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October 2, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

What do people look for when they buy portable computers? Datapro has been trying to find out, and the answer seems to suggest that there are many people out there that have had bad experiences, because reliability was far and away the top factor buyers consider in choosing portables, according to the survey by Datapro Information Services Group.Datapro says 72% of the poll’s respondents saidreliability was extremely important to them, and no other attribute – storage capacity, display resolution or system size and weight – received a higher response. The company comments from its base in Delran, New Jersey that Vendors are providing the functions and operating characteristics that buyers need: as day to day usage grows and users become more dependent on portables in their work, buyers will continue to demand that their portable computers perform consistently. The survey was conducted in June, and asked nearly 600 portable computer users to rate their systems on various features and attributes related to selection and purchase, usage and service and technical support. Reliability was extremely important to 72%; display resolution to 49%; disk storage capacity to 47%; service and support to 45%; price to 37%; warranty to 35%; weight to 32%; battery life to only 30%; upgradable memory, 30%; processor speed, 30%; memory size, 28%; display size, 28%; system size, 27%; upgradable hard disk, 22%; full size keyboard, 21%; built-in modem, 17%; expansion slots, 11%; number of device ports, 10%; integrated pointing device, 5%; and bundled software, 3%. The survey also found that 48% of the portables in use were direct purchases from the vendor, 32% were bought from third parties and 14% were bought mail order; 39% are maintained by the vendor, 30% by a third-party maintenance firm and 27% by internal resources. But people do seem happy – or don’t like admitting they made a mistake – 91% of the respondents would recommend the manufacturer of the portable computer they use; and 68% plan to buy new portables within the next 12 months. What do people use them for? Word processing, 93%; spreadsheets, 76%; database applications, 60%; financial and budgeting, 40%; portable-to-host connection, 34%; presentation graphics, 29%; applications development, 24%; sales management, 19%; portable-to-facsimile connection, 13%; inventory management, 10%; computer-aided design 7%, and other, 16%.

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