December 07, 2013

Selecting a notebook / laptop

One morning, a couple of weeks ago, my laptop computer did not start up. Some seconds after turning the computer on, a blue screen appeared, and the notebook then shut down again. Speaking to a couple of competent people, for example at Digitec,  I learned that considering the age of the computer and the components in the computer, which were some years old, it would not be a good investment to send it in to get a technician to repair the software error that apparently had occurred. Reflecting on my needs for using information and communication technology, studying showrooms at a few stores, doing research on the Internet about the relatively rapid technological changes happening around us - including disruptive technologies - and speaking with a couple of people working with mobile, electronic devices, I found out that I still have a need for a notebook / laptop computer. In particular, when I need to work on a document / file for some time, a keyboard as well as a larger screen than the ones you find on smartphones and tablets, are useful. In this regard, I read in this Wikipedia article about Lenovo, in this economist article about Lenovo, and in this McKinsey Quarterly interview with Mr. Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo's CEO, that computing is entering what he calls the PC+ era, and that Lennovo continues to work on technological convergence in the areas of smart phones, tablets, personal computers, and smart TV in order to deliver a great user experience across all platforms. Here are a couple of extracts from the McKinsey Quarterly interview with Mr. Yang Yuanqing:
  • "The industry is absolutely shifting toward mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets."
  • "..we just don’t believe the PC is dying. You can use a phone or tablet to do some simple work, but you cannot do everything - it’s simply not as functional as a PC."

Doing research about the relatively large variety of notebooks / laptop computers on the market, I found, for example, this list of computer hardware manufacturers helpful. In addition, I found, for example, Notebook Review useful for comparing various laptops / notebooks. Studying various websites dealing with notebooks / laptops, I also came across this Wikipedia article reading which I was somewhat surprised to learn that the vast majority of laptops, 94% in 2011, are manufactured by a small handful of Taiwan-based original design manufacturers (ODM), although their production bases are located mostly in mainland China. According to the Wikipedia article, major relationships include:
  • Quanta sells - among others - to HP, Lenovo, Apple, Acer, Toshiba, Dell, Sony, Fujitsu and NEC.
  • Compal sells - among others - to Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo and HP.
  • Wistron - former manufacturing & design division of Acer - sells to Dell, Acer, Lenovo and HP.
  • Inventec sells to Toshiba, HP and Lenovo.
  • Pegatron sells to Asus, Toshiba, Apple, Dell and Acer.
  • Foxconn sells to Asus, Dell, HP and Apple.
  • Flextronics, former Arima Computer Corporation notebook division, sells to HP.

Among the arguments leading me to my decision to invest in a Lenovo notebook were, for example:
  • Comparing Lenovo notebooks to notebooks of other companies, that sell notebooks, I learned that when looking at notebooks that have similar or almost similar processor size, harddisk size, and RAM, Lenovo notebooks had relatively low prices.
  • Liu Chuanzhi, the founder of Lenovo, mentions HP as a key source of inspiration for Lenovo. For more than ten years Lenovo served as HP's distributor in China.
  • When Mr. Yang Yuanquing, CEO of Lenovo, took over Lenovo's personal computer division, he strongly discouraged the use of formal titles and required staff to address each other by their first names.
  • Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing decided to share his USD 3 million personal bonus with his colleagues - crediting the strength of the company’s business performance to workers on the production line. Each person got an average of 2,000 yuanSource.

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