Setup, repair of smartphones, tablets still frustrates many

Some consumers just give up and call tech support

If you feel you are a lost cause at setting up and operating the latest tablets and smartphones, you aren't alone.

A recent survey from Harris Interactive found 27 per cent of digital device owners said it was difficult for them to set up the devices, and 25 per cent said they usually give up trying to finish the setup or call tech support for help.

When it comes to fixing a problem on a device, 41 per cent said they find it difficult, and a third (31 per cent) said they felt that their attempts made things worse, prompting them to give up or call for tech support.

About 34 per cent said fixing devices and computers is getting harder than it was in the past.

Most people encountering problems with setup or fixing a problem rely on family or friends for help, but 13 per cent rely on a third-party help desk or repair shop. The survey also found that the average age of the person who most often did the repairs or troubleshooting was 35.

The survey was commissioned by NortonLive, which offers a consumer-focused Ultimate Help Desk service to help support of home printers, Wi-Fi routers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. NortonLive, part of the security software vendor Symantec, sponsored the survey partly because of the flood of new devices hitting the market, including the Apple iPad 2 , which hits shelves Friday.

The survey of 1,019 U.S. adults over age 18 was conducted by telephone from Dec. 15-19.

All the major U.S. wireless carriers and device retailers, such as Best Buy, have customer support programs for consumer electronics, including smartphones and tablets, with most adding an additional service cost on top of the device purchase price.

NortonLive has a range of services on its Web site, including a $4.95 one-time Rescue Me service for PCs and an Ultimate Help Desk service starting at $19.99 a month for around-the-clock help with PCs, networks, printers, smartphones and other connected digital devices.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hardwaretelecommunicationMobile and Wirelesshardware systemsdesktop pcsPhonesmobilePCsHarris InteractiveAppleconsumer electronicssymantecsmartphoneslaptops

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?