D&H: Verified By Intel The 'Last Hope' For Whitebooks

Under the Verified by Intel program, barebones notebook PCs from original design manufacturers (ODMs) Asus, Compal and Quanta use interchangeable components such as LCD displays, keyboards, hard drives, optical drives, memory and batteries in order to offer a full range of customization while keeping costs low.

That program, said Michael Schwab, vice president of purchasing at D&H, may be the last hope for the whitebook market.

"This is the pinnacle of the opportunity, meaning it's gotta work if whitebooks have credibility with the resellers," Schwab said. "There have been false starts with whitebook distributors selling clamshells to VARs. Verify by Intel gives resellers a chance to give whitebooks another look. We really need to leverage this program if resellers are to be able to offer any notebook PCs other than models from Tier One vendors."

Schwab said the Verified by Intel Program, because it features components that are interchangeable between models from all three ODMs, will make it easy for solution providers and end users to get the exact notebook PC they need.

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"I envision a time when a reseller or end user who wants to buy a mobile PC, when they don't like the display, can pop it out and replace it with another display," he said. "They will get the level of optimization possible with desktop PCs."

They will also benefit from Intel's tech support, Schwab said. "The vast majority of resellers in North America are used to technical and warranty support from Intel," he said. "Intel has put the same level of support behind Verified by Intel. It gives resellers and end users the confidence they can get warranty support, a big change from the whitebooks that came to market before."

The key question is whether components needed to customize notebooks under the Intel program can be competitively priced to let those notebooks sell against the Tier One brands, Schwab said. Unlike in the past, when a distributor needed to stock a large number of components for different models of whitebooks, components from the Verified by Intel program work with notebooks from multiple vendors. "This makes availability stronger and more price competitive," he said.

D&H is offering a number of different whitebooks from each of the three ODMs. Schwab said they differ from each other in such areas as cosmetics, pointing device, screen size, or form factor.

D&H is the third U.S.-based distributor to start distributing Verified by Intel whitebooks, after ASI, Fremont, Calif. and Synnex, Fremont, Calif.