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Summary:

As I was out running some errands earlier today, Stacey over at the main GigaOm site did a little catching up with Qualcomm. Last time I met with them, they showed me some very basic netbook prototypes with tons of potential, but I wasn’t sure exactly […]

qualcomm-smartbookAs I was out running some errands earlier today, Stacey over at the main GigaOm site did a little catching up with Qualcomm. Last time I met with them, they showed me some very basic netbook prototypes with tons of potential, but I wasn’t sure exactly where they were going with the idea. Today, I can see it. And even better: I like it.

Qualcomm is wisely transitioning the name of their device idea from a netbook to a smartbook. That’s wise because the current netbook term usage comes directly from Intel, although we all know that Psion created the first actual device branded a netBook. The subtle name change differentiates Qualcomm’s offering from Intel’s while also combining the terms “smartphone” and “netbook.”

Qualcomm’s 1GHz Snapdragon processor offers the brains and connectivity (both Wi-Fi and cellular 3G, not to mention GPS and Bluetooth) for a smartbook on a single chip, allowing for smaller devices. The first iteration of such a device looks like a Sony VAIO P in terms of the form factor: a full keyboard with a very short but wide display, almost like a large clamshell. Being ARM-based, a device of this size could run between eight and ten hours on a single charge. Qualcomm says you can leave the device in standby for a week, but I’d never neglect a device for that long.

Will such a device compete with the netbook of today? If you’re looking for a computer that runs an X86 operating system and programs, no. But if you want a portable device to browse the Internet and run web-based applications all day, it ought to work nicely. With my own preference to use the web over client applications, I’d love to get my hands on just such a smartbook. Qualcomm says the smartbooks are coming this fall on the product site devoted to the new devices. I’ll be waiting.

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  1. That looks pretty cool. lets just hope it has a decent software backing.

  2. Could this be the reinvention of my beloved Jornada 728?

  3. Allan Jones Friday, May 29, 2009

    A running time of eight to ten hours seems a bit disappointing. I was hoping for something distinctly better, to open up a clear space between these devices and the newer crop of netbooks

  4. I don’t think Smartbook will take off as a popular term. The market wants the web/net. The term Smart adds no value to understand the product sector.

  5. Compatibility with the dominant OS will always hold these things back. People want the software they’re used to and all the capabilities of their desktop — especially YouTube. And, soon, that monster Google Wave.

    1. Google wave is a browser application, it should work on any html5 level browser, without needing a specific OS.

      Obviously, Google Wave will need a fast browser to get the most out of it.

  6. You got picked up by Techmeme. You’re A-list now.

  7. Can’t wait to see what OS makes it popular on these devices. Found a few of them through the news on http://www.smartbook.asia that appear to have Linux in a good position

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