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Hands on with HP's Snapdragon-powered Android 'smartbook'

by Tarinder Sandhu on 10 January 2010, 03:35

Tags: Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ)

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ARM, Qualcomm and Google are doing their level best to derail Intel's plans to dominate the small, cheap laptop market that's currently characterised by the burgeoning netbook.

Their hopes rest with the smartbook - an always-on, always-connected device that's an extension of a smartphone rather than a shrunken-down notebook. Smartbooks and netbooks share a fairly similar form factor, though.

The nascent smartbook segment got a shot-in-the-arm at CES 2010 this week as industry goliaths Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard demonstrated Qualcomm Snapdragon-equipped machines running Google's Android operating system.

We got a chance to look at HP's model in the company's meeting rooms. Even though it looks like a netbook on first glance, the prototype device features a low-power ARM-based chip as opposed to Intel's x86-based Atom.

The frugal power-draw enables the smartbook to run for at least 12 hours from a slimline battery. Where the device really scores is with the smartphone-esque always-on functionality, where the smartbook becomes instantly responsive once the lid is (re)opened. Qualcomm also bundles in a modem with 3G, WiFi, and GPS, ensuring that it's an Internet-centric device.

Built from the ground up to be a smartbook rather than a derivation of a Windows-powered netbook, regular 'function' keys are eschewed in favour of dedicated buttons for menus, browsing and search.

As with other Android devices, the prototype HP has a multi-touch-screen that's reasonably responsive when dragging items on the desktop.

We envisage that smartbooks will gain some traction in 2010, especially if they're available at netbook-beating prices. There's intrinsic merit in the platform, we think, so it will be interesting to see which company can offer a genuinely compelling device this year, and whether it will be based on Tegra or Snapdragon.

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HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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Now that has taken my eye. If it's priced lower than current netbooks then count me in
Now that has taken my eye. If it's priced lower than current netbooks then count me in

Agreed, i love my phones however i would like all the functionality in a bigger device like this!. I dont want a netbook or a laptop anymore but this is something really interesting :)
Count me in to, just needs the price to be right and i'll grab one :)