Published in Notebooks

Thin and light lappies facing build quality issues

by on02 July 2009



Broadpoint AmTech analyst Doug 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.

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