As the back to school shopping season kicks into high gear, look for OEMs to push PCs with product bundles and all kinds of enticing offers. For Apple, that might mean once again bundling an iPod with the purchase of a new Mac or MacBook, but that might not be enough. According to a new study by consumer electronics site Retrovo, college-bound students are less willing than ever to pay the so-called "Apple Tax" by purchasing a pricier Mac.
"While Apple has done well historically in the education market, 2009 marks the dawn of the netbook," says Vipin Jain, Retrevo CEO. "Students told us they wanted longer battery life, smaller size, and a lighter laptop. 58 percent of them plan on spending less than $750. Only 18 percent have a budget over $1,000."
It also isn't helping Apple's cause that "retailers are working overtime to attract students," such as Wal-Mart expanding its laptop selection by 40 percent and partnering with HP to make a sub-$300 Compaq Presario.
But take the survey with a grain of salt. While respondents were selected from a random sampling of Retrevo's 4 million monthly visitors, the sample size was only 300.
Many financial savants grabbed their crystal balls and went into hiding when the economy went into freefall. Now that there are signs of recovery, they are again gazing into their crystal balls with renewed hope. According to many of them, including IMF’s chief economist Olivier Blanchard, the recession is behind us.
Tech honchos now believe that the IT industry would lead the recovery. According to a survey conducted by KPMG, two thirds of the 130 CEOs that were surveyed believe the IT industry would recover quicker than the US economy. Furthermore, a vast majority of CEOs feel 2010 would bring glad tidings for their industry. One can expect lesser job cuts in the near future as more than two thirds of tech bosses are not too keen on cost cutting.
Perception is a funny thing. If you listen to Microsoft, Vista, despite its acknowledged shortcomings, has been a success story and the company has the sales numbers to prove it. But talk to the end users and you'll hear a very different opinion. The negative perception towards Vista remains so strong that thousands of XP users have continued to make do with a nearly decade old OS.
The good news for Microsoft is that those same users don't hold the same disdain for Windows 7 as they do for Vista, according to a survey conducted by PC World and Technologizer.com. The survey pinged nearly 5,000 Windows XP users to find out how they feel about their current OS, why they haven't moved to Vista, and what their thoughts are regarding Windows 7.
Over 25 percent of the respondents said they continue to use XP because Vista doesn't justify an upgrade, and out of those who have used Vista, over half indicated somewhat negative or very negative feelings towards it. Of those who have never touched Vista, about 80 percent said they have somewhat negative or very negative feelings towards the OS.
Those opinions haven't soured the perception of Windows 7. Out of those who have had a chance to play with a beta or RC of the upcoming OS, over 65 percent said they felt very positive or somewhat positive with their experience, and only about 10 percent reported feeling negative.
According to a survey conducted by the Internet and American Life Project of the Pew Research Center, the stereotype of a middle-aged white guy hammering out Internet addresses on his smartphone might not be accurate. Of the 2,253 Americans interviewed, African Americans represented the largest increase of those who access the Internet via a mobile phone.
"The typical early adopter of a dozen years ago was a white guy in his mid- to late thirties," said John Horrigan, associate director of the Pew Internet Project and principal author on the report. "Now you see the cutting edge in mobile Internet being populated by younger people of color."
Almost half of all African-American and English-speaking Hispanics reported using mobile phones or other hand-held devices to hop around the web or fire off emails, whereas just 28 percent of white Americans reported accessing the Internet with a mobile gadget.
According to Horrigan, the shift could lead to a new wave of mobile development "to serve a population that is much more diverse than a dozen years ago in wire-line access."
With all the media coverage and celebrity reception, you'd think the whole world was Twittering by now (we certainly are!). But surprisingly, a new survey suggests the social networking phenomenon has yet to catch on among the 18- to 24-year-old crowd who also have profiles on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.
"Twitter dominates the news, but clearly we're only touching the surface of its potential as a marketing vehicle," Participatory Media Network co-founder and chairman Michael Della Penna said in a release. "This is a classic 'glass half full' scenario for Twitter because it's clear that Gen Y has an appetite for social networking, but still hasn't fully embraced micro-blogging. There is a tremendous opportunity now for marketers to develop strategies to get this important group active on Twitter too."
Conducted by Pace University and the Participatory Media Network, the survey pinged the young age group and found that all but 1 percent had a profile on a social networking site. However, only 22 percent said they use Twitter. Of those who said they do use Twitter, the survey showed that 85 percent of them follow friends, a little over half keep tabs on celebrities, and 29 percent follow family members and companies.
New research from NPD and Nielsens reveals some fairly interesting information on how Americans spend their free time, and the results might surprise you. On the gaming front, 63 percent of Americans reported having played some form of video game within the past six months, while only 43 per cent admitted to having gone to see a movie in the theatre. This bodes well for the gaming industry which reported that consumers now spend roughly one third of their entertainment budget on games, which equates to about $38 per person per month on average for content.
On the video front, Neilsen has released a separate study that shows online video might not be as big a threat as the major TV networks are letting on. Despite the rapid rise in online video viewing, consumers on average only watched about three hours per month via the Internet. That is up an hour from the results last year, but still only represents about 1.1 percent of total video consumption, which is totally dominated by traditional TV.
The other interesting statistic is that when it comes to video, apparently we are now watching more TV than ever before. The average American now consumes about 153.5 hours of TV per month, which works out to over 5 hours per day. This study excludes non-legitimate video sources such as peer to peer networks, but includes numbers pulled from Hulu, You Tube, and many other online video sites. Want to read the whole study? Click the link to read the whole report.
Most enterprises have resolved to skip Windows Vista altogether. With Vista on its way out, Microsoft would be hoping for enterprises to upgrade to Windows 7 at the first given opportunity. However, Microsoft will have to wait as that is exactly what most enterprises plan on doing. A large majority of enterprises have decided against upgrading next year, according to a survey conducted by market research firm Dimensional Research.
Dimensional Research took the opinion of 1,100 IT professionals. More than 83 percent of those surveyed have no plans of upgrading next year. The ongoing recession and doubts over software compatibility are the main reasons why most businesses want to play the wait-and-watch game.
According to an survey conducted by the Computing Research Association, the number of majors and pre-majors in American computer science programs was up 6.2 percent from 2007. This marks the first time in six years that enrollment in computer science has increased.
"This could be a sign that we are beginning to make headway as well as increased attention, increased interest, and increased investment," said Andrew A. Chien, director of research at Intel.
Since the dot-com implosion starting in 2000, the field has seen a startling decline, leading some to warn about the effect it would have on the nation's ability to compete in the global economy. But in the past few years, there has been much effort to allay potential students' fears that computer science entails little more than sitting cooped up in front of a PC banging out code. That has helped lead to a 9.5 percent increase in the number of new undergraduate majors in computer science, and cut the decline in new bachelor's degrees from 20 percent to 10 percent.
Despite the increase, computer science remains of most interest to men, at least according to enrollment and graduation figures. Women accounted for a consistent 11.8 percent of computer science bachelor degrees in 2008.
PC gaming isn’t dead; it’s merely waiting for the day conditions are finally right for its return. Like Jesus! However, it looks like Our Lord and Savior (or incarnation of your particular religion’s greatest evil – you know, whichever) is posting a Craig’s List bulletin searching for a new pal for Friday night card games, because PC gaming’s “return” is nigh.
Finally, someone – in this case, fractiously monikered gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun – has conducted a semi-official survey of PC gamers’ buying habits. The result? RPS discovered that, of the 2,000 keyboard warriors interrogated, 93% have digitally purchased at least one PC game in the past 12 months, 71% bought more than four games digitally, and, through some flashy mathematics, that 47% of all PC purchases in 2008 were digital.
Assuming that RPS’ findings are more or less accurate, this means NPD’s figures would nearly need to be doubled before hitting the mark.
Despite a struggling economy, the worldwide PC market continues to grow, which is largely the result of mini-notebooks. The immense popularity in low-cost netbooks has also favored Intel, whose Atom CPUs contributed to record growth in the processor market in Q3 2008. But are consumers truly happy buying underpowered ultraportable PCs? According to a study by Biz360, an information-services company, customer satisfaction is falling short of the sales growth.
"The results of the analysis indicate that there is a lot of opportunity for improvement across the board for Netbook products," Biz360 concludes. "Netbook manufacturers also face a significant challenge with consumers whose expectations are based on years of desktop pc usage."
Surprisingly, Biz360 found that Acer ranks lowest in Net Advocacy (Biz360's proprietary metric that factors the positive and negative sentiment of individual comments), despite being the top seller in Q4 2008. Acer's Aspire one series had a 34 percent lower Net Advocacy than the average for all laptop brands.
Not so suprisingly, the number one complaint against netbooks has to do with performance, in which Biz360 found opinions to be "predominately negative."