Jun 1st, 2009

Although the battle for the Netbook trademark has officially come to an end, Qualcomm is straying from the term. In the (first) video shown below the Qualcomm representative refers to the device as an ASUS Android Netbook, but when and if this device reaches market it will likely be called a Smartbook – a combination of the words “Smartphone” and “Netbook”. Last week Qualcomm unveiled a new website – HelloSmartbook.com – and it appears this “Smartbook” brand name will eventually be plastered on all “Netbooks” running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset.

The chip is incredibly small and efficient, creating low enough current consumption that a cooling fan isn’t necessary. That contributes to the overall thin and lightweight form, and should also account for extended battery life. The device demonstrated is indeed an Android Netbook/Smartbook and for those questioning the purpose of such a creation, perhaps this will change some of your minds.

Displaying a video clip from the movie “Transformers”, you can see the playback is amazingly clear. The Snapdragon chipset can encode and decode HD video at 720p and future generations will be 1080p capable. Again these chips are branded “Snapdragon ” and the version displayed is a 3-chip solution with some of the following features:

  • 1 GHz embedded apps processor
  • 600 MHz embedded DSP for application work
  • Worldwide modem (can take it to Europe, USA, Japan, etc… depending on RF configuration)
  • Hardware acceleration
  • Embedded GPS
  • Chip is the size of a few fingernails

I can understand the concerns of some of the Android Netbook haters out there who say it is pointless, but if you can give me an incredibly efficient, compact and lightweight device that is stocked with Google Apps, Android Market and has this type of multimedia capabilities while giving me continued and unrestricted web connectivity, I’m not sure I would need or want much else in many scenarios. Especially if the price is right.

In another video we learn about “active standby” – even when the Smartbook is closed and/or off. It is still connected to the Internet, presumably downloading updates, notifications, syncing and running apps in the background just as your mobile phone would. And the battery life on this thing is supposed to be phenomenal.

These are just prototyped demos but supposedly we’ll see these bad boys hit the market later in the year. Will you be standing in line to get one? I won’t be standing in line but I can tell you now that come the 2009 holiday shopping season these things will be FLYING off the shelves, and I’ll be aiding their take off.

So the battle begins… Netbooks vs. Smartbooks!

[Tweaktown via jkOnTheRun, EngadgetChina]

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