Linked by h3rman on Thu 21st May 2009 11:01 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Few hardware vendors have not yet launched their own mini laptop (or, "netbook"). Most brands these days produce their own version of the same hardware, with Intel's i386-compatible Atom cpu's and Windows XP installed on a spinning hard drive or sometimes still a solid state disk. Some Linux models are still sold by some vendors, among whom Asus, which more or less started selling in this OLPC-inspired genre of laptops.
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RE[3]: don't hold much hope
by h3rman on Fri 22nd May 2009 14:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: don't hold much hope"
h3rman
Member since:
2006-08-09

There are a number of factors why the pc industry has become so big in the US rather than anywhere else.
The US was simply the number one world power in the time computing technology came up, no other nation ever came close then, including the Soviet Union. It absorbed a lot of intellect from all over the world, as I'm sure most people will see when they hang around in Silicon Valley.
One of the problems China has that prevents it from becoming a similar world power is its economic development model. A simplified explanation, the US used "classical" capitalism to grow - production and consumption go hand in hand.
That was up until about 1971 when the dollar stopped being convertible to gold because of the US' military overstretch which it couldn't afford anymore, so the US decided to just live on paper credit from then on. Meanwhile the bankers/Wall Street have taken control of the nation - it's now merely finance capitalism, a perversion of "free market capitalism".

China in contrast grew by consuming very little, producing a lot, working very hard, and exporting most produce in order to earn foreign currency. That currency (i.e, USD) is worth increasingly little, if not nothing at all. So the RMB is bound to rise in value drastically. (This is inevitable, but the question is what the US will do - military threat and action to keep its hegemony, or an acknowlegdment of the fact that times have changed.)

This Chinese purchasing power can draw a lot of brains and knowledge to China, apart from the brains it already has. But a lot depends on the choices made by the Chinese government. For instance whether they will actually stimulate the internal market, at the moment purchasing power of the average citizen is too low because of the very low wages that make US/European imports cheap.

The US will experience some form of a brain drain itself, because the US economy will shrink in the entire coming decade. Purchasing power is dropping, imports are becoming more expensive, local/state taxes go up all over the country, and there's no foreign investment in the US anymore. A lot of knowledge of things as hi-tech as cpu design will move abroad.

Hey, where did that crystal ball go? ;)


No I don't know much about Chinese cpu design but your question makes me want to know more about it too. Intel/AMD's i386 has never been the only architecture and it's not dominant in all corners of the market. It's not impossible to develop a vibrant non-i386 market for pc's, laptops, servers etc. if pure performance is not a short-term goal, and if there's a powerful state behind this development.
Intel or AMD haven't grown without direct and indirect government subsidies either, by the way.

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