Wow-fi: Wi-fi is set to

: Wi-fi is set to explode past Starbucks thanks to a consortium called Cometa announced today by IBM, Intel, AT&T, and VC Apax. They vow to put wi-fi access no more than five minutes away from any major market. This means 25-50K hotspots across the U.S. (vs. the 2K T-mobile has set up in Starbucks and the 800 Boingo has). Cometa will resell its access to other ISPs (so, to start, AT&T business customers will get access to the network).

This will be big. It won’t replace cell phones. But know that as access to wi-fi networks increase, so will wi-fi installations in devices besides just PCs. Wi-fi will be built into PDAs, game consoles, printers, lots of things. Wi-fi will talk to other devices — for example, kiosks in stores, waiters’ portable cash registers, let the imagination fly.

How do you think wi-fi will spread? How will it be used? What benefits will it bring?