eCafe Slim also outed, only 0.8-inch thick
Hercules has introduced its eCafe EX HD and eCafe Slim HD 10.1-inch smartbooks that deliver long battery life as well as mobility. The pair differs from netbooks in that they run ARM Cortex A8 processors as well as a lightweight customization of the Linux OS. This combination helps the eCafe EX HD to deliver up to 13 hours of battery life and a near-instant boot time from standby of only 4 seconds.
Update arrives much later than promised
Toshiba has finally posted an Android 2.2 update for its AC100 smartbook, several months after the promised time-frame of an October release. The update brings the standard set of Froyo features, including Flash support, along with Toshiba's own app market and additional support for the Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities of the 3G version.
Qualcomm wins case, can keep smartbook title
Qualcomm scored an important if now largely symbolic victory in its dispute with Smartbook AG over the "smartbook" label. Germany's Patent and Trademark Office ruled that Smartbook AG's two trademarks on the formal name couldn't be applied to the generic term, which Qualcomm applied to any small, ultralight notebook using a cellphone-class processor and OS. Qualcomm can now use the term freely as long as it isn't in the formal context.
Google-branded ARM-based Inventec enroute
Google is reportedly set to launch a Google-branded smartbook this month running its new Chrome OS. The ARM-based smartbook is purported to be built by Inventec, a Taiwanese-based electronics manufacturer. It is expected to have 60,000-70,000 units ready for the initial launch run. According to the rumors, the sales model for the Google-branded device will be online only.
Qualcomm says iPad filled in smartbook role
Qualcomm chief Paul Jacobs made remarks today indirectly acknowledging that the iPad had all but eliminated the smartbook category. During an event, he argued that tablets like Apple's had displaced the smartbook category Qualcomm had been trying to make through devices like the Lenovo Skylight by achieving the same goal. A tablet fulfills the same role of a device with a persistent Internet connection and all-day battery life, he said.
Toshiba Android smartbook goes live
Toshiba's UK wing today finally started taking orders for its first Android device, the AC100. Its smartbook unveiled in June is available in its Wi-Fi-only version for £293 ($451). The core model ships with 8GB of storage, although Toshiba's site incorrectly mentions 128GB.
Lenovo and Toshiba getting faster CPUs
Lenovo's smartbook has been pushed back again while Toshiba is now turning its attention to tablets, rumors asserted today. The former's already delayed Skylight is now believed to be delayed again, to the end of the year, but will get a major performance upgrade in the process. It had originally been scheduled to get a single-core 1GHz Snapdragon processor but should now leap to a dual-core 1.5GHz version in return for the delay.
Toshiba AC100 gets Tegra 250, Android
Toshiba's last portable launch of the day is as equally unique as the others, as it signals the company's first step into smartbooks. The AC100 is just 0.8 inches thick and weighs 1.9 pounds but should be capable of more than an Intel notebook through its processor. Through a 1GHz, dual-core Tegra 250, it should handle HD video but still survive for up to seven hours on a charge.
Lenovo delays Skylight and U1 again for Google OS
Lenovo settled questions around its ultra-mobile PCs on Friday by planing a switch in OS for the Skylight smartbook and the IdeaPad U1 detachable tablet. The two will drop Lenovo's in-house Linux OS for Android in what's treated as a reaction to "market conditions and user feedback." Future plans now involve creating an entire ecosystem of Android devices that would include devices like the LePhone.
Lenovo, others held up by Flash optimizations
Adobe's repeated delays for Flash are a large part of why smartbooks haven't launched yet, ARM marketing VP Ian Drew said this week. Optimizations needed to make the plugin work have prevented the Lenovo Skylight and similar ARM-based mini notebooks from meeting their original spring targets. The Skylight, for example, now may not ship until July.
Dell to make ARM-based smartbooks with Google UI
Yet another Dell roadmap today has slipped out plans for full smartbooks. The convertible tablet Sparta and conventional Athens should both use ARM chips and either Android or pure Linux. Unusually, they may have 4:3 ratio, 11-inch 1024x768 displays, although they should have the usual options for 3G and Bluetooth.
Lenovo sees own smartbook as poor vs iPad
Lenovo's decision to delay the Skylight until July may have stemmed directly from competitive pressure from the iPad, according to an alleged leak. While the company hasn't explained it publicly, notebook industry contacts said Lenovo isn't happy with the performance versus the Apple tablet and that both the control and feature set aren't as strong as they could be.
HP Compaq Airlife 100 gets 12-hour runtime
HP ahead of Mobile World Congress has confirmed the Airlife 100. The company's first smartbook, the 10-inch touchscreen system is much like the concept design shown at CES and switches away from x86 to ARM, likely a 1GHz Snapdragon. The switch, along with the use of a 16GB flash drive, gives the system 12 hours of battery life (and 10 days of standby) even though the design is thinner than a typical Atom-based Mini netbook.
ARM wants to power netbook PCs in the future
Chipmaker ARM believes netbooks will make up 90 percent of the PC market, according to the company's chief executive Warren East. ARM is the biggest competitor to Intel's Atom CPUs in the netbook market, and East believes the company will not rely on Windows support in order to be successful. In a typical netbook, the main chip is usually an Intel or AMD device, with two or three ARM microprocessors for features such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and East says ARM is trying to change that.
HP slate and Android smartbook in works
(Updated with smartbook photos) As rumored, Microsoft at its CES 2010 keynote showed off an HP-designed tablet computer. The "slate" is completely new and lacks a physical keyboard, instead relying on capacitive touch. It also runs on Windows 7, sports multi-touch and adjusts for the orientation of the display, suggesting it has both an x86-based processor and an accelerometer.
Lenovo Skylight uses Snapdragon, 3G
Lenovo this morning became the first company to release a computer in the newly coined smartbook category. The Skylight has the 10-inch screen of a netbook but uses a 1GHz Snapdragonprocessor that lets it defy a number of expectations compared to an Atom-based system. It not only gets about 10 hours of real-world use but is thinner than some smartphones, weighs less than 2 pounds and can play HD video, even when in a web browser.
Qualcomm banned from using brand in Germany
German computer maker Smartbook AG has continued to threaten companies, including EE Times, that have been using the term "smartbook." The manufacturer recently sought a restraining order against the chip maker Qualcomm. Although Qualcommm and other companies, such as Freescale, use the term smartbook as a generic reference to portable Internet-ready devices that fall between the typical classifications for netbooks and smartphones, Smartbook AG has argued that it owns the sole rights to the trademark.
Lenovo smartbook uses Snapdragon chip
Qualcomm at its investor conference today showed what should be one of the first production smartbooks. The Lenovo design (pictured) would sit in between netbooks and smartphones in size and will run one of Qualcomm's own Snapdragon processors. It's similarly expected to use AT&T-based 3G for Internet access beyond Wi-Fi.
Qualcomm sales restrained
Qualcomm can no longer sell products that carry the "smartbook" name in Germany, as Smartbook AG has filed a restraining order against Qualcomm, Digitimes said on Tuesday. If Qualcomm fails to comply, it faces an equivalent fine of nearly $358,000 or an arrest for contempt. Smartbook AG CEO Dirk Pick says Qualcomm's German website, which divert users to the US page, are blocked to Internet users with German IP addresses.
Qualcomm netbook due in 09
Qualcomm has confirmed its Snapdragon-based smartphone and Smartbook netbook will launch in its home market of Korea later this year, according to a Monday Telecoms Korea report. The company is apparently engaged in talks with the country's local mobile operators to launch the products. The Smartbook will become available in the fall from Taiwanese companies, while the Snapdragon handset will come from a Korean phone maker late this year or early next year, said Qualcomm marketing director Jordan Lim.