CES 2010 : HP Previews Snapdragon-based Smartbook

Somehow, we missed this one last Friday; hardware mammoth HP demoed a small device that looked like a netbook, is likely to cost less than one and will certainly have more features than any of those Intel-based micro-laptops currently on the market.

Intel has until now dominated the Netbook market with tens of millions of units sold in the last year alone, fuelled by the recession and the fact that netbooks sell for less than £200 a unit.

We did preview one of the first, if not the first ARM-based Smartbook, the legendary Pink Pegatron model that was presented to us as a prototype back in August 2009. Ever since, we've been yearning to get our hands on one for a proper review.

The one HP presented at CES 2010 was again a prototype but appeared to be much more solid and it boosts every features that you might expect from a smartbook; 12-hours battery life, always-on, built in 3G, GPS, WiFi, accelerometer and the HP even has a multi touchscreen.

As expected the Smartbook has been partnered with Google's Android operating system, a team that's gradually being called upon to replace the Wintel duopoly often found on Netbooks.

Qualcomm has already confirmed that a 1.3GHz 45nm version of Snapdragon will be available by the end of 2010 with a dual core 1.5GHz model out by 2011.

Our Comments

Intel's archrival, AMD, has given up on that segment, preferring to concentrate on competing with Intel's more lucrative CULV laptop category, where margins are higher and number of units sold, possibly lower. Ironically, the new Snapdragon processors will be built in AMD's former foundries, now part of Global foundries, and could finally bring another competitor to AMD and Intel.

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