PC Users Don’t Like to Leave Home Without It

How badly are you attached to your laptop PC?

Have you ever used it in front of the TV? How about in bed? How about wearing nothing but your underwear.

Well, Intel conducted a survey of about 2,400 computer users and found out some pretty interesting things. For example, some people have used their porta-PCs at weddings and funerals, in coalmines and on top of grain towers, from a Grand Canyon hiking trail, while riding a horse, milking a cow and building a chicken coop.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip making giant sponsored the “Laptops & Lifestyles” survey, released Monday, under the direction of The Brain Group and with the help of Harris Interactive via its QuickQuery omnibus service.

Ok, sure they found that 81 percent reported using their laptops in front of the TV, 60 percent in bed and 54 percent while eating. But 48 percent of people surveyed use a laptop while undressed or in their underwear.

And even more interesting, the survey said Americans use their laptops to be kind (helping a deaf man understand a church service), joyful (sharing thoughts from a wedding with those who could not attend), heroic (remotely shutting down an off-shore oil rig while escaping a hurricane), adventurous (with a GPS device to navigate a sailboat), heartless (breaking off a relationship), and funny (using speech stimulation software “to say silly things to my kids over the phone”).

But no matter how they use their portable computers, this smattering of users said they mostly felt “organized” and “connected” with a PC on their lap.

“The laptop PC has become an extension of ourselves, offering an unprecedented level of freedom while still helping people to feel organized, connected and in-touch with the world,” said Intel vice president, Sales & Marketing Group and director of Consumer Marketing Ann Lewnes. “No matter where our lives, jobs and experiences take us, consumers are increasingly turning to this one powerful device with which they can create, communicate, share and be entertained — anytime and anywhere.”

You can certainly see it in the way people treat their boxes.

According to the survey, 65 percent of those surveyed felt “it is too much of a risk to store their laptop at a coat check or as luggage.” More than one in four laptop owners (28 percent) claimed that their laptop was one of their “most prized possessions.” More than half (54 percent) regretted leaving it behind on at least one occasion, and 29 percent turned around to retrieve it.

Then there is the strange phenomenon about laptop envy. The survey said computer users have a strong curiosity about other people’s laptops. Admit it, you look over at someone else’s new Apple iBook, Sony VAIO, or Dell Insperion, and you wonder what they’ve got under the hood.

Almost half (46 percent) of all respondents admitted glancing at someone else’s machine. It was a more common practice among frequent travelers (57 percent), men (53 percent) and people under 35 (54 percent). While the majority (71 percent) looked to see the style or design of the machine, 31 percent were interested in the kind of work a person does, the person (19 percent) or the games they play (19 percent).

But with the infusion of PDAs, smart pagers and 2.5 cell phones, are the days of the laptop limited?

Not so says this survey. Ninety-one percent said that laptop PCs would remain “as important or become even more important” to them over the next two years. In fact the respondents said their “ideal laptop PC” would allow them to “surf the Internet wherever they are” (84 percent), weigh less (79 percent), provide better battery life (57 percent), offer the digital music capabilities (57 percent) or digital movie capabilities (56 percent) that desktop PCs now have, and enable them to play games with maximum speed and rich graphics (49 percent).

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