VIA launches "open source" notebook


Do you own a small fabricating plant in Taiwan? Do you have an engineering team of ten PhDs? Do you want to make small laptops? Has VIA got a deal for you. The VIA OpenBook reference design is not actually a product — it’s more of an idea. Because it is ostensibly open (the CAD plans are available on the VIAOpenBook site) you simply buy the chips from VIA and use the plans to build your own cases, keyboards, and I/O systems. What does this mean to you and me? Not much, unless we want to mill our own laptop parts out of plastic.

VIA isn’t really selling anything here other than its own motherboards and chips. The laptop portion is a bit of lip service to openness that corporations like to pay just to get their piece of the “open” mindshare. While the potential is there — mini laptops with powerful features hand-crafted by Cuban virgins out of sandalwood and jade come to mind — let’s just call this an advertisement for a mobile computing platform and leave it at that.

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