ADOTAS – Call me a snob (you wouldn’t be the first), but stepping into a McDonald’s pains every fiber of my being. Still, the golden arches is tempting me and many other web-enabled mobile device users these days after introducing free wireless Internet in about half of its 30,000 locations, a move that will help boost the number of free wifi locations in the U.S. by 15% in 2010, according to JiWire’s “Mobile Audience Insights Report.”
More than half of all public wifi locations will be free in 2010, reported JiWire, which has a registry of 289,000 public Wi-Fi locations across 140 countries and surveyed 2,000 public wifi users in December and January. The company witnessed a 21.9% growth in public wifi locations in 2009, with an overall increase of 8.2% in the fourth quarter. A big driver in this bump were free wifi campaigns sponsored by Microsoft and Google over the holidays, which saw hikes in usage at aiports by 26% and cafes by 22.9%
While the days of scraggly hipster types dragging their laptops to cafes for free wifi is certainly not over, 56% of respondents said they connected to public wifi using a smartphone or other mobile device and 14% said they used their mobile device as a primary connector to public wifi. Two of the top 10 mobile devices used on public wifi were not phones, but the iPod Touch and the Sony PSP.
While iPhones and iPod Touches remained the leaders in public wifi share by operating system, Android hopped 167% in market share. The iPhone OS actually slipped 2% in market share.
Excuse me, one moment — I’ll take a double quarter pounder with cheese (no pickles) while I check my email on my smartphone… Plus a Diet Coke — watchin’ the girly figure.