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Qualcomm Reveals First Lenovo Smartbook

Gordon Kelly


Qualcomm Reveals First Lenovo Smartbook

The 'smartbook' platform has been much touted by chip maker ARM and its main third party manufacturer Qualcomm and now it seems Lenovo is also aboard...

In a preview as fleeting as Dell with each new Adamo generation, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs used the company's financial analyst meeting to briefly hold up Lenovo's previously secret offering: a red ultra slim laptop he described as thinner than a Palm Pre (16.95mm).

Virtually nothing was given away about the machine and this, remarkably, seems the best photo available. Predictably however we did learn it will have full Flash Player 10 implementation, support HD video playback and use a Qualcomm chipset (presumably a version of Snapdragon). The smartbook will also come with embedded WiFi, GPS, and 3G. No information was given as to the OS, but as ARM-based chips can't run desktop editions of Windows it is likely to be a Linux variant.

Is this all a waste of time? Perhaps swimming against the tide, I'd actually say no. A new category name does little to win fans over (much like the perversely branded Via Netnote), but in a time when netbooks seem to have forgotten what a netbook is supposed to be smartbooks ring true with that original - and still hugely valid - idea. That being create an ultra cheap (sub £200) and portable (sub 9in screen) laptop with extreme battery life and extensive mobile connectivity. A genuine smartphone/notebook hybrid.

Whether the smartbook, netnote, etc are the brands to do it remain to be seen, but I firmly believe if netbooks increasingly don't want to fill their original space then someone else will...


via Electronista


November 13, 2009, 3:17 pm

Swimming the other way, I'll have to disagree. Netbooks have evolved to meet consummer demand, that's basically for bigger screens. They started with 7, jumped to 9, crawled to 10 and have now staggered to 11 or 12 inch screens. I've got a Samsung NC10 and it's a fun and handy little thing but I'd like a slightly bigger screen and higher resolution. I think the trade off between size/weight to useability is for an 11 inch screen, I can't see myself going any smaller again were my NC10 to break. I think also with smartphones now being ubiquitous for quick fix email/web people have their phones and when they want a computer then they want something decent sized and a 9 inch smartbook isn't going to cut it.

Basically the original netbook concept has had it's time and I think going back to it isn't going to work for ARM.


November 13, 2009, 4:29 pm

I think these are a decent idea as well. I like my main laptop to be portable (12-13") and need far more power than Atom. I also have a smartphone of course, (Blackberry Storm at present) but I still think there is room for a smartbook. Something to browse the net on when the main beast runs out of charge, or to carry in a briefcase for emergency train surfing. I dont know, the important thing is to get the price right, £200 is the sweetspot. Lets not forget the Sim-free price fo smartphones is high in comparison, £300-800.

The original netbook concept was a decent idea, however people thought they were just cheap regular laptops and then were dissapointed with the performance etc. With Linux only and a non 86 architecture this is much more clearly differentiated.

I can see Atom on the way out though (which can only be a good thing). It's squeezed by ARM on the bottom end, and by Intel's own far superior ULV processors on the higher end. I didnt jump on the netbook bandwagon first time round, but an ARM machine with All day battery life might tempt me.


November 14, 2009, 10:03 pm

@HK: Speak for yourself, but when I replace my eee 4G it'll definitely be with something of a similar size and a lighter weight. A smartphone is far too small and doesn't have speakers or full file format support so that won't be an option.


November 16, 2009, 7:48 am

@HK - I get your logic, but netbooks didn't evolve solely to meet consumer demand. They evolved into order to become more expensive and therefore create more margin! Thing is they have evolved to the point where you just buy a faster and equally cheaper 11.6in CULV machine with better battery life.

A 7/8in smartbook at a £150/200 tag I think could be immensely popular.


November 16, 2009, 8:32 pm

I would certainly consider getting a smartbook were they to be as cheap as £150 -- that is cheap enough for people to buy one without much thought, whereas a £300+ CULV laptop requires a bit of thought before you buy one. That's why I think they will be successful

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