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Intel touts standards for notebook part swaps

Interchangeability Initiative to boost system builder laptop biz, it hopes

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Intel wants notebook component makers to agree to a series of connectivity standards to simplify the swapping of parts.

Earlier this month, the chip giant launched what it calls the Interchangeability Initiative to promote the idea.

Intel has promoted whitebox notebooks since September 2005. The strategy to build a laptop system builder channel builds on the company's strength in this sector, at a time when arch-rival AMD is still relatively weak.

Indeed, AMD is preparing a notebook reference platform, codenamed 'Yamato', that it plans to pitch to ODMs, OEMs and system builders, mostly as an alternative to Intel's Centrino.

The Interchangeability Initiative focuses on seven key components, which Intel believes can be based on category-common interconnects - or "common building blocks". Hard drives, keyboards, optical units, displays, batteries, power adaptors and chassis can all be standardised to allow system builders to add in whatever parts they prefer.

The notebook equivalent of ATX with components that simply slot in and work is not hard to foresee. However, getting the thermals right will require more work than designing a new desktop case, but Intel is well placed to undertake the task.

If the scheme gains traction it would also make it easier for resellers to repair damaged components (screens in particular), and for end-users to upgrade their machines with off-the-shelf parts. ®

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