Barbara on August 17th, 2006

This summer has seen computer battery recalls affecting consumers and professional users alike, and in record-setting numbers. One manufacturer acknowledged investigations were already underway before one of the incidents took place. Yet, I’ve found only one analyst group criticizing these recalls and advocating higher standards at the source: Ontario-based Info-Tech Research Group.

Most of the industry analysts cited in the media have agreed more or less with the official statement from the Consumer Electronics Association: “While the number of incidents thus far has been relatively low, Dell and its manufacturing partners have been incredibly responsive and are going well beyond expectations in this circumstance. While we can’t foresee any additional recalls of Li-ion batteries in laptops or other consumer electronics devices, it is heartening to see that our industry is moving quickly to protect consumers from even the rare circumstance that may result in hazardous conditions.”

The CEA statement goes on: “Given the number of Li-ion batteries in use today, failures resulting in hazardous conditions are extremely rare.”

Info-Tech Research Group doesn’t find the situation quite so easy to accept and is downright unwilling to describe recalls as an impressive solution. In June, these analysts called for the tech industry to fix such hardware problems at the source, rather than issuing after-the-fact recalls (here). This week, they reiterated their position (here).

Topics like convergence, infotainment, always on, and consumerization generate lots of buzz. Advocating quality does not. Yet, analysts can be powerful advocates for setting higher industry standards in product quality and reliability. Twenty years ago, analysts help pound PC manufacturers into producing fewer DOA units. Right now, analysts are making a difference as advocates in nanotech, privacy, and telco regulation.

Take Info-Tech Research Group to task, if you conclude that the known failure rates, reliance on recalls, investigation process, and timeline for manufacturing process improvements are acceptable.

Or, cut from the herd. Use this as a launchpad to reset the register for what’s “acceptable” in today’s high tech markets.

Reprinted from Tekrati

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