Shuttle is getting ready to enter the notebook market

Big announcements to come at CES

CES IS THAT first chance in the new year for companies to reveal what they’re working on for the coming year and it looks like Shuttle is getting ready to change its focus, just as so many other companies are. The pre CES press releases on Shuttle’s website talk about a new XPC, a new all-in-one, but also a secret new strategy called SPA and this is the big news that might just make or break Shuttle.

Shuttle pioneered the SFF or small form factor market with its XPC computers and together with AOpen it’s the last bastion for these types of machines. However, there’s no real growth in this market and users have shyed away from buying the often over priced Shuttle XPCs in favour of mini-ITX based options and cheaper mATX systems. At Computex this year Shuttle, as well as many other of Taiwanese motherboard and PC makers, launched an all-in-one system based on Intel’s dual core Atom 330 in an attempt to expand into new markets.

There has been a long time rumour about Shuttle considering moving into notebooks and this is what the SPA strategy seems to be, but thanks to Digitimes a little bit more of what is going on behind the scenes has come to light. It appears that Shuttle is working on something that is refered to as the Shuttle New NB Ecosystem where NB is short for notebook. While we don’t know exactly what the SPA strategy is, we have a feeling that the two are closely linked.

The Shuttle New NB Ecosystem is interesting as Shuttle is trying to build up a supply chain for second tier notebook manufacturers that not only includes components, but also standardization on motherboard designs, quality assurance and after-sales service. If Shuttle can pull this off they could in fact become a major player in the notebook OEM/ODM business as often what is missing when it comes to the smaller notebook brands is good after-sales service.

On top of this Shuttle is looking to launch a range of own brand notebooks and netbooks which should range in size from 10 to 17-inches. If Digitimes is correct, we might see as many as 20 new models being announced at CES, but this sounds like a slight overestimation. One interesting part is that Shuttle doesn’t seem to shy away from alternative platforms and as such Shuttle is looking at building notebooks with AMD, VIA and ARM based processors in addition to Intel based models.

With the notebook market expected to grow and the desktop market stagnating it’s not hard to see why so many companies are moving away from making desktop related products. On the other hand it’s also a big gamble, especially for those that are late to enter the fray. Shuttle doesn’t just have to compete with already established Taiwanese brands, but also the big boys Dell, HP, Acer and Apple.S|A

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