HP’s Compaq Airlife 100, the company’s first smartbook that was announced on Friday, combines the portability and design of a netbook with the hardware and software often seen in smartphones. The Airlife has a battery life of up to 12 hours, longer than what most netbooks can offer. While the Airlife and iPad are very different in terms of design, they share many similar features such as simplified software interfaces, touch-screens, and ARM processors (most netbooks use Intel processors). The two devices also both make it easy to quickly access the Internet and browse online content.
Here is a quick comparison of the differences between the smartbook and tablet:
10.1 in touch screen
Wi-fi b/g (optional 3G wireless broadband connectivity)
Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (1 GHz)
16 GB internal storage
512 MB flash storage
HP is not distributing the Airlife in the US just yet, while the iPad is roughly 50 days away from becoming available worldwide. The company also has not yet released pricing information for the new device.
Lenovo has been taken to court by Smartbook AG, a German netbook vendor, over using the term “smartbook” to describe its devices, particularly the recently released Skylight. The Cologne-based company said after the court order, “Without approval by Smartbook AG, Lenovo must refrain from using the character sequence ‘Smartbook’ in all writing systems in association with mobile computers — such as laptops (notebooks) — as part of commercial correspondence in the Federal Republic of Germany.”
Lenovo can be fined up to €250,000, or $341,400, every time the term is used. Smartbook AG, which has been selling netbooks since 2006, has also sued Qualcomm for using the same term, and even sent Netbooknews.de cease-and-desist letters ordering the blog to delete the term from its site, including the English version that is hosted in the US outside of German jurisdiction. Good job, Smartbook AG. Sending angry letters to poor innocent netbook news sites is really going to help your image. No, really.
Back in 2008, Psion sued Dell and Intel for using the term “netbook,” and also sent cease-and-desist letters to netbook blogs. These cases were eventually settled, and Psion has since withdrawn its trademark. Perhaps Smartbook AG will follow a similar fate.
Lenovo recently announced its all-new Skylight smartbook, a cousin of the netbook with a clever custom interface for Internet access.
We’ll be able to see more on the Skylight smartbook at the Consumer Electronics show this Thursday, but for now, we’ve got a bit of info on its specs. It will run the long-awaited Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset and come with a 1 GHz ARM CPU, a graphics processor, integrated GPS capability and HD video recording and playback. Connectivity is ample, coming by means of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G functionality.
The new smartbook by Lenovo will feature a 10-inch screen, clamshell design, and full-sized keyboard – making it look quite a bit like a netbook. It will have a fantstic 10 hours of battery life, thanks to the Snapdragon platform which boosts efficiency by 30%.
The Skylight smartbook will sell for around $499 this April.
At today’s ARM Connected Community Technical Symposium 2009 in Taipei, Pegatron GM Chou Biao Sheng announced that Pegatron will be releasing a 10-inch ARM smartbook running Ubuntu, set to hit retailers as early as next year.
Chou dropped a little mnemonic for us to remember why we should get a Pegatron smartbook – AQUIC:
- Always on – this thing should run for ages
- Quick on – think Moblin quickboot
- a new and improved User interface
- new Industrial design will reduce power consumption and thinned out because ARM chips often don’t need fans
- Cost – you know what that means.
The smartbook category could be popular, if manufacturers like Pegatron are able to deliver in the above categories. All day battery life has been insanely attractive in netbooks, and with battery improvements always around the corner this could be an exciting time for the smartbook and netbook categories.
The new smartbook will be more functional than a smartphone, but less functional than a netbook. The display will be similar in size to that on a netbook, but like a smartphone, the new smartbook won’t have to be turned off. No more details are currently available for the product, but it is rumored to be officially unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV in January 2010.
Image via XannyTech.
ASUS is planning on launching a smartbook in Q1 of 2010. This smartbook is described as a low-powered, 3G-enabled ultraportable laptop with an ARM-based processor. It’s rumored to have a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor as well as GPS, 3G, and Wi-Fi capabilities.
It’s currently uncertain what operating system ASUS’ new smartbook would run on, but the claim is that it will run on the Google Android OS. Pricing for the smartbook is rumored to be set around $180 each.
Smartbook maker Mobinnova is working on an 8.9″ netbook lookalike called the Beam. It runs Windows CE, leading us to believe it’s a bit of an underachiever, but unexpectedly supports HD video and runs the Nvidia Tegra chipset.
The netbook/smartbook/whatever will be launched by a carrier like Verizon, who will subsidize its cost. Mobinnova says it won’t come with an app store but downloadable apps and games may be available upon it’s release. I’m frankly not quite sure what the difference is.
The beam also supports GPS but won’t come with a navigation application. Furthermore, the netbook is said to be capable of “ HD playing for 5 to 10 hours, or up to 24 hours of continuous music playback.” Whoa.
It’s expected by January 2010, so keep your eyes peeled for updates by then.
The new machines will rumoredly pack the Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU and the NVIDIA Tegra line, and could come from household name slike ASUS, Acer, and Foxconn. Chinese netbook maker Compal could also have a hand in upcoming ARM netbooks, as well as Inventec and Mobinnova.
Always Innovating will also be releasing its magnetic Touch Book very soon.
At the end of the day, it’s looking like Intel’s Atom netbook CPU and the ARM Cortex A8 will be having a face-off by Christmas. Word has it that the A8 could be a cheaper and more efficient device than the Intel Atom, so it will be exciting to see these giants clash later this year.
The ARM processor, a less powerful processor than the Intel Atom, is making its way into the “smartbook.” Essentially, smartbooks are mobile computing devices that will be similar to (but less powerful than) netbooks.
On the plus side, smartbooks tend to have longer battery lives, but they will also run on the Linux operating system instead of Windows. Several software companies, such as Adobe and Broadcom, are rumored to be developing programs that are compatible with the ARM processor and future smartbooks.
The term “smartbook” is based off the term “smartphone.” Many new terms such as this are popping up all over the place, as more unique computing technology is revealed. There are discussions over the use of the term “netbook,” and many parties have different names for the same thing.
Industry analysts currently refer to netbooks as “mini notebooks” while Microsoft has referred to them in the past as “ultra mobile PCs.” Some interesting/new definitions may even pop up at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan next week.
Word has it that Qualcomm and its partners are working on a new device set to throw the netbook industry a curveball – the ‘smartbook’, which manufacturers plan to market as a smartphone/laptop companion. The tactic has been used before unsuccessfully by such companies as Palm, but Qualcomm is sure that consumers will have room in their hearts (and their wallets) for a smartbook.
But that doesn’t mean they’re handicapped. The Snapdragon smartbooks will have 8-10 hour batteries, WWAN, Wi-Fi, GPS, HD vido encoding and Bluetooth. Resolutions are expected to run as high as 1280 x 768, which should beautifully display the 3D graphics the CPU is known for.
How about software? Engadget reports that Linux or a Linux derivative will be involved, with a UI based on some kind of quickboot functionality. If I had to guess, I’d push Moblin 2.0 as a possible candidate, but for now nobody knows for sure.
So why aren’t these just Snapdragon-based MIDs? You can’t quite tell by the photo, but these screens are expected at 10- to 12-inches. Their QWERTY keyboards won’t be full size, but will definitely be big.
“Acer, Compal, Samsung, ASUS, LG, Toshiba [and] Wistron” have been named as possible smartbook manufacturers, and the first devices are expected by the end of this year. Qualcomm was silent about price, but pricing will definitely determine the fate of the supposed new category.
It looks like TheRegister’s flowchart needs another node. Check back soon for more on the Qualcomm smartbook!