The product mix on the computer market tends to change incessantly. The times when the do-it-yourself market offered just various parts for the user to assemble into the end system are long gone. The hot topic of the current day is barebone systems. A barebone is a half-assembled platform that consists of a case with a power supply, a mainboard preinstalled into the system case, and a cooling system. Barebones are usually design in a non-standard way and cannot be assembled out of widely available hardware parts.
The popularity of barebones is mostly due to the rise of the class of home computers that are employed as an entertainment center. Such computers must fit well into the interior of the living room, so the standard cases aren’t desirable for them. Barebones, on their part, have a much smaller size, are quieter at work, and resemble typical household appliances. The purchaser of such a platform only has to equip it with a central processor, memory, hard drive and additional input/output devices depending on his/her own needs.
Most barebone systems come from mainboards manufacturers, but other companies have been recently trying to take up this business, too. For example, this article is evidence of the imminent “barebonization” of the notebook market. The device we’re about to discuss is actually nothing else but a barebone system for assembling a notebook.
There’s actually nothing strange in the arrival of mobile barebones. Mobile computers at large have grown into an ever more popular category of PCs and the current year is going to be a breakthrough in this respect. The share of notebooks in the total PC sales is already about 30% and this number is expected to rise much higher very soon. According to market analysts, notebooks sales are going to grow by 26.5% this year, the predicted sales growth of ordinary desktop PCs being only 4.6%. The demand on portable computers is going to grow by 10.2% over the previous year, too.
Notebooks owe their increasing popularity to several facts. Among them are the reduction of prices and the expansion of wireless networks which make mobile computers a far more useful device. As a result, more users are now abandoning desktop systems in favor of notebooks. A popularity peak of mobile solutions is expected to fall on the beginning of the next year. In such conditions the mobile solutions market should become a priority for hardware manufacturers, giving an opportunity to increase the market influence and profits.
End-users, especially PC enthusiasts, would prefer to assemble their notebooks by their own hands, of course. This way they would save some money and get a system designed specifically for their own needs – well, and the very process would be enjoyable. Considering all these things, it is quite logical for unfinished mobile platforms to appear.
So, the system to be reviewed today is a mobile barebone. It is a regular notebook but without such components as central processor, memory, hard and optical drives. The manufacturer implies the user can purchase these things him/herself to have a ready-to-work mobile computer. By the way, besides selling as barebone systems, such under-completed mobile computers are bought by some system integrators who fill them up and then sell under their own trade names.
The mobile platform OpenBook (BareBook) 1559-JL from AOpen can also be met in two incarnations: as a barebone system to build a notebook out of (and priced at about $680) or as a ready-made solution under a third-party brand.