Seems like there’s a bit of a fight in the free wireless market. Starbucks might be providing free wireless in all their stores starting July 1st, but Barnes & Noble is, ironically, throwing in free coffee to promote in-store reading — of e-books!
However, B&N’s free wireless promotion is time-limited. To get your free cup of joe, you have to show a B&N server some mobile device and that you’re actually reading an e-book on their software. It doesn’t even have be a B&N Nook device, since there are Nook apps for a variety of mobile devices, including Apple’s iOS devices, HTC smartphones, or even a laptop. On the other hand, Starbucks’ free wireless offer is permanent — for the foreeable future — and it will include free access to paid content such as the Wall Street Journal.
These aren’t the only companies who currently offer free wireless and other goodies, but they are two with big brand names. Of course, various carriers have their own free wireless access offerings in select locations of select cities. (Check with them to find out where. I have AT&T and Verizon service plans and I’ve never come across any free wireless access points — or at least not noticed. What about you?) As well, Google has it’s own wireless network as well. Of course, the wireless city, where you can be online anywhere you go, is nothing new, but it seems corporate networks will be more widespread than muni (municipal-run) wireless networks.