On of CES' more interesting launches will be the Lenovo Smartbook, the first confirmed model of the new segment. While Lenovo themselves have been frustratingly quiet regarding the Smartbook's specifications, and the segment as a whole is relatively poorly understood, a recent interview with Qualcomm's Steve Mollenkopf has got us wondering just how the platform will be differentiated from regular netbooks. Mollenkopf describes them as representing a new paradigm: "a smartphone-type operating system, but for a two-handed device".
"We're trying to enable a smart-phone-type operating system, but for a two-handed device. If you look at netbooks, they really give you the same user experience that you have on a laptop. But what we think is more meaningful is to be always connected and to have that same experience that you have on a smart phone. There are a number of different companies working on operating systems to utilize that, and we're working with them." Steve Mollenkopf, president QCT, Qualcomm
At its most basic that suggests a smartphone-style environment with full-sized input controls and display. However Mollenkopf's reference to developing operating systems that are designed to be always-connected and made for netbook-sized hardware is something reasonably new.
So far the alternative OS field has entrants from Intel - in the shape of Moblin - and Google - with Google Chrome OS - then various other smaller participants. Of them all, Google Chrome OS probably has the most obvious cloud-connected remit, with all of its apps being web-based; however since Mollenkopf fails to name any specific developers (and the Lenovo Smartbook launching well in advance of Chrome OS' availability), we're still in the dark as to who exactly the company has been working with.