, the Wi-Fi industry would continue to grow. The Wi-Fi Alliance tests and issues the Wi-Fi Certified certification to ensure that Wi-Fi products from different vendors can work well with one another.

According to Edgar Figueroa, executive director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, since 2000, the group has completed more than 5,000 certifications of consumer and enterprise devices. To date, 311 handsets--including smartphones--have been recognized as Wi-Fi Certified.

Personally, I think that Wi-Fi connectivity is a great feature for smartphones, as long as vendors can solve the problem of the feature draining a phone's battery quickly. Nonetheless, I use my iPhone 3G's Wi-Fi features all the time--especially considering that my phone's 3G mode hardly works well in the San Francisco Bay Area.

How about you? Which Wi-Fi phone do you use, and how often do you turn the Wi-Fi feature on?

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.


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