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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 10:54 GMT
Wi-fi slow to enthuse consumers
Toshiba notebook
Laptops are no longer being used just for work
Most people are not taking advantage of the freedom offered by laptops with wi-fi built-in, a study has found.

According to a survey for electronics giant Toshiba, only a handful of people use a laptop to go online when they are outside of the home.

Just 11% used laptops in hotels, 7% on trains and 3% in coffee shops, compared to 55% who used them mostly at home.

There are over 10,000 wi-fi hotspots in the UK but not everyone is aware of them.

The survey found that 15% thought there were not enough wireless locations for them to use the technology.

Technology confusion

"Many users appear to be failing to capitalise on the opportunities presented to them through mobility," said Steve Crawley, head of mobile strategy at Toshiba.

The storage of music and photo collection has moved from the shelves of living rooms onto laptops,
Steve Crawley, Toshiba
"Consumers who are only using their devices in the home are missing out on huge opportunities to benefit from technologies which can dramatically improve their working lives," he said.

The survey also found that a core of users are still reticent about the technology.

Just under 20% of laptop owners said they did not know how to use its wireless functions and one in four said they did not want to pay to use a wi-fi hotspot.

Nearly 90% said the big disadvantage of wireless working was that it meant they worked longer hours.

The majority said their laptops meant they worked an extra hour or two each week but a fifth said their extra hours were as high as 10 per week.

Security concerns are still a worry for 19% of people, who cited this as the reason for not using wi-fi.

Digital store

Increasingly laptops are becoming multimedia devices, the survey found.

Almost 80% used their laptop for managing their music, photos and video collections.

Just under 40% stored pictures on their laptops, while 21% used them for downloading and storing music and 19% for watching films.

"As more people own digital devices such as cameras and MP3 players, the storage of their music and photo collection has moved from the shelves of their living room onto their laptops," said Mr Crawley.

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