Time to team up with 51nb

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Summilux
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Time to team up with 51nb

#1 Post by Summilux » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:33 pm

As expected, Lenovo For Those Who Don't (r)(c)(tm) didn't even try and came up with a half-baked not-even-baked "anniversary edition" of its regular T470.

From what I can grasp, our Chinese bros at 51nb aren't too excited about this either : https://translate.google.fr/translate?s ... t=&act=url

I don't know how Hope and other key members of 51nb are feeling about it, but maybe there could be some momentum for stepping up and start thinking about making a laptop "from scratch" (note the quotes, the mobos are essentially done and the keyboard would be procured by the end-users from Lenovo spare parts shop).

This would depart from their business of repurposing second-hand parts of decade old Thinkpads, and the time-to-market would be accordingly lengthened, but it could well be worth it. It's our only chance to make Thinkpads great again.

As I wrote earlier in the main thread :
Summilux wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:37 am
I'm wishing for 51nb to do just this. They know how to make mobos and the classic keyboard part will be handled by Lenovo (lol), so the "only" remaining things that'd have to be taken care of would be the display, shell, battery, etc. But even for that they could salvage or get original parts without too many troubles.

The most difficult issue would be the procurement of the display - and the Kickstarter or Indigogo would serve to get advance orders and advance funds. The crowdfunding page would stipulate that after preliminary discussions with display makers, the laptop would cost this if there are 10.000 orders, and that if there are 20.000 orders. Which, in turn, would give another incentive for people to get into this group buy - the more buyers, the cheaper it becomes.
Our role could be to help 51nb connect with the rest of the world, and get more prospective customers onboard - therefore increasing the orders, and lowering the laptop price for all.

We should at least try to connect with them and test the water. Anyone speaks fluent Mandarin ?
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NonesensE
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Re: Time to team up with 51nb

#2 Post by NonesensE » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:05 pm

There probably won't be many classic keyboards as spares that people could use, given the very limited number of laptops they are planning to sell...
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dr_st
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Re: Time to team up with 51nb

#3 Post by dr_st » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:34 am

Summilux wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:33 pm
I don't know how Hope and other key members of 51nb are feeling about it, but maybe there could be some momentum for stepping up and start thinking about making a laptop "from scratch" (note the quotes, the mobos are essentially done and the keyboard would be procured by the end-users from Lenovo spare parts shop).
Remind me - how many mobos are "essentially done"? 100? 200? People here are bashing Lenovo for only building 5,000 of the "Thinkpad 25" (which is strange that they care to begin with, considering how they also say that the laptop is crap and don't plan to buy it). Lenovo, BTW, can always build more. What is the production capacity of 51nb?
Summilux wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:33 pm
This would depart from their business of repurposing second-hand parts of decade old Thinkpads, and the time-to-market would be accordingly lengthened, but it could well be worth it. It's our only chance to make Thinkpads great again.
If you see this as your only chance, you may as well give up now and consider embarking on one of Elon Musk's space missions.

You obviously have so little clue of what it actually takes to bridge the gap between a hobbyish small-capacity shop manufacturing PCBs for an existing chassis design and a full-fledged top-to-bottom system manufacturer with the ability to meet large-scale worldwide demand, that it's pointless to even start explaining this.
Summilux wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:37 am
I'm wishing for 51nb to do just this. They know how to make mobos and the classic keyboard part will be handled by Lenovo (lol), so the "only" remaining things that'd have to be taken care of would be the display, shell, battery, etc. But even for that they could salvage or get original parts without too many troubles.
Yes, sounds lovely. I' would also like to base my modern laptop manufacturing business on scavenging worn and broken pieces of plastic and re-celling dead batteries.
Summilux wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:37 am
Our role could be to help 51nb connect with the rest of the world, and get more prospective customers onboard - therefore increasing the orders, and lowering the laptop price for all.
Connecting 51nb's excellent work with more potential customers is certainly a good and worthwhile path to take, in my opinion. 51nb makes very nice products that can be quite interesting to a certain, not-so-small group of fans. But you are dreaming (perhaps even hallucinating) if you think that it can come even remotely close to becoming an actual OEM, on the same scale as other OEMs, even those much smaller than Lenovo.

Not to mention that the moment 51nb wants to venture out of the business of retrofitting existing Thinkpad shells with new guts and into the business of actual laptop manufacturer, they will have patent-protected design and technology to deal with, if you actually want them to build something that resembles a Thinkpad. Even if there were zero technical challenges (and there are plenty), they would simply not be allowed to do so, without some form of agreement / licensing from Lenovo. Who's going to come up with the dough to purchase the patents and the engineers from Lenovo as Lenovo bought them from IBM? Assuming Lenovo would even want to sell.

Like it or not, at this point, the best bet to restore some of the glory of the Thinkpad is to work to make the change inside Lenovo. Thinkpad 25 may be a step in the right direction, although there is still no way to know if it's a big enough first step.
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Re: Time to team up with 51nb

#4 Post by Summilux » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:39 am

dr_st wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:34 am
Remind me - how many mobos are "essentially done"? 100? 200? Lenovo, BTW, can always build more. What is the production capacity of 51nb?
As far as I know it's essentially unlimited since they contract an OEM to build the boards.
dr_st wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:34 am
Yes, sounds lovely. I' would also like to base my modern laptop manufacturing business on scavenging worn and broken pieces of plastic and re-celling dead batteries.
It's not "scavenging worn and broken pieces" when customers order their own keyboard as a spare part directly from Lenovo, and then put it on the brand new machine.

Or the obvious thing would be to have the keyboard manufactured at the same time as the chassis, which'd secure its availability, but would also be more costly and time consuming. It's a trade-off.
dr_st wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:34 am
Connecting 51nb's excellent work with more potential customers is certainly a good and worthwhile path to take, in my opinion. 51nb makes very nice products that can be quite interesting to a certain, not-so-small group of fans. But you are dreaming (perhaps even hallucinating) if you think that it can come even remotely close to becoming an actual OEM, on the same scale as other OEMs, even those much smaller than Lenovo.
Nobody wants 51nb to become an OEM. We want them to work on a full laptop design and get their usual OEMs to produce it. If 51nb doesn't have enough engineering skills for that, or their current partners don't have the capability to output the number of machines which the crowdfunding campaign would order, they can work with Quanta or Compal.
dr_st wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:34 am
Who's going to come up with the dough to purchase the patents and the engineers from Lenovo as Lenovo bought them from IBM? Assuming Lenovo would even want to sell.
The only critical component in terms of IP is the keyboard/trackpoint. Even if Lenovo isn't keen on licencing its latest iterations, the patents related to the ThinkPad 600 - including the keyboard/trackpoint - should expire in 2018.

But again one way to bypass the keyboard production entirely is to ship the new laptop without a keyboard, and let end-users put theirs. It's definitely not optimal but solves the keyboard question, should it be too bothersome.
dr_st wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:34 am
Like it or not, at this point, the best bet to restore some of the glory of the Thinkpad is to work to make the change inside Lenovo. Thinkpad 25 may be a step in the right direction, although there is still no way to know if it's a big enough first step.
I don't like it and I certainly don't believe in change within Lenovo as long as the executives themselves haven't been changed ; instead I believe that producing a community laptop is more viable. Via 51nb preferably, if not, then through organising a group order to a major OEM.
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Summilux
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Re: Time to team up with 51nb

#5 Post by Summilux » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:41 am

NonesensE wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:05 pm
There probably won't be many classic keyboards as spares that people could use, given the very limited number of laptops they are planning to sell...
I'd expect them to have at least one spare for sale per computer sold.
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Re: Time to team up with 51nb

#6 Post by dr_st » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:29 am

Let's just say that I will support any reasonable initiative to team up with 51nb, but it is far from the rosy future you envision, and I believe that you're probably in for a rude awakening at some point.
Current: X220 4291-4BG, T410 2537-R46, T60 1952-F76, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G
Collectibles: T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X32 (IPS Screen)
Retired: X61 7673-V2V, A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad
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Summilux
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Re: Time to team up with 51nb

#7 Post by Summilux » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:15 pm

Well, all I'm saying is tentative of course ; it's not as if it were a done deal. We haven't even tried to contact Hope and his friends yet - need a fluent Mandarin speaker for that.

But as far as I know the guys at 51nb are well connected and even met with some Lenovo brass. Plus, they do have some track record (granted, on small scale projects).
Hence, getting them onboard could possibly lead to some interesting outcomes. No guarantee, but at least it's plausible.
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nitrocaster
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Re: Time to team up with 51nb

#8 Post by nitrocaster » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:32 am

TL;DR: No.
For those who interested in buying X220/X230 FHD kit: Read this before sending me a PM!
X230: i7-3520M | 16GB RAM | 512GB M.2 Micron M600 | LG LP125WF2-SPB4 FHD IPS | 9c Li-Ion | Win8.1 Pro 64

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