Compaq has been placed on 'problem watch' by a major research firm due to a reportedly high rate of failure associated with its 4100 notebook line.
The Gartner group is expected to publish a report later this month that will advise customers to carefully consider whether to buy the notebook.
According to sources, the failure rate of the 4100 could be has high as 25%.
A Fortune 100 company recently pulled the plug on a large rollout of Armada 4100 notebooks after experiencing a rash of dead systems and system lockups. According to a source at the company: "It was getting to the point where the notebooks were locking up frequently, and the only way you could remedy the situation was to undock the notebooks and then take the battery out. Compaq worked for three months to try and stabilise that piece of equipment; however, we are no longer deploying Compaq laptops.
Now it's IBM ThinkPads."
Compaq said it has not experienced large failure rates for the Armada 4100. Mark Vena, Compaq's director of mobile marketing for North America, commented: "Our DOA (Dead on Arrival) rates are in the low single digits."
David Matthews, senior portable product marketing manager at Compaq UK, said he was aware of only a few quality problems and most of these were down to faulty ROM BIOSs which have now been fixed.
"Some of our 4100s have also had keyboard problems but we've extended the warranty for these machines," Matthews added.
He went on to say that the keyboard problems were due to a design fault which had been addressed and that all Armada 4100s shipped after March should be free from any problems.
He continued: "Obviously, Gartner's comments are of concern to us. We treat their opinion very seriously, but we've got a lot of happy customers with the 4100."
Nevertheless, bugs are not new to the Armada. Late last year, Compaq announced that 4100 models could have a defective AC adaptor.
Gartner UK was unavailable for comment.
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