Profit margins are getting thinner and brand name recognition has become increasingly important to consumers when buying a system, particularly, mobile systems. For businesses, there are two main ways to go about increasing net profits: reducing production costs and/or reducing operating costs. Keep in mind that often the traditional method has been to go about slashing production costs like price per component, etc.

Of the main mobile system vendors out there, there are three main companies that have high brand name recognition: Dell, IBM, and HP/Compaq. Of the three, Dell’s brand name has been renowned for providing great technical support at anytime, but this type of availability does increase operating costs since it involves more employees at work. So what are we poking at? Well, one of the critical points in operating costs is Return Material Authorization, or as some of us have grudging become familiar with, RMA.

Dell has really been the first mobile system vendor to provide purposely users the ability to service (not upgrade) their notebooks, albeit minimally (look at the Inspiron 8600 or the Latitude D800). Most of the time, system vendors shy away from providing this ability because they figure the customer will screw something up and cause them a RMA case. Not a good thing when you are trying to keep costs down.

Whether it is reducing warranty period (something that consumers definitely don't want) or creating a better/more hearty product, reducing the number of RMA incidents is good financial news for a company. Of course, creating a better/more hearty product is the preference between the two, but companies are often willing to settle for the first, since they can’t do the second. Though, let’s face it, no one likes dealing with RMAs.
IBM Hard Drive Active Protection System
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  • demonbug - Friday, October 10, 2003 - link

    What, no laptop drop tests? I want to know if it works! Reply
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 09, 2003 - link

    Well, unfortunately, unless it has either an accelerometer, it would not save anything should the notebook not spin during its fall (ie. drops to the floor perfectly flat, like when you drop, not throw, a book). Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    sounds interesting, but how much will this feature cost? Reply
  • OzzieGT - Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - link

    Well remember this is preliminary technology. I bet once they prove it works, tweak it, and have hard numbers to show how well it works, they can hard code the technology into a chip that can be mounted on the hard drive. Reply
  • Maverick2002 - Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - link

    agreed with #3.

    also a move like this would be very expensive (if indeed motherboard mounted). other features should be integrated along the way. what happens if the HDD just dies? motion sensor is no good then.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - link

    I agree with number 3, this seems like something that should be integrated into the harddrive itself, not the motherboard. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - link

    dell's CSRs suck. their payment ctr and cs don't communicate at all. this is the first time i regretted buying a dell. i hope this is just a blip in the radar for them, but i know a bunch of my friends who also are primarily dell buyers that have been saying that their support staff has been going downhill. perhaps they've been cutting salaries there to pay for those stupid commercials. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - link

    #2 I can always get another laptop, but that data on HDD can be irreplaceable...

    Carefully reading through this article (like reading the headlines and looking at the pretty pictures... ;) ), I get the impression that this technology is integrated into the motherboard of the laptop. If so it seems very backwards...

    The logical way of doing this would be to integrate the circuitry on the HDD. A couple of accelerometers cant be that expensive, or?
    Reply
  • Migroo - Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - link

    This is a good move... however whenever I've had experience of damaging a laptop, everything has died including the screen..

    It might save your data but if you drop it hard enough the laptops gonna die anyway :D
    Reply
  • Shalmanese - Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - link

    Damn, I was hoping for some info on the actual T41's as well but it looks like its just the same infor we got from the press release, albeit, with pretty pictures. That real time orientation thing looks like a cool party trick that could keep me amused for a few hours :).

    Apart from that, it looks like a moderately interesting technology but one of dubious value to me. I don't think I have ever damaged or heard of anyone damaging their hard drive with excessive usage. Perhaps people who are more unforgiving with their laptops might welcome it.
    Reply

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