8 Comments

Summary:

Adobe can’t get any sympathy from anyone these days. The folks from ARM are blaming Adobe’s delays getting Flash 10.1 into production as the reason we don’t see any smartbooks on the market. This delay allowed the iPad release to steal thunder away from the smartbook.

Lenovo Skylight

Adobe can’t get any sympathy from anyone these days. Flash has become public enemy #1 if Apple is to be believed, and there is a rush to adopt HTML5 to kill Flash off once and for all. Now come the folks from ARM blaming Adobe’s delays getting Flash 10.1 into production as the reason we don’t see any smartbooks on the market. Smartbooks were believed to be a hot product segment as recently as a year ago, and according to ARM not having Flash ready in time forced OEMs to hold off on releasing smartbooks. One has to wonder if that delay (coupled with the rise of the slate thanks to the iPad) has killed off the entire product category before it even launched.

ARM vice president Ian Drew told ZDNet UK that “We thought [smartbooks] would be launched by now, but they’re not. I think one reason is to do with software maturity. We’ve seen things like Adobe slip — we’d originally scheduled for something like 2009.”

In the rapidly moving world of mobile technology, such a delay can be fatal. Smartbooks are aimed at consumers wanting an Internet appliance, something between a netbook and a smartphone. That’s the exact target of the iPad, and its initial success is not something smartbook OEMs are willing to ignore. Drew admitted that ARM’s smartbook partners are now looking at producing slates to compete with the iPad. Sounds like maybe Kevin was right.

Related content on GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Can Anyone Compete With the iPad?

Image credit: Lenovo

  1. I’ve been critical of Adobe Flash lately, but I think Adobe is being used as a scapegoat here. There are plenty of successful mobile devices that didn’t wait for Flash support before launching. I stick by my thought that the iPad shook up the already shaky smartbook market before it even started.

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  2. Jim Freeman Thursday, May 6, 2010

    I think this analysis is right, and that, while it’s understandable that potential smartbook manufacturers are still shifting gears to deal with the iPad, it’s a shame, because I have to believe there’s a market out there for ARM smartbooks in a netbook form factor. Doesn’t anyone want a keyboard these days?

    With netbooks becoming essentially small, light, underpowered notebooks, I would think an ARM powered netbook, with all the features Kevin cited in his original post (instant on, all day battery life, etc.), would be the one to steal a chunk from the current netbook market.

    At least, I’d buy one!

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  3. It would be ashame if the smartbooks never came to production. I’d love to by a couple of them to give to my wife and son for use around the house. My wife wants a keyboard and my son is in second grade and uses a keyboard in school than he handwrites. Smartbooks would be perfect for them.

    To be honest, I would love a smartbook maker to sell a device with a good, stable version of Windows CE ,so the wife and son will have a shorter learning curve. Win CE got alot of well deserved bad press, but I used several of the later versions of it and it actually worked ok.

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    1. Sorry but there has NEVER been a “stable” version of Windows CE. And I mean never ever. All versions have had and continue to have stability problems. This is one of the primary reasons why millions have left windows for good and are enjoying the many benefits of iPhoneOS and Android. It’s true and that’s just the way it is today !

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  4. @James,

    I’m a bit confused on your assertions. If you’re asserting that the market for smartbooks may be dead because of the delays (flash related or otherwise), then how do you explain the success of the iPad? The iPad is ARM based, hence a smartbook by its’ very definition. The fact that the iPad is a tablet form factor is irrelevant as all form factors were planned when smartbooks were announced as a new entrant to mobile computing.

    If, on the other hand, you’re asserting that the iPad’s success has “cornered the smartbook market”, then your assertion is nonsense as none of the major players in computing will concede the market to Apple.

    What am I missing?

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    1. This post simply points out what the ARM VP said in an interview. He believes the delay getting smartbooks to market was caused at least in part by the delay in the newest version of Flash. He then states that in the interim the smartbook makers reacted to the launch of the iPad and moved over to make tablets. That’s all this says, and whether he’s right or not we’ll see.

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  5. Bullshit. I do not need flash at all, and even if it will be available, i will uninstall it and wipe it from hard disk.

    I’m waiting for this hardware a year now. I think all this was a joke. How ARM manufactures can be so stupid to delay product for so long? Apple somehow managed to sell iPad!

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    1. Yeah, they managed to sell the iPad by leaving out just about everything important. Java, Flash, removable battery, camera, shit the thing doesn’t even have a real calendar! And the touch screen is really unreactive.
      I don’t even start talking about their Nazi policies about what you can install and what not, about root access, and about unscrewing the thing.

      The reason this works, is because they cater to blind cattle who are so technologically incompetent, that they can’t tell they have been ripped off.

      It’s a massive failure. Unfortunately, the people who bought it are too.

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