We’ve seen netbooks flourish for the last two years. These cheap and relatively underpowered mini-laptops have been super portable. Add the fact that they can do almost all the basic computer user’s needs at an affordable price, so it’s really no surprise that netbooks have been the number one product for many computer manufacturers.
But it looks like in 2010 we’ll be seeing the portable computing landscape changed yet again. Lots of talk about a new class of mini-laptops running ARM-based processors have been on the news a lot lately. Since they’re running ARM, they won’t be able to run Windows XP or Windows 7. They’re all going to be on Linux. However, they’ll be able to last for a long time on a single charge, and some will be featuring integrated 3G connectivity and HD video acceleration features.
You also get the ability to receive emails, instant messages, and other data even while the computer is in sleep mode. Basically, you are going to get the best of both worlds in terms of notebooks and smartphones, hence the name “smartbooks.”
The president of ARM Korea says that as many as 20 ARM-based smartbooks could hit the streets in the first quarter of 2010.
Most, but not all of these devices will likely be sold by mobile broadband providers at subsidized prices. That means you may be able to pick up a smartbook for less than $200 up front. Some might even be free. But you’ll probably end up paying up to $60 per month to actually use the 3G wireless capabilities, which means that over the course of a 2 year service contract you could end up paying between $1400 and $1600 for a device that looks like a laptop, but which has a slower processor and won’t run Windows.
Are you willing to put up with Linux if it means that you’ll be able to get more out of a single charge? Give me your thoughts!