Thursday, January 22, 2009

WHERE DO THE ALPHA 400s AND OTHER 400 (400-MHz, MIPS processor, Linux operating system) Laptops Come From?

All or most of the brands listed below claim to have factories in Shenzhen in mainland China (photo). Probably most of them are referring to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and ODMs (original design manufacturers) to which they contract the actual fabrication and assembly and some design work.

I have been able to actually find only two factories, addresses and all. They are Shenzhen Sungworld Electronics Co., Ltd, and Guangzhou Skytone Transmission Co., Ltd. They are both in Guangdong province, in the cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou (ex-Canton). If your 400-category computer bears a model number with "SW-700" in it, chances are Sungworld manufactured it. If the number includes "ALPHA 400," then Skytone likely made it. There are other factories making similar machines, I am sure, including ones in which Americans are large shareholders. If you don't have a printed user's manual for your 400, then a manual for one of the above two should be helpful to you.

The supply lines in the manufacture of computers are blurry, probably on purpose. People want to keep priveleged, valuable relationships to themselves as much as possible, for advertising and deal-making advantages. Even in other, larger computers like netbooks, notebooks, and laptops, you won't find Dell, HP, and Apple volunteering that their machines are made by Compal, Quanta, Foxconn, or Asus.

Some sources claim that Exon International Technology, a company in Hong Kong, makes all of the 400s, but that is not the case. It does make a 400 Linux mini-laptop , but there are other manufacturers of these, as noted above.

So here are the 400s brands, headquarters locations, and website links. There may be several more not listed (let us know), and there will surely be many, many more in the future. Hong Kong is a small, semiautonomous territory of the Peoples Republic of China adjoining the Pearl River Delta in South China. Shenzhou and Guangzhou are in the delta.

* Bestlink (or Belco) Alpha 400 (Hong Kong)
* 3K Computers Razorbook (Boca Raton, Florida)
* Trendtac 700 EPC (EPC700) (Netherlands)
* Elonex One T (One T+) (UK)
* Maplin Minibook (UK)
* Silverstar E-PC (UK)
* Yinlips Micro PC (Shenzhen, China)
* HiVision Mininote (Hong Kong [office], Shenzhen [factory])
* JAY-tech Jee-PC 400S (Germany)
* Letux 400 Linux Minibook (Germany) (Golden Delicious Computers)
* CnM Minibook (CnMBook) (UK)
* Novatech Minibook (UK) (Not available?)
* Skytone Alpha 400 (Guangzhou, China)
* SurfOne INOS1 (France)

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