The chip maker's Interchangeability Initiative, by promoting the use of common building blocks in notebook and mobile PC units similar to standards applied by desktop manufacturers, aims to reduce downtime and make mobile PC ownership as carefree as desktop ownership.
Intel has identified seven component categories—hard disk drive, optical drive, LCD panel, battery pack, customizable notebook panel, power adapters and keyboards—that can be built on common building blocks, making them interchangeable and readily available for replacement or upgrade, the company announced the week of March 13 at its Intel Solutions Summit partner conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The chip maker is assisting three ODMs (Original Device Manufacturers), Asus, Compal and Quanta, in the fabrication of 11 devices based on the seven components. Intel is also encouraging OEMs and system builders to begin designing systems built for the common, interchangeable components. The components would be verified by Intel.
The measure would be a major step for VARs, which would be able to improve service and reduce repair downtime for notebook customers, said Steve Dallman, Intel's director of American Distribution and Channel Sales and Marketing.
"The market desires an interchangeability like there is for the desktop," Dallman said. "There is an ecosystem built around the desktop PC. When you buy a hard drive, almost every single time, it fits in your tower. When you buy a graphics card it fits in the slot. When your notebook display cracks on an airplane you are talking about a 10-week waiting period for a spare part. You are without your notebook for too long."
Dallman said he expects the initiative to take about three to five years to take hold.