Search! What You See

Monday, November 23, 2009

1 in 3 laptops die in first three years

So your new laptop computer died in inside of a year. "I'll never buy a computer from [insert manufacturer name here] again!" I've heard the protests time and time again.

Yeah, maybe you got a lemon, but no matter which brand you bought, you truly are not alone in this situation: An analysis of 30,000 new laptops from SquareTrade, which provides aftermarket warranty coverage for electronics products, has found that in the first three years of ownership, nearly a third of laptops (31 percent) will fail.

That's actually better than I would have expected based on my experience and observations on how people treat their equipment.

SquareTrade has more detailed information (the full PDF of the company's study is available here) on the research on its website. But here are some highlights about how, why, and which laptops fail:

> 20.4 percent of failures are due to hardware malfunctions. 10.6 percent are due to drops, spills, or other accidental damage.

> Netbooks have a roughly 20 percent higher failure rate due to hardware malfunctions than standard laptops. The more you pay for your laptop, the less likely it is to fail in general (maybe because you're more careful with it?).

> The most reliable companies? A shocker: Toshiba and Asus, both with below a 16 percent failure rate due to hardware malfunction.

> The least reliable brands? Acer, Gateway, and HP. HP's hardware malfunction rate, the worst in SquareTrade's analysis, is a whopping 25.6 percent.

None of the numbers are overly surprising. As SquareTrade notes, "the typical laptop endures more use and abuse than nearly any other consumer electronic device (with the possible exception of cell phones)," so failures are really inevitable.

Want to keep your notebook running for longer than a few years? Ensure your laptop is as drop-proofed as possible (use a padded bag or case, route cords so they won't be tripped on, lock children in another room), and protect it as best you can from heat and dust.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The DSi grows up

Following rumours claiming that Nintendo was going to release a new version of its portable console, the Japanese manufacturer decided to act quickly to confirm the information. The new version is a redesign of the DSi model equipped with a larger screen. Fittingly, it will be called the Nintendo DSi XL.

The console will be available in Japan from the end of November and should reach other markets during the first quarter of 2010. It's nice to think that players on the move will be able to enjoy greater visual comfort, isn't it?

4G on the horizon!

We are marching slowly but surely towards fourth generation mobile telephony. This spring, Ericsson announced the installation of the first area of LTE networks in Stockholm. This name applies to the technology that will establish the specifications of future very high speed connections. The next step is now being taken with the development of USB devices to enable laptops to connect to the Swedish LTE network. That should be possible from March 2010.

The South Korean company Samsung is working on the project directly with Ericsson and will supply the accessories, which are being labelled as 4G. However, in reality it might be more appropriate to describe this technology as "proto-4G". Indeed, the real next-generation mobile network is not expected to come into operation until the end of 2011.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Microsoft CEO: IT spending won't fully recover

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Monday corporate spending on information technology will not recover to levels seen in recent years before the global economic slowdown.

"The economy went through a set of changes on a global basis over the course of the last year which are, I think is fair to say, once in a lifetime," Ballmer told a meeting of South Korean executives in Seoul.

Spending on information technology, which accounted for about half of capital expenditures in developed countries before the crisis, was unlikely to rebound fully because capital was more scarce these days, he said.

"While we will see growth, we will not see recovery," Ballmer said.

Ballmer was in Seoul to meet corporate and government officials and tout the Redmond, Washington-based company's new Windows 7 operating system. The latest edition of Windows, the software that runs personal computers, was released last month.

He said company purchases of PCs and servers were down about 15 percent globally.

"It reflects the fact that CEOs have much more tightly constrained IT budgets," he said.

Separately, South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics Co. said it will work with Microsoft to find ways to make computers more energy efficient.

The announcement followed a meeting between Ballmer and Samsung CEO Lee Yon-woo. The company also said it will upgrade its corporate PCs worldwide with Microsoft's new operating system next year.