Intel pushes laptop standardisation

Intel pushes laptop standardisation

Intel has identified mobility and targeted platforms as cornerstones of growth for its system builder community.

Speaking at the chipmaker's recent Solutions Summit in Hainan, general manager of its channel platforms group worldwide, Bill Siu, pointed to three broad channel challenges the vendor would address this year: mobility, supply, and thought leadership in the solutions space.

Despite the rapid rise in notebook popularity, Siu acknowledged local builders had yet to make an impact.

"The shift to mobility is going tremendously well but channel players are not participating at a meaningful level," he said. He blamed this on a lack of component standards and inadequate infrastructure. In an attempt to counter this, Intel has pioneered the mobile computing common building blocks (CBB) program. The initiative is based on standardising seven pieces of the notebook puzzle: battery packs, LCD panels, optical drives, hard drives, customisable notebook panels, keyboards and AC adapters.

The world's three largest notebook producers - Asus, Quanta and Compal - have all agreed to participate in the program. Siu said Intel would also provide customer service support and component verification processes. Worldwide distributor, Synnex, would oversee the supply of CBB components.

Five CBB SKUs are now shipping, with 11 expected to be available by the end of May. Nineteen suppliers were currently participating in the scheme. As well as its mobility push, Siu said Intel was expanding its platform strategy. The latest addition is an enterprise client platform. The new vPro brand will utilise the Conroe processor technology. Intel has had great success with its mobile platform, Centrino, and launched its Viiv digital home platform earlier this year.

Siu also encouraged channel partners to incorporate software into their solutions. Intel had released a range of customised software "recipes" tailored towards regions and partner types to help fuel this transition into more holistic platform sales.

"We believe the channel goes beyond integrating the hardware; it's about getting a deeper focus on software," he said. "This is a critical element to our business.

"We have recognised we have to do more than put products into the market. We have to understand and tailor solutions to fit and meet customer needs."

Among forthcoming software offerings was a solution stack for SMBs to manage infrastructure. This was expected to be rolled out later this year.

Nadia Cameron travelled to China as a guest of Intel.

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