In coming months, the world's major PC makers plan to introduce a new generation of quick-start computers, seeing a marketing opportunity in society's short attention span.
SAN FRANCISCO — It is the black hole of the digital age: the three minutes it can take for your computer to boot up.
“Half the time, I go brush my teeth,” said Monica Loos, 40, who is starting a business selling stationery online from her home in San Francisco.
Now computer-industry officials want to give back some of those precious seconds. In coming months, the world’s major PC makers plan to introduce a new generation of quick-start computers, seeing a marketing opportunity in society’s short attention span.
“It’s ridiculous to ask people to wait a couple of minutes,” said Sergei Krupenin, executive director of marketing of DeviceVM, which makes a quick-boot program for PC makers. “People want instant-on.”
Most Read Business Stories
- 6 Dr. Seuss books won't be published for racist images
- Frontier cancels flight, citing maskless passengers
- Biden vows enough vaccine for all US adults by end of May
- Amazon sued by Black cloud-computing manager over alleged racial discrimination and sexual harassment
- The penthouse atop Smith Tower is on the rental market for the first time
Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo are rolling out machines that give people access to basic functions such as e-mail and a Web browser in 30 seconds or less. Asus, a Taiwanese company that is the world’s largest maker of the circuit boards at the center of every PC, has begun building faster-booting software into its entire product line.
Even Microsoft, whose Windows software is often blamed for sluggish start times, has pledged to do its part in the next version of the operating system, saying on a company blog that “a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds.”
Today only 35 percent of machines running the latest version of Windows, Vista, boot in 30 seconds or less, the blog notes. (Apple Macintoshes tend to boot more quickly than comparable Windows machines but still feel glacially slow to most users.)
There is nothing new about frustration with startup times. Yet it is a condition the technology industry — with smartphones and other always-on gadgets — helped create, said Gary Small, a professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“Our brains have become impatient with the boot-up process,” Small said. “We have been spoiled by the handheld devices.”
PC makers are not merely out to ease our data anxieties with the new machines. They want to help themselves, too. The industry has grown so competitive, and profit margins so thin, that each company is looking for any advantage it can trumpet.
Computer makers said the battle for boot-up bragging rights could resemble the auto industry’s race to shave tenths of a second from the time it takes a car to go from 0 to 60 mph.