Poll: Many like tech gizmos but are frustrated

Poll: Many like tech gizmos but are frustrated

By Jefferson Graham and Mindy Fetterman, USA TODAY

Most Americans feel no fear when it comes to new technology devices, but they do get frustrated with them.

Nearly three-fourths of people surveyed — 72% — said they get "excited" or are
"comfortable" when they first use a new tech gizmo, according to a USA
TODAY/Gallup poll of 1,004 Americans taken for USA TODAY NOW Personal
Technology magazine.

  USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll

But nearly as many — 64% — said they have trouble trying to figure out how to work the darn things some, most or all of the time.

"I have three computers, but I don’t know how to operate them that well," says Daryle Hahn, 66, a retired factory worker from St. Charles, Minn. "They should make them simpler. Like ABCs."

Despite those problems, Americans are not afraid of the new technologies. Only 5% feel "panicked" when faced with a new device.

Tony Christopher, 26, says growing up in the Internet age has allowed him to quickly learn to use new technology. "A lot of new technology makes my life easier," says Christopher, office manager of a San Francisco law firm. "My TiVo lets me schedule TV around my life, instead of scheduling it around TV, and the Internet puts anything I’d ever want to learn at my fingertips."

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Manufacturers have "done a better job of making their devices easier," says Wendy Talstein, 28, a Pennsylvania stay-at-home mom. "A few years ago, it was different, but now there’s always help online, if you need it."

Still, most Americans take a wait-and-see attitude in deciding whether to buy the newest tech marvel.

Only 5% said they go out and buy new electronic devices "soon after they come out."

Most Americans — 81% — wait until the price drops and they’re confident the gizmo is good, or until most people have taken the leap. Twelve percent drag their feet and don’t get new stuff unless someone gives it to them.


Forty-one percent of poll respondents said the device that frustrates them the most is the computer, compared with 13% who singled out cell phones; 6% said digital cameras; 5%, DVD players; and 3%, digital music devices such as the iPod.

The item that a majority (54%) consider a necessity is a cell phone; 47% say a desktop PC, 35%, cable TV or satellite, 28%, high-speed Internet, 22%, a DVD player, 17%, a laptop computer and 14%, a digital camera.

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