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8095 Posts

11-19-2007

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  • Message 1 of 23

Do you use Companion and support lenovo apps?

2013-07-10, 15:39 PM

 

I'm looking for some customer feedback on our Companion and Support apps that are included in our Windows 8 preload.   For the support app, I know that there are some differences in functionality depending upon whether this is run on a Think or Idea system, so in your comments it would be good to know what system you are running this on.

 

Here are some things I'd like to hear your thoughts on, but feel free to provide additional thoughts as well...

 

Do you use either for these apps now?      

 

If so, which features do you find useful?  

 

 

What should we change to make them more valuable?

 

( I have some opinions about this, and understand a lot of the existing limitations of the support app but am deliberately asking open ended questions here)   I'm also merging in some pre-existing unsolicited feedback on this subject from a couple months ago - I hope we will get more comments!

 

Thanks!

 

Mark

 

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37 Posts

07-24-2009

Austin

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  • Message 2 of 23

Windows 8 Lenovo Settings and Support App Review from a Thinkpad User's Perspective

2013-04-17, 1:50 AM

My Rating

After checking out both apps (Settings and Support), I would rate them 2 stars out of 5. Previous functionality has not be restored and I wouldn't call these apps an elegant use of the Windows 8 UI as of yet.

 

To Lenovo Customers, Sorry - I screwed up. -- Lenovo

I get that Windows 8 apps were a huge challenge for Lenovo and every other OEM, but Thinkpad users, in particular, are not ignorant -- someone at Lenovo was asleep at the wheel and neglected to make the necessary decisions at the right time.

 

The more Lenovo beats the "users don't need this" drum, the more Lenovo products look the same as the competition. Like many other Thinkpad users, I have owned many of the models over the years (my first was the T41). Compared to other manufacturers, I expect Lenovo to provide more than what is absolutely necessary. It is part of the value proposition associated with the product.

 

This month marks the 6 month anniversary of the Windows 8 release. I suspect that 6 more months from now, we will still be waiting for Lenovo, and I hate waiting.

 

Support App - Battery and Power Usage Information Lacking:

Since Windows XP, I used the battery condition information and the system power use information in the old Power Manager. In the new Support app, only the battery condition information remains. Assuming the "Wattage" field replaces the system power use information, I don't think users see the same functionality. On battery, I see 0W. When charging the battery, I see 0.09W. Something seems odd. Why not provide users the same information as before: voltage, current, and power?

 

Support App -Update Status Incorrect:

My update status (i.e. last update date) does not change when I run System Update. Either migrate system update to the metro app or leave it out -- half-baked functionality is annoying.

 

Support App - Layout:

Layout could use some improvements. I suggest Lenovo's software developers spend time with other apps in Windows 8 to get a better idea of how to use the new UI effectively. In the current app, I have to scroll a little too much to get to certain pieces of information and can't get rid of the annoying advertisements to upgrade my memory or battery. Lenovo should add either an in-app search capability or allows users to pin more than the high-level categories. Also, the fancy, Windows Vista styled icons are out in Windows 8. Use panels or tiles. Use simple and bold (easy to read) icons.

 

Support App - Registration:

Why can't I provide the app my previously registered laptop info and have it leave me alone? It seems silly to ask users to re-register their laptop each time an app is installed.

 

Support App - Warranty Menu:

This menu could use a significant upgrade. While it is nice to see your laptop's current warranty status, I have found through my previous warranty experiences that Lenovo needs to improve its customer experience. It would be great if the app provided contact information. Also, it would be more genuine to name links appropriately. When I click on the contact information link, I expect to see communication information, not a webpage primarily devoted to selling warranty upgrades and extensions. Seriously -- Lenovo -- fix your website. There is no reason to have a URL from 1999 -- http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/feedback/detail.page?LegacyDocID=MIGR-76613.

 

Settings App - Camera and Audio Not Working:

I can't seem to get the app to load the camera or the audio menus. I think someone mentioned they had the same issue in another thread, but I don't remember if it was resolved. Any suggestions?

 

Remaining functionality that's missing:

  1. Shortcut for switching power profiles. Windows Mobility Center limits the selection to the three most recently used profiles. I want something MORE than this. Lenovo removed the keyboard shortcut in the past year and now with Windows 8 has removed the software capability too.
  2. Docked view of remaining battery life. I expect this functionality in a cell phone and I expect it on a laptop or tablet. At a minimum, display the percent remaining. Extra points for displaying remaining time. Figure out a way to show the remaining battery life without opening the Mobility Center or navigating through a bunch of menus. You had a solution with Windows 7 - toolbars. I suggest you work with Microsoft to add this functionality to the Charms pop-up so that it has the capability of working on any Win8 device in either metro or desktop mode.
  3. Battery Firmware Upgrade functionality -- it was present in the old Power Manager, where is its new home?
  4. Access Connections -- it would be nice to have an advanced connection manager.
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6849 Posts

10-29-2009

United States of America

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  • Message 3 of 23

Re: Windows 8 Lenovo Settings and Support App Review from a Thinkpad User's Perspective

2013-04-17, 2:18 AM

Thank you for your review and feedback.  Your 2/5 rating is fair.  From my personal perspective, Lenovo drank the metro kool-aid that microsoft was pushing, and as it turns out, it's not so sweet.  But there is definitely room for Lenovo to improve our apps and fix bugs.  I want to comment specifically on the things you think are missing.

 

>> 1.  Shortcut for switching power profiles...

 

This is something that's just not coming back.  Win7 Power Manager, with it's own power profiles, often conflicted with the OS power profiles.  If a setting got changed in the OS, then frequently something got messed up in Power Manager.  Basically it's a disaster trying to manage power profiles 2 different ways (Power Manager vs OS).  Power Management and changing profiles is something that the OS has to handle.

 

>> 2.  Docked view of remaining battery life...

 

It is not technically feasible to implement a live tile showing real-time battery status.  It is technically feasible to show real-time battery status inside an app, but who wants to go inside a metro app to see battery status?  What we can do is bring back a useful desktop toolbar like what we had on Win7.  I think we might have this later in 2013.

 

>> 3.  Battery Firmware Upgrade functionality -- it was present in the old Power Manager, where is its new home?

 

Battery firmware updates will come from System Update (TVSU) from now on.

 

>> 4.  Access Connections -- it would be nice to have an advanced connection manager.

 

What specific features do you need that don't already exist in the Location Awareness section of Lenovo Settings?

 

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4436 Posts

01-22-2010

United States of America

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  • Message 4 of 23

Re: Windows 8 Lenovo Settings and Support App Review from a Thinkpad User's Perspective

2013-07-11, 1:10 AM

IdeaPad Z500 touch.

 

IMO the support app is lacking in basic functionality.  An app called support should at least have a way of contacting support.  Next, it should be able to connect directly to my drivers and manual pages based on my existing configuration.  

 

Companion,

I'm new to Windows 8 touch, I've only used it on non-touch computers, so, I've been using the "How to DO Windows 8" app as a reference to get familiar with Windows 8.  The instructions are easy to understand although they're not very in depth.  It's nice to have an app for Lenovo Blogs and Lenovo YouTube right there also.  

 

Once the support app gets straightened out, I think there should be an app in support for companion and a support app in Companion for Support.  There is an app for support within the How to DO Windows 8 app, but I think it should be on the opening screen.

 

Regards,

Dave  


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179 Posts

11-22-2010

Cooperstown, NY

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  • Message 5 of 23

Re: Windows 8 Lenovo Settings and Support App Review from a Thinkpad User's Perspective

2013-07-12, 14:13 PM

I've uninstalled both apps. The Settings App requires a bunch of background services which drags the system to its knees, and they do not add anything to the Windows experience. (For instance, the Mobile Hotspot app duplicates the Internet Sharing feature already built into Windows, yet adds a bunch of unnecessary services which tie up CPU time).

 

The Support app was fine, but mostly useless. Almost all of the information is duplicated elsewhere (except for battery health) and is simply a fancy way to access this website. As the guys over at XKCD have observed, an app that simply gives you less of a website is not really an application.

Jonathan Becker
------------------------------------
CURRENT LENOVO PRODUCTS: Thinkpad Tablet 2
sn #R9WHND7, Win 8 Pro, BIOS 1.51, with Dock and TPT2 keyboard
Thinkpad USB Keyboard with Trackpoint
IdeaCenter B500

PAST: Thinkpad T22, X60 Tablet, X220 Tablet
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8095 Posts

11-19-2007

United States of America

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  • Message 6 of 23

Re: Windows 8 Lenovo Settings and Support App Review from a Thinkpad User's Perspective

2013-07-19, 19:58 PM

Jonnybecker,

 

Thanks for the candid feedback.  

 

In your mind, what is the "promise of value" for an app?   What is it that an app does imediately (on demand?) vs having to go to a website?  

 

Is the value of an app that it does something not otherwise available on the web?

 

Or, that it does the core tasks in a more streamlined manner without all the links, extra graphics, and clutter on the web? 

 

If an app has to pop a browser to complete some of the tasks, is that a "fail" ?

 

Mark

 

 

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179 Posts

11-22-2010

Cooperstown, NY

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  • Message 7 of 23

Re: Windows 8 Lenovo Settings and Support App Review from a Thinkpad User's Perspective

2013-07-21, 17:26 PM

My expectation for an application is that it can do something that I cannot do from a website. If the application exists solely to "avoid the clutter" of the website, then the website is poorly designed, and should be re-designed.

 

A case in point is the Lenovo Support app. The application has two basic components, those things you can't do online, and those things you can.

 

a. The things you can't do online (system health, system information) is designed to get the user as little information as possible in the most space. I mean it. If you click on "System Health" there's a bunhc of explanatory langugage surrounding very small pieces of useful information (how much disk space is available, the battery health, etc). However, the app serves no valid purpose, at least on the TPT2.

 

For instance, it recognizes that the machine has 2gb of RAM, then recommends installing upgrades which are physically impossible. The same is true for available disk space (especially since the micro-sd slot is treated as "removable" storage (easily worked around using disk management (which should be info that's up front and center in the app)). The battery health info requires a "more detail" push, for no logical reason. It's all just designed to move through info slowly that coudl all appear in a small window on screen.

 

Another example is the warranty info. The machine does not go online to see that it has already been registered, so asks you to complete info. When you complete it, it says the machine is alreadty registered. Seriously, is this some kind of joke?

 

2. The things you can online, such as the forums, the knowledgebase, etc, are the purpose of this website. Why reinvent the wheel, and create a wholly seperate, but lesser interface to this site (it's not like the app asks me to sign in using my profile for this site, or gives me abilities to track issues with Lenovo. And clicking on tiles may be pretty, but it's just different access to the same info. It's not better.

 

....

 

I could go on. The problem is that the Support app does so little, it should really no exist in that form. Or if it's going to exist, it should be my primary and exclusive means to communciate with Lenovo support, and once I log in, it should remember everything about me, my Lenovo equipment, etc, so I don't have to look in three places (seriously, why is there a System Update app if there 's a Support app, which could as easily list available, recommended or not so recommended (namely the most recent audio driver) updates for my system.

 

Sigh.

Jonathan Becker
------------------------------------
CURRENT LENOVO PRODUCTS: Thinkpad Tablet 2
sn #R9WHND7, Win 8 Pro, BIOS 1.51, with Dock and TPT2 keyboard
Thinkpad USB Keyboard with Trackpoint
IdeaCenter B500

PAST: Thinkpad T22, X60 Tablet, X220 Tablet
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8095 Posts

11-19-2007

United States of America

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  • Message 8 of 23

Re: Windows 8 Lenovo Settings and Support App Review from a Thinkpad User's Perspective

2013-07-22, 18:36 PM

Johnny,

 

Thanks again, and kudos for your very practical feedback.   There are internal reasons why some of the functionality isn't as deep as we might like - implementation of a single ID would allow the customer to access multiple Lenovo resources with a single set of credentials, and on the back end, would better allow us to know what you have and provide a more meaningful experience.

 

Let's explore a new angle.   Doing things with an app that you can't do on a website. 

 

What kinds of things would you like to be able to do if you were designing a support app?

 

Mark

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179 Posts

11-22-2010

Cooperstown, NY

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  • Message 9 of 23

Re: Windows 8 Lenovo Settings and Support App Review from a Thinkpad User's Perspective

2013-07-22, 20:54 PM

Some ideas (rant) for "offline" options

 

a. a cache locally of the computer's warranty info, and specs (including updates installed as compared with updates available online), for when the user calls for a support question and is not necessarily online

 

b. all of the stuff that was in PC Doctor (or whatever you guys called it when you re-branded it)

 

c. launch buttons for all of Windows 8's built in diagnostic tools which are hidden all over the place, with some explanation about what they actually do. A good example would be DxDiag, which gives all kinds of info related to the graphics support for games; or, a link to services.msc, with a detailed description of each of the lenovo services installed and running, and an explanation of whether the service is optional or not, and if optional, whether disabling would lead to loss of functionality

 

d. the service manual, with a warning that it's not for the faint of heart

 

e. incorporation of the umpteen other Lenovo control panels and apps. Great examples are the "Companion"; the Win 8 "Settings" app, the multiple control panels that pop up in Win 7 and 8, the task tray related stuff, etc.

 

f. settings for stuff that actually is specific to Lenovo machines, such as swapping the FN and CTRL keys on the keyboard (used to be set by BIOS, but inexpicably missing on the TPT2 or software for the Thinkpad Keyboard).

 

g. Alerts with updates to the knowledgebase. It's one thing to give access to the thing. It's another to pop up a message that says, hey, there's something new, and we've "synced" the text of the KB item to your computer. (seriously, how hard would it be to sync some text versus requiring loading a website).

 

Hope this helps.

Jonathan Becker
------------------------------------
CURRENT LENOVO PRODUCTS: Thinkpad Tablet 2
sn #R9WHND7, Win 8 Pro, BIOS 1.51, with Dock and TPT2 keyboard
Thinkpad USB Keyboard with Trackpoint
IdeaCenter B500

PAST: Thinkpad T22, X60 Tablet, X220 Tablet
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2 Posts

12-13-2013

then netherlands

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  • Message 10 of 23

Re: Do you use Companion and support lenovo apps?

2013-12-13, 19:24 PM

I tried to use the phone companion app, but the app just turns off the wlan connection. and then can't make contact to the laptop.

 

it just doesn't work!.

 

 

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