Qualcomm Smartbooks: Snapdragon netbook & smartphone challenge

Qualcomm have been sharing their plans to take on Intel and the netbook market with a range of Snapdragon-powered Smartbooks.  Bearing a similar design and ethos to the Wistron demo unit spotted back in March, the Smartbooks will include Qualcomm's 1GHz processor, WWAN, WiFi and Bluetooth, together with GPS and up to ten hours runtime.

Since Snapdragon is known for its graphical capabilities, there's no surprise in hearing that the Smartbooks will also support HD video encoding and screen resolutions up to WXGA 1280 x 768; Qualcomm expect screen sizes of roughly 10 to 12 inches.  The WWAN connectivity could be used for voice calls as well as data access, and the OS will be Linux based but with a "well-designed homescreen" and touch-sensitivity that will present most of the commonly used tasks (internet access, etc) on the top level.

Qualcomm are being upfront about their intention to "cannibalize the netbook market", positioning Smartbooks as instant-on companion devices to regular notebooks.  The company has declined to confirm which manufacturers are building Smartbooks – though ASUS, Acer, Compal, Samsung, LG, Toshiba and Wistron have all been tipped – but expects the first retail models by the end of 2009.