Freedman says notebook makers are facing serious challenges in
designing affordable thin and light laptops. The market for such
products is growing steadily, but it seems some cost cutting measures
are having an adverse impact on build quality, as manufacturers use
plastic instead of metal for the chassis.
"Early production units being built in plastic, with the bottom case
being plastic, are cracking," said Freedman. "So, to get that really
thin form factor that they're after, they're probably going to have to
go with a metal case." This basically means that thin and lights might
not be as cheap as expected, as manufacturers will be forced to start
using more aluminium and magnesium alloys instead of cheap plastic. The
Dell Adamo and MacBook Air are made from metal, but their pricing is
nowhere near the recently introduced CULV-based models, such as Acer's
Timeline, MSI's X-Slim and Asustek's UX series.
Freedman says ODMs were advising their customers to switch to full
metal cases, and that cost reductions will be hard on the industrial
design front. Intel says this is not a CPU design issue, and that it's
all down to the manufacturers.