Long, long ago, in the paleolithic age of computing, c. 1985, the laptop computer in the form of Data General (remember them?) One was born. The lap in question needed to be especially strong and muscular and there was always the attendant danger of going sterile from all the heat dissipated. Somewhere along the way, somebody figured out that the ideal portable computer had to be about the size of a notebook, and thus the Notebook computer was born. Fast forward to the late years of the first decade of the 21st century; it seems that human laps were rapidly weakening and computer-generated sterility was identified as a looming global disaster. So c. 2008, the push towards the 'netbook' began: a device that could be carried around and used mainly for light stuff like checking email, surfing the web, and so on. But the netbook is for sissies and girly-men, as Uber-Gubernator Arnold Schwarzenegger would rightly assert. I mean, would any guy who drives a Hummer carry a girly netbook? Real men have brains and would like to carry an object that recognizes this critical quality that they possess. And so we finally arrive at the threshold of the 'smartbook' which will fill the yawning gap between smartphones and netbooks. And there are any other gaps out there that need filling, like the gap between a cellphone and a pinhead, for instance, just let us know, and we'll make sure it doesn't remain unfilled.
Glen Burchers, consumer marketing director at Freescale Semiconductor, says those features could include all-day battery life, instant-on capability and "persistent connectivity," and specs such as an ARM-based chip core, a Linux OS version like Google's Android, and, most importantly to consumers, a price point significantly lower than today's netbooks.
"We fully expect $199 devices with 8.9-inch screens, Wi-Fi, full-sized keyboard, 8-hour battery life, 512MB of RAM and 4 to 8GB of [solid-state] storage by the end of the year," Burchers said.So how many devices will the average person -- girly-man or not -- need to carry? You'll have to choose among:
- Mobile phone
- Palm/Windows CE-type Organizer (rendered obsolete by smartphone)
- Video camcorder
- Personal Media Player (MP3, etc.)
- Game player