How To Develop A New Laptop?
Sofeast’s COO, Fabien Gaussorgues, recently outlined how to develop a new laptop and gives two options available for importers who want to bring a new laptop to the market.


2 strategic options for how to develop a new laptop

These two strategic options you have along with benefits and risks are based on an example sales volume of around 100,000 units per year of a few different laptop models where existing electronic modules are used internally, but the outer shells are an original design.


1. Develop your own brand, IP, and capability from scratch

Doing this would mean working with a contract manufacturer and you’d be:

  • Reverse engineering existing products.
  • Redesigning the hardware.
  • Coding the software from scratch or finding a consultant for it.


The hardware would need about 6-12 months of development and the software likely 6-12 months also.

Estimated development cost

The total development cost might be from US$ 30k to 150k+ depending on the features required.


    • YOU own the technology.
    • You have complete control over the supply chain.
    • You’re able to evolve the product over time without being tied to the choices of your supplier.
    • The BOM cost is reduced (but you’ll need to manage your suppliers or do it through your contract manufacturer).
    • It’s easy to improve the software or remove bugs.

2. Use your existing supplier

You work with an existing supplier and can provide them with change requirements (hardware and software) and reuse their existing software (e.g. API for access with mobile phone). In this case, they may be an OEM or EMS supplier.


  • Hardware and software development can be completed in around 3-6 months.

Estimated development cost

The total development cost might only be around US$10-30k, including the plastic tooling.


    • Fast time to market.
    • Low development cost.


    • You will own no IP and your supplier can stop selling to you at any time.
    • You only have one supplier, cannot negotiate much, and product evolutions are possibly difficult.
    • The supplier can compete with your product.
    • If your volume isn’t large for the supplier, they will be reluctant to support you.


Which is the better option for developing a new laptop?

When deciding how to develop a new laptop it really depends on how much risk you’re willing to accept.

If you are in a rush to have your product ready for next year it’s going to be better to go with an existing supplier who can customize per your needs (just be aware that IP ownership could be an issue).聽

However, if you have more time and want full control over the IP, supply chain, design, and future changes, work with a contract manufacturer.


P.S. Explore this related content next…

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