Intel: Stand out from the crowd

Intel: Stand out from the crowd

Industry representatives are urging whitebook manufacturers to concentrate on particular market segments and customer requirements in order to boost local take-up.

Intel A/NZ sales manager for its reseller channel, Andrew McLean, said overall notebook take-up had now reached a point where whitebook system builders had to find ways to stand out from the crowd.

"System builders can configure to end-user requirements," he said. "They need to take that mentality to the notebook market. "As the market matures, users are going to get even more choosy about notebook configurations. For example, they may look at how much hard drive or memory they want.

"That is the competitive advantage whitebook manufacturers have."

McLean said system builders needed to source a broader range of notebook platforms from distributors. In addition, the key to success with non-branded notebooks would be in defining a core market segment to work with, McLean said.

"SMEs have been a successful space for the niche of the whitebox desktop business," he said. "At the other end of the spectrum, in the corporate and government sector, builders need to look at a standard operating environment."

Further to actually producing product, system builders also needed to ensure they had the right warranty infrastructures in place, he said.

ASI Solutions communications manager, Craig Quinn, said it had restricted its production of whitebooks to just three models in order to put more funding into its support services.

"We need to be able to offer Australia-wide support and swap out replacement units. We can't do that if we dabble in lots of models," he said.

Quinn said one of the biggest problems still facing whitebook manufacturers today was the mindset that notebooks were a poor replacement for desktop systems.

For example, corporate users were still looking for features such as a docking station to connect notebooks to the CRT desktop monitor. While branded notebooks from the likes of IBM and Toshiba continued to offer such features, whitebook manufacturers do not match this depth of functionality, he said.

"Whitebook products are generally built as a standalone system, not as a desktop replacement," he said.

"We need to focus on educating the market that those characteristics are no longer required based on the technology is now available in notebooks."

Quinn said the introduction of Intel's new mobile chipset in Q1 next year would bring the notebook platform up to date with systems based on its 915 desktop chipset. It would also introduce more integrated features like graphics to whitebook models.

To help further boost whitebook take-up, Intel's McLean said it had forged relationships with several original design manufacturers (ODMs) in Taiwan and local distributors to improve the accessibility of notebook platforms.

The vendor also held a hands-on summit in conjunction with TodayTech last week to help smaller channel customers learn how to integrate a notebook.

"We are also working with dealers to provide services, support and marketing funding," TodayTech marketing officer, Jennifer Hsieh, said.

Synnex is also pushing through several new programs at a regional level with Intel and its suppliers to help boost whitebook take-up.

Although details have not yet been finalised, the distributor's marketing manager, Daniel Feldman, said the initiatives would be centred on its Mitac brand.

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