Qualcomm (s qcom) earlier this year introduced us to the smartbook concept. On paper, such a device sounds like the perfect bridge between a small smartphone and a clunky notebook — all-day battery life, a full keyboard and integrated data connectivity in an easy-to-carry package. Unfortunately, the best-laid plans often go awry, and the first expected smartbook looks like nothing more than an ARM-powered netbook running Linux.
In order to carve out a market, smartbooks should offer the best features of the two devices they fit between. Smartbooks need all-day runtime, instant-on and smartphone connectivity melded with the keyboard and usability of a netbook. But at the same time, a successful smartbook must offer an advantage over these two devices — it must be usable, but not too big. Make the device too large and it will compete poorly against netbooks, which offer x86 program compatibility and nearly all-day runtime. That’s exactly what I see in the first smartbook design — a netbook form factor that fails to take advantage of using a lower-powered ARM processor in a pocketable package.
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