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Article/Guide: VBI - The Standard Laptop Program that Failed

 Posted - 4/10/2009 9:00:12 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

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Article Title: VBI - The Standard Laptop Program that Failed
Category Resource Page: Laptops

VBI - namely "Verified By Intel" - was an initiative spearheaded by Intel in the year 2006 which was meant to make laptops more environmentally friendly, easier and cheaper to repair and generally better for consumers.

It failed.

Me being me, I loved the idea and I did get a VBI type laptop (the Z96JS). True I went for the more high end non-VBI model as opposed to the lesser S96J* model - but that was simply because I wanted my high def LCD .

However, the Battery, LCD panel, AC adapter, Top Lid, CPU, Hard Drive, Memory, Keyboards and Optical drive are all still compatible with other VBI laptops. Which is great for me since it means I have much more choice and there's a much greater chance the supplier/retailer will have a spare compatible with my system in stock. It's great for them as well since it means they aren't just keeping parts on the shelf that can only be used in one type of laptop, but that can be used in hundreds of different models.

This was called the Common-Building-Blocks intiative (CBB). Compal, ASUS and Quanta, ODMs that designed and built 70+% of all the laptops made at the time all signed on and created laptops as part of the program (ODM not be confused with OEMS - who resell ODM created products by slapping their name and logo on them - note though that ODM and OEM can be the same).

The laptops were all designed as barebone systems that could be customized and upgraded to some extent with standard components between them. Therefore a laptop adapter or battery from one could be used in products from the other and vice versa.

Unfortunately it failed. It was discontinued by Intel in mid-2008. Recently the Intel VBI site was taken offline (though if you google it you can still see the results - if you click them you will get a Page Not Found Error).

There weren't really any reasons given for the cancellation of the program. Really in the end though Intel tried to run it but they weren't the right ones for the job. This should be an industry wide initiative that would be not only environmentally friendly by reducing waste but would help consumers and suppliers in many different ways.

Unfortunately we live in the age of the iPod, where standards change with a new product release every few months and once treasured components and devices become obsolete and useless with each product refresh. This initiative was one of the glowing moments of the industry that could have lifted us into the future - but there are always more resources for those interested in keeping things the same than there are for those sure to benefit in a new and potentially better system. Guess which side one in this case...


Edited by - PJPeter on 4/10/2009 9:01:28 PM


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