I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the best ways to see what forces are driving and shaping portable computer sales is to spend time at a retail outlet that has a wide selection of machines.
It’s just fun to watch consumers drift away from salespeople spiffed to direct a buyer towards a brand or model and begin playing with a notebook. In the “Store as an observation platform for consumer interest laboratory”it’s hard not to notice that people are interested not just in size but also in “heft.”
But the most interesting trend I see is consumer reaction to recently introduced keyboards with “island” style raised keys.
Anecdotally, I’m a notebook buyer who likes island keys. My hand seems to naturally arch over the keyboard—resulting in my making fewer typos and in having far fewer accidental incursions with a touchpad.
Island keyboards on notebooks is still an emerging trend and there are more machines equipped with less expensive keyboards than with the new components.
There may be no more important ingredient of a good user experience on a portable than the acceptance and ease of use of a keyboard, and that’s why I think Island keys are here to stay. And that’s a good thing.
So, come to the Islands, man. Your digits and hands will thank you—Jim Forbes on 06/04/2010.