The company that kicked off the netbook craze is reported to be working on a netbook that uses a phone plugged into the device for connectivity. ASUS is looking at the modular phone system by Modu to provide connectivity on an as-needed basis by popping the phone into a slot designed for that purpose. This method would allow owners to have mobile connectivity with a single data plan on the phone.
I first broached this concept a year ago, and I think it is a valid opportunity for companies wishing to push the envelope. My method carries the ASUS concept further by using a high-end Android phone for the modular connectivity. The notebook would be a smartbook more than a netbook, with the processor and storage all provided by the Android phone. This would make the smartbook side of the duo cheap to produce, as the phone would have all of the computing power onboard. The owner would have a full Android smartbook when needed, yet be able to pull the phone out and go when it is not. This means the phone is state of the art, and the smartbook is adequately powered as a result.
I hope ASUS brings such a netbook to market; it would be a welcome innovation. I don’t believe that the target buyer would settle for a phone that was not a full-blown smartphone, however, so hopefully this would be addressed. Simple connectivity is not going to be enough to make this product successful. It will need to be a no-compromise duo to have a chance for success.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): To Win In the Mobile Market, Focus On Consumers