July 6, 2010
Best places for mobile computing?
by Mark Tiongco – July 4, 2010
Are you a college student or mobile professional looking for the perfect go-to place to get schoolwork or office work done while being away from campus or the office? With the ubiquity of Wi-Fi, many retail establishments now are now fiercely competing against each other trying to attract mobile computing customers to their doors.
According to CNET, notebooks computers now have outsold their desktop system counterparts as of June 2005. In addition, the emergence of cheap netbooks in 2007 has pushed this momentum well into (and most likely beyond) 2010.
The Big Players
In this cross-examination, we rate each establishment according to several factors:
1.) Ubiquity – How convenient is it from work and/or school?
viagra 50 mg 5px 10px 10px; font-family: Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 80%; word-spacing: 2px”>2.) Amenities – Why this place and not its competitor?
3.) IT Infrastructure – Security and free?
4.) Popularity – How busy does it get?
1.) Ubiquity – Starbucks® is everywhere! The good news is that depending on your location, you can most likely find a store with Wi-Fi. According to MSN, SBUX boasts approximately 15,000+ locations nationwide.
2.) Amenities – The goodies at SBUX include a generous beverage and moderate food snack menu but can get expensive. Its locations are both extra large and small which means depending on where you go, you might be able to snag a small or large table.
3.) IT Infrastructure – Provided by AT&T®, Starbucks®’ Wi-Fi (As of July 2010) is now free. The main issue is that they utilize unencrypted 802.11g which they claim is to support a large variety of wireless devices, considering the fact that much faster 802.11n has been around since 2006.
4.) Popularity – While most people get coffee on the go, many students and professionals find themselves almost fighting for a table in many Starbucks® locations.
Barnes & Noble® Bookstores
1.) Ubiquity – B&N has a moderate amount of locations as each place is very large in square footage but most populated areas should have at least one available.
2.) Amenities – Books, books and more books! You can also find comfy couches and lounge tables for setting up your mobile office. You’ll also find an indirectly Starbucks®-powered beverage/snack bar.
3.) IT Infrastructure – B&N also contracts with AT&T® but has offered free unsecured 802.11g Wi-Fi for a while now as a courtesy.
4.) Popularity – Even though each location is huge, many book readers and commuters fill up the seating areas quickly.
1.) Ubiquity – Everyone knows good ol’ Micky D’s who was one of the first establishments to offer free Wi-Fi in an attempt to stay competitive.
2.) Amenities – Besides the obvious food choices, you’ll have to settle for camping out in their restaurant atmosphere. Power outlets are also virtually non-existent.
3.) IT Infrastructure – As with BN & SBUX, AT&T handles the free Wi-Fi with unsecured older 802.11b access which has been shown to drop signal.
4.) Popularity – While everyone knows McD’s is a classic for dining, you’ll have no problem snagging a seat to get your mcnugget on while checking email.
Mom & Pop Coffee Houses
1.) Ubiquity – These places will have a close-knit group of repeat customers and minimal locations.
2.) Amenities – Depending on the theme, some offer lush seating with big tables and a Friends’ Central Perk-type relaxing environment.
3.) IT Infrastructure – Most family-owned coffee shops should offer free Wi-Fi as a courtesy for commuters.
4.) Popularity – Mom & pop shops boast a more personal relationship and atmosphere with customers so finding an available seat could prove difficult.
1.) Ubiquity – These are limited to their respective cities so finding a location near work and/or school might yield a bit of a drive.
2.) Amenities – While public libraries are quiet and peaceful with tons of books for research (perfect for school/work), there are many restrictions. For example, most public libraries have limited hours of operation (especially during the weekend) and you can’t bring food inside.
3.) IT Infrastructure – Many public libraries have municipal free Wi-Fi but are most likely unsecured.
4.) Popularity – You’ll find a large and diverse group of people in a library, ranging from young grade school students to casual book readers so getting there early to snag a spot would be a good idea.