Sunday, November 22, 2009

Will the Smartbook Really Cause Netbooks to be Obsolete?

smartbookSo there has been a new word that has been circling around…a “smartbook.” I was curious at to what exactly a smartbook was, so I did a little research and this what I have found. Companies have decided that that they want to try to incorporate a iPhone or Motorola Droid-type experience into a much larger device. Is this possible or is this just a bunch of hype?

Qualcomm and Freescale, companies that are currently supplying the most up-to-date silicon technology for devices, are trying to push the idea of the smartbook. Their plans for the smartbook would make it different enough from a laptop or netbook to make it stand out.

The first preliminary presentation of the smartbook idea will be viewed at the Consumer Electronics Show held in January. It is expected that different smartbook designs will be shown.

Many question why it is necessary to call it a smartbook and differentiate itself from a netbook. Won’t that just cause a whole lot of confusion? Well it could, but it will also give the companies a lot more to work with concerning advertisement of the smartbook. A brand new type of portable computing device with cause a lot more stir than the release of just another netbook.

Honestly, the two companies are working hard to make the smartbook extremely different from a netbook. Qualcomm wants to essentially make the smartbook a large smartphone that will leave traditional laptops and netbooks in the dust. They want to make the smartbook so that it is a connected 3G device that’s always on, has data always pushed to the device, and an all-day battery life like a smartphone.

Earlier this month, Qualcomm’s CEO Paul Jacobs was proud to display a Lenovo smartbook. It has a thinner design than a netbook, actually about as thin as a typical smartphone. The smartbook will be sold through AT&T instead of a PC retailer. The Lenovo smartbook uses a Snapdragon chip, which was Qualcomm’s very first smartphone processor to hit a speed of 1Ghz. It has not yet been announced whether or not the device would use Google’s Android operating system or different Linux variant. Another thing that has not yet been revealed is the price point of a smartbook, but it is expected to inexpensive upfront but probably requiring a 2-year contract plan.

Many are skeptical that the smartbook will really be all that different from a netbook. They say that there doesn’t seem to be any huge difference, as of now, other than the battery life. Freescale obviously disagrees with this skepticism. They say that the whole look of the smartbook will be entirely different than that of a netbook.

Sharp is selling the NetWalker smartbook in Japan. This tiny smartbook has a 5-inch screen and utilizes a Freescale ARM processor. Developers say that it looks more like a gadget than a PC.

It has been stated that most first generation smartbooks will look similar to a netbook, and it will probably not be until the second generation that they will break away from traditional laptop appearance. It is said that the second generation smartbooks will utilize the tablet form factor and sliding keyboard. The screens will most likely range from 5 to 7-inches.

Freescale claims that by the first quarter of next year there should be eight to twelve “high-caliber” smartbook on retailers shelves. These smartbooks will incorporate the important defining aspects of the connected applications based on 3G, the form factor, battery life, and the operating system. We will have to watch the progress that is made with this new idea and see if it really takes off the way that some people believe it will.

1 comment:

Andy Wendt said...

The smaller and faster these things get the more they will chip away from the traditional "notebook" product line.