The "smartbook" aspires to put the smartphone into the laptop. Will it be able to elevate an Apple iPhone or Motorola Droid-like experience to a larger device, or is it just more marketing mumbo-jumbo?
Two companies are hoping that the smartbook will turn out to be more than just another quickly-forgotten device sales pitch. Qualcomm and Freescale, which are both supplying key silicon technology for the devices, are pushing to make smartbooks different enough from laptops--and Netbooks--that consumers will take notice.
The first tangible evidence of smartbooks to come will be seen at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, where Lenovo, among others, is expected to show, if not roll out, smartbook designs.
One pesky question won't go away, however. Why go out of the way to call it a smartbook? Doesn't Netbook suffice? (And it can potentially be very confusing for consumers since both terms have "book" in them.) On one level, the nomenclature choice is simply to counter the Microsoft-Intel Netbook juggernaut: Another Netbook among dozens already on the market won't draw much attention.
But at a deeper level, the two companies are trying to make the smartbook substantively different from a Netbook. Qualcomm sees it, in essence, as a large smartphone, which leaves the outdated Windows desktop experience in the dust. "A Netbook in our view is just a cheap laptop that runs Windows. We see the smartbook cannibalizing the Netbook.… Read more