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Tue 21 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Mobile lifestyle gains significant ground in Middle East

The benefits of mobility are felt strongly by users throughout the region according to a research survey published by Intel.

The promise offered by IT vendors to deliver ease of use and flexibility via wireless laptops is one that they have lived up to in the Middle East, according to research published by Intel. Users throughout the region believe that the arrival in the region of slim and lightweight wireless laptops two years ago has helped them significantly in accessing and using information in their day-to-day lives. A massive 88% of respondents identified the increased flexibility provided by notebook PCs in how, where and when to access the internet as a key benefit.

The survey was carried out by Paradigm Research in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the UAE interviewed more than 300 people from all walks of life. “The sight of people busily tapping on wireless laptops in places as diverse as coffee shops, hotel lobbies and airports has become commonplace throughout the Middle East. This study provides support for the view that users throughout the region believe that the mobile dream has become reality for them,” says Samir Al Schamma, Intel’s general manager for the GCC.

The survey was carried out in spring 2005 to coincide with the second anniversary of the launch of Intel Centrino mobile technology and reveals some interesting similarities, as well as some intriguing differences, among users of wireless technology in each of the three countries surveyed.

It is clear that technology has become very much a part of the fabric of life within the region as 68% of respondents say that they use their laptop every day. Just 8% say they used their computer once a week or less. When asked to comment on the benefits of using a laptop, respondents gave two clear answers — portability and mobility, which scored 78%, and convenience and flexibility, scoring 71%. “The compactness of wireless laptops combined with their long battery life and performance have been key in enabling the mobile revolution,” says Al Schamma.

Coffee shops and internet cafes (29%) are slightly more common locations for use than hotels and airports (both 26%), and are the clear favourite venues for accessing wirelessly. When it comes to being the top hotspot users, the UAE emerges triumphant with 29% of respondents using a hotspot every day. “What’s clear from this study is that people throughout the Middle East love the advantages of mobile computing,” concludes Al Schamma.

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