Harvey Norman bundles free hotspot access with notebooks

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Mass market retailer Harvey Norman has started selling all its Intel Centrino-bundled notebooks with five free hours of SkyNetGlobal wi-fi access.

Mass market retailer Harvey Norman has started selling all its Intel Centrino-bundled notebooks with five free hours of SkyNetGlobal wi-fi access.

Colin Wright, national product and marketing manager at Harvey Norman, said combining wireless access services with the mobility-focused Centrino notebook bundle would whip up demand for both offerings. The offer would stay open for three months.

"More computers are being shipped with Intel's Centrino technology as standard equipment, which means the demand for use of public wi-fi hotspots, including airport lounges, hotels, convention centres and cafes, is likely to grow at an even faster rate," he said.

Travellers that had used wireless communications tended to value it greatly, Wright claimed.

SkyNetGlobal's wireless broadband service is 802.11b-compatible and allows users to access 160 hotspots in Australia and some 2,500 hotspots globally.

Jonathan Soon, CEO at SkyNetGlobal, said the offer was an "ideal" introduction to wireless access for notebook users.

"SkyNetGlobal expects to gain many new long-term customers as a result of this promotion," he said.

Soon said the general public would start using hotspots shortly so initiatives involving major players such as chipmaker Intel were sure to drive up demand.

Phillip Dows, national marketing manager for Australia and New Zealand at Intel, said wireless access was a great 'value-add' for laptop buyers.

The Intel Centrino bundle includes a specialised mobile processor, related chipsets and 802.11 compatible wireless networking capability.

Intel maintains that the bundle enables extended battery life, thinner and lighter notebook designs and improved mobile performance -- all bugbears in creating increasingly portable computers.

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