Hopefully VIA know – and sanction- what their marketing team is up to, as Tim Brown could be in some trouble otherwise for taking apart the company’s OpenBook reference budget ultraportable and filming the whole operation. Tim’s intention is to show off the flexibility of the design; rather than soldering all of the connectivity options to the mainboard, which is a common way to save space, the OpenBook uses two industry-standard PCI Express Mini card-slots. That leaves it up to manufacturers adopting the design to chose which WWAN, WiFi, GPS or other options they plug in.
It also means users themselves have a little more flexibility when it comes to modifying their own OpenBook, whether that be to take advantage of a non-typical wireless networking option (say, slotting in a draft-N card) or to update what’s there as the notebook ages. A good example might be ordering 3G HSDPA but then exchanging the module for a WiMAX one when the faster network becomes more prevalent.
It’s great to see this done by the manufacturer rather than left for fansites to do after a gadget launches. Given the choice between a notebook where they know the designers have purposefully made updating straightforward, and one where that degree of flexibility is unknown, I imagine buyers would be happier dealing for the former.