Dear manufacturers, we don't need those darned stickers on Windows tablets

When I was a teenager I used to love having stickers on some of my things -- furniture, school notebooks and my PC. Of course, I later regretted my decision to "personalize" my belongings, but at the time it was fun and, in my mind, cool. I especially enjoyed seeing the logos of major then-popular tech companies, like Intel, AMD, Nvidia, ATI, on the front of the PC case. It meant something for me, and maybe others, at the time. My stance changed, rapidly, as I grew up.

After I bought my first laptop, the first thing I did was to remove the stickers that were on it. Unlike on my PC, they were not out of the way and, quite frankly, looked silly on my business-grade machine. For people who buy new Windows PCs, stickers are still a part of the present as you continue to have them on your (even flagship) devices. It is a common sight, even though they are in fact as attractive as the plague. Sadly, the same trend is emerging on new Windows tablets. I'm looking at you, Lenovo and Toshiba. How disappointing. And here I was thinking that stickers were reserved only for the cheapest and gaudiest Android slates that are usually displayed in supermarkets. I was, unfortunately, wrong. But so are you for placing them there. Why can't you escape that aging stink that surrounds you and move on with the times?

On traditional PCs stickers have provided some bragging rights. It has been a way to tell others of who has got the bigger, sorry the most popular and the latest components. Even so, I cannot name a single person, geeks included, who has ever said "Gosh, I find them attractive and useful and want to have them there forever!".

Meanwhile, for PC makers (like you) stickers have provided major benefits, in the way of brand recognition. After all, who is not familiar with the famous "Intel inside" logo?

This used to mean something when people would buy PCs in droves and configure them, but as mobile devices are becoming even more popular it is more difficult to make your name known to new customers. Folks do not buy Intel or AMD nowadays, they buy iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry or Windows 8/RT devices.

That is the brand they are shown and know. The operating system is more personal and in-your-face than it used to be, and that is one of the main purchasing reasons for a lot of people (perhaps, as important as the make on the device for some). This should be the dead giveaway that times have already changed, and any attempt to pull old tricks is not forward-thinking.

Traditional PCs can be configured, either by the seller or the buyer, with a different video card, processor, storage option, etc. This holds true for both laptops and desktops with notable exceptions of course, like ultrabooks and gaming machines which are more strict in the way of the maker of components.

However, the same cannot be said in the case of tablets. Consumers can, at best, choose the amount of internal storage, the type of built-in connectivity options and the color of the device. They have no say over the choice of companies which build the said components. So having, for instance, Intel's logo on the back of their brand new 8-inch Windows 8.1 slate means absolutely nothing about their preference (it's not like they could have bought the same device with an AMD processor and graphics, at least not now). It is just conjuncture.

Brand loyalty today is not about what's powering the device, it is about the operating system that runs on it and which company makes it. By slapping stickers on the back of Windows 8 tablets, the same results can no longer be achieved because only those two things take center stage today.

Users have never loved stickers. They spoil the look, get ugly with time, and for devices that are very personal (after all, users touch and hold them) they are so damn annoying. So why ruin the user experience by putting people off with a bad design choice and forcing them to peel the stickers just to enjoy touching a smooth surface? Windows tablets, and the people who buy them, do not deserve this treatment, indicative of a PC business that's going down. It is time to let go and face the truth -- a sticker cannot compensate for the lack of attention your brand gets today.


Someone who wants Windows tablets to succeed.

Photo Credit: HomeArt/Shutterstock

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