Do Users Really Love Laptops? Survey Says Maybe Not

By Charlene O'Hanlon  |  Print this article Print

More than one-fifth of all laptop computers will break down over the course of their life, and other limitations frustrate their users. From this list of user complaints come laptop opportunities.

It turns out that laptop users aren’t as satisfied a computing bunch as previously thought, and solution providers may find a new market opportunity in making them happy.

According to the results of a survey, "Track the Yack," released today by the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME), laptop users are suffering from a plethora of problems related to both hardware and software. Although none of the issues would force the users to abandon the freedom of being able to work on the go, solution providers may find a few extra dollars in helping enrich the laptop-user experience.

The survey found laptop users have five major complaints with their laptops:

Weight/Too Heavy. In sci-fi movies, computers are the size of a small book, unfold into a full-size system or are projected as holograms in front of you – all of which would solve the weight problem of a PC. Unfortunately, in real life, laptops still weigh more than a small dog.

What can solution providers do? Offer laptop options that help lighten the load, such as removable CD-ROMs, "mini" units or, when all else fails, computer bags on wheels.

Short Battery Life. Most PC batteries don’t last longer than three hours on a good day, and even less under more robust computing circumstances.
What can solution providers do? Luckily there’s an abundance of high-capacity PC batteries on the market–including a nifty solar-powered battery for those looking to go green–that solution providers can offer as an alternative, or in addition to, the standard laptop batteries.

Poor Wireless Connections. Finding and keeping wireless connectivity is a major concern for laptop users, especially those whose work depends on staying connected even when they’re away from the office.

What can solution providers do? Bluetooth is an excellent option for laptops that have a difficult time finding and keeping wireless connectivity. Adapters are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. And most new laptops come with Bluetooth connectivity included.

Unexplained Crashes. You know the feeling. You’re hard at work building a presentation on your laptop when, bam! You’re presented with the dreaded blue screen of death (re-introduced with Vista, thank you). Sometimes there’s an obvious and reasonable explanation, and other times it’s as though you’re being punished by the computing gods. But it’s not just you – according to Gartner, nearly one-fifth of all notebook PCs will break down during their lifetime, needing a new hardware component to fix the failure.

What can solution providers do? This is where remote monitoring can make sense for a company. While there are many causes for system failure, sometimes the answer is as simple as performing system maintenance, clearing the cache or reformatting the hard drive. Solution providers can offer remote monitoring as part of a managed service package that also can include PC configuration, remote support, reporting and, most critically, backup.

Repairs Are Too Expensive. In this disposable world, the prevalent mindset among laptop users is it’s cheaper to replace a computer than fix it. And depending on the problem, it can be true. But as more companies make the move to go green, more computers will go under the knife instead of into the garbage heap. What can solution providers do? Computer repair will be a booming business in 2009, as the economy and the environment force companies to rethink their equipment upgrade plans. Solution providers who offer extended warranties, repairs and repair plans that spread out the cost of fixing laptops will reap the largest rewards.


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