Notebook Kick-Off with ASUS L8400B
Mobile computing came a long way from big and bulky desktop systems in a medium sized suitcase to those slim PDAs we know today. PDAs are nice, small and light, but I want to use a real keyboard and the same application as with my desktop PC. The ASUS L8400B Notebook is an All-In-One Notebook with a 14" TFT Display, 750MHz Pentium III processor, DVD Drive, 20GB HDD and 196MB SDRAM. The Taiwanese Motherboard Giant ASUS entered the mobile market 3 years ago with the modular and upgradeable P6300 notebook. The tested L8400B represents a top of the line product within its All-In-One segment.
While a desktop PC can be sourced and assembled by every skilled person, a notebook is not so easy to assemble. Every part inside of the notebook is tailored directly to that notebook model. That is the reason why only very few companies in the world design and build notebooks. Most notebooks are sold with an OEM label. To the end-user the vendor wants to present its brand as a technology company with engineering skill. The assembly done by those vendors is limited to adding drives, CPU and memory, while the rest is build in Taiwan. The Republic of China (Taiwan) is the worldwide leader in notebook production. Don't get me wrong, Toshiba and other big players make their own notebooks, but most others like Dell and Gateway get the notebooks from virtually unknown manufacturers in Taiwan. Those companies use the channels of existing brands for their notebooks instead of creating an own brand. ASUS is going both ways with its notebooks. About 50% are sold with the ASUS brand and the rest with several local OEMs. When you sell to several different customers within the same territory you have to make sure that those notebooks don't look alike. For a desktop PC this is very easy to accomplish by changing the front bezel of the case or adding a sticker at the front with the company logo. A nice note to this: The AMD 760 Reference system used the same case that Intel uses for its P4 Reference system. A notebook usually does not have a changeable front bezel. Notebook manufacturer use different colors, different logos or different chassis Ids to differentiate brands.