Told you they were a nasty little bunch! (Image Source: Flickr: mseckington)
Laptops can do a lot of ridiculous things at any given time. The most media-friendly form of ridiculousness is laptops catching fire somehow. Computer manufacturer Dell has been particularly known for such moments of ridiculousness, such as their laptops exploding and/or catching fire. Now, Dell has entered a surreal level of ridiculous machines with their new laptop, the Latitude 6430u. Other than having the preposterous Windows 8 as its operating system, the Dell Latitude 6430u comes with a charming new feature: Smelling like cat urine. Obviously, non-cat owners are not amused at the revelation.
The Dell Latitude 6430u, is a high-end "ultrabook," a laptop that is thinner than regular laptops but keeps performance features that allow to run faster than thin "subnotebooks" or mini notebooks. These ultrabooks are designed to take on the Apple MacBook Air, essentially. The Dell Latitude 6430u is marketed explicitly to business people who need light computers but not tablets or phablets, and is priced to match the MacBook Air.
While the laptop was released earlier this year, customers did not start complaining about the Dell Latitude 6430u's smell until June 2013. The complaints were all the same: The laptop smelt of cat urine. Some owners sent back their laptops for replacements, only to have the same exact problem. Technical support suggested cleaning out the vents, but the smell remained. Many owners vented frustration at the smell, claiming it affected their work. Cat owners, as expected, shrugged, thinking their pets sprayed on the laptop.
Eventually, an owner discovered that the likely culprit for the cat urine smell was the plastic materials being used for the Latitude's keyboard and palm rest. They then expressed concern that the chemicals and polymers being used in the manufacturing of the laptop formed a health hazard. Dell finally investigated the situation, and discovered that, indeed, the manufacturing process had been the source of the smell, and has since fixed it. Now, owners of the Dell Latitude 6430u can get a replacement palm rest and keyboard, free from the smells of one's litter box, free of charge, and new laptops are free of the smell as well.
Still, there is definitely a niche market for these "defective" laptops that Dell should take advantage of: Cat owners, particularly crazy cat ladies. Now that is a market that is waiting to be exploited right there.