Despite the plethora of smartphones and BlackBerry-like devices now available, when it comes to working on the move, a laptop with wireless capability is still the trusted favourite for most people.
A survey undertaken by ZDNet.co.uk in association with market researcher Rhetorik Market Intelligence found that more than a third of respondents preferred laptops with mobile connectivity to handheld mobile devices. This is because the large display enables them to work with complex and detailed documents, including spreadsheets, presentations, graphical data or rich media.
The laptop fans also claimed they could access the same Microsoft Office applications and documents available on their office-based desktops and appreciated having a full-sized keyboard, which made the machines easy and quick to use.
When questioned as to their perception of mobile handhelds, there was strong consensus that functionality was not yet as good as that provided by laptops, while the high cost of airtime was offputting when using multifunction handheld devices in particular. Battery life was considered to be an issue when using both types of device.
"Users believe that the functionality of handheld devices is not yet up to that of laptops, so clearly the portability and convenience of these devices doesn't fully overcome some of the disadvantages that come with their size," says Rick Paskins, managing director of Rhetorik.
More than four-fifths of those organisations questioned said they were currently using laptops both within and outside the office, but a further six percent indicated that they expected to introduce them over the following two years.
The second most popular device, meanwhile, was the trusty mobile phone, with about one in five respondents claiming allegiance. Somewhat surprisingly, however, PDAs that included mobile voice, data and email connectivity were next in line with 13 percent of the vote. This was ahead of Research in Motion's BlackBerry device, which only 11 percent of the sample valued most highly, even though adoption levels are currently higher.
Some 44 percent of organisations have deployed the BlackBerry to date, with another 12 percent expecting to do so over the next couple of years. This compares with only 32 percent penetration for PDAs incorporating the functionality listed above, although another 15 percent anticipate going down this route in future.
Interestingly, the uptake of PDAs with only mobile voice and data connectivity (23 percent) was noticeably less widespread than those with only email connectivity (35 percent), which indicates the appeal of email as an application.
Mobile email is currently used by about 77 percent of the sample questioned, but future uptake is predicted to increase by only another seven percent over the next two years due to the maturity of the market.
Other Tier one applications, meanwhile, include voice (used by 86 percent of respondents now, although this figure should grow by another two percent by 2009), SMS (77 percent, with three percent growth expected) and internet access (73 percent at the moment, but likely to rise by six percent in the next few years).
Tier two applications, which were used by between a quarter and two-fifths of those surveyed, include personal directories, instant messaging (IM) and global positioning systems GPS. While adoption of the former...