May 13 2010

First Chrome OS Device to be Released

The first device running Chrome OS, the open source operating system by Google, is supposed to be introduced by Acer in two weeks, according to multiple sources.

Acer is supposed to show off its new device at Computex Taipei, a yearly computer and electronics show that opens on June 1. Chrome OS was designed for netbooks, smartbooks, and tablets. Acer has said previously that it would have a Chrome OS netbook ready by the middle of 2010. There currently is no word about what the device is going to be.

Other netbook manufacturers have expressed interest in working with Chrome OS, including Dell, though it said that it was still evaluating Chrome OS.

What is unclear right now is the relationship between Chrome OS and Android. Android is intended for mobile devices, like smartphones, but some companies have expressed interest in using it on tablets as well. Google co-founder Sergey Brin says that the two will eventually merge.

Via CNET, image via Google.

Mar 30 2010

Sharp and KDDI Announce New Multitouch 3G Sharp IS01 MID

sharp kddi is01 1 540x312

Japanese firms KDDI and Sharp are showing off a new pair of Android MIDs, likely to tempt the placement of the moniker ‘smartbook‘ from those with a taste for such language. It’s called the Sharp IS01, and it’s basically a tiny 3G enabled netbook rocking the Qualcomm Snapdragon, a 5-inch 960 x 480 display with multitiouch functionality, QWERTY keyboard, and a host of other features including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

It comes with some Japan-only quirks as well – a 1-Seg TV tuner, IrDA, and a pair of cameras (5.27 megapixel on the back and 0.43 megapixel on the front for video calls). You can use either microSD or the onboards memory allocation of 3 GB.

The Sharp IS01 will run for 310 minutes of talking or up to 200 hours of standby time. This October, consumers should be getting a taste, and developers will be looking at their own version as early as May 2010.

Via SlashGear.

Mar 15 2010

Qi Hardware’s Ben Nanonote Hobbyist Toy

In the world of small and portable computers, there are netbooks. Then there are smartbooks.  And then there is the Ben Nanonote.  This little “handheld laptop” is a class on its own.  Looking like a cross between a Nintendo DS and an electronic dictionary, the device is supposed to be an easily hackable Linux computer.  The goal: developers will turn it into some sort of media player, offline dictionary/encyclopedia, or some other random device.  Here are the specs:

  • 3″ 320×240 Resolution LCD
  • 336 MHz XBurst JZ4720 CPU
  • 32 MB RAM
  • 2 GB Flash Memory
  • Expandable MicroSD Card Slot
  • No Wi-Fi
  • One Massive Bevel

There really is not that much incentive for people to buy these, except for the $99 price tag. But even that can quickly be overshadowed by the fact that the Nanonote is easily outperformed by a smartphone.  Still if tinkering is your thing, it might be worth a look.

Via Engadget

Feb 23 2010

ABI Research Projects 163 Million Smartbook Sales By 2015

Smartbooks will be making some crazy gains by 2015, according to ABI Research. But what the heck is a smartbook?

ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr has an answer that does a good job of distinguishing smartbooks from netbooks:

“As ABI Research defines it, a smartbook is a low-powered device running a mobile operating system that is always connected, either via Wi-Fi or (more often) using cellular or mobile broadband. Smartbooks can take many different shapes. They are a subset of MIDs (mobile Internet devices) and netbooks, and address the same potential users, usage, pricing, and market needs. The difference is that they don’t use x86 processors.”

ABI’s new research study claims that 163 million smartbooks will ship in 2015. It’s a pretty long bet, but considering that the first smartbooks appeared in 2008, it will be an ambitious target for manufacturers to hit.

If vendors bring smartbook prices below $200, the gains could be even greater.

Via ABIResearch.

Feb 13 2010

HP Smartbook vs Apple iPad

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)
2.2 lbs
Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
(1 GHz)
16 GB internal storage
512 MB flash storage
Android OS
Supports Flash
Folded design

9.7 in touch screen
802.11n Wi-fi (optional 3G/Bluetooth)
1.5 lbs
Apple A4 chip (1 GHz)
16, 32, or 64 GB of storage
No Flash support
720p HD video support
On-screen keyboard only

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.

Via PCWorld image via CNET

Feb 12 2010

German Court Bans Lenovo From Using Term “Smartbook”

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 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.

Via PCWorld.

Jan 5 2010

Freescale Showcases Affordable $199 Tablet

Amid all these Apple tablet rumors, it is sometimes difficult to remember that other companies make decent tablets, often with very decent prices as well. Freescale Semiconductor has showcased designs for an affordable tablet computer which will be sold later this year.

The Freescale tablet will feature a seven-inch touchscreen, a built-in 3-megapixel camera, and sensors for ambient light. It will come with 512MB RAM and 64GB of storage through microSD. It will run Android or Linux OS. These specs are not all that bad, especially considering that it costs $199.

It will be designed to run a web browser, email client, an RSS reader, social networking tool, and an office suite. It is set to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show later this week. The tablet currently does not have a manufacturer but once it does, this charmingly priced little tablet could show up as early as late summer 2010.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

Nov 20 2009

Why Buy A Pegatron Smartbook? AQUIC.

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.

Via Shanzai.

Nov 12 2009

AT&T and Lenovo Team Up to Put New Smartbook on the Market

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs has recently announced AT&T and Lenovo will be teaming up to unveil a smartbook that uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.

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.

Via Von.

Image via XannyTech.


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