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Whether a mobile computer with a 11.6" screen is still a netbook or rather a subnotebook is a question one can argue or just don't care about. Qualcomm calls this device Smartbook to bring in another designation, but what's way more interesting is that it's powered by the ARM-based Snapdragon processor and runs the Android operating system, which is built on top of the Linux kernel.
Obvious reasons are that neither the upcoming Windows 7 nor Microsoft's state of the art netbook OS Windows XP (originally released in 2001) currently support the ARM architecture, which offers significant benefits.
For example, very low power consumption so you can expect 8 to 10 hours of battery life with a 3-cell battery as Sascha of Netbook News points out in his first hands-on video and the active stand-by mode for constantly being connected as JKK of jkkmobile tells us in his brief introduction of the upcoming Snapdragon Eee PC.
Looks like ASUSTeK is not only finished with Linux, but even feels embarrassed about its Linux netbook adventure from the past, as Asus' chairman, Jonney Shih, feels the need to apologize for the Eee PC running Google Android at the Qualcomm booth:
Frankly speaking ... I would like to apologize that, if you look at Asus booth, we've decided not to display this product. I think you may have seen the devices on Qualcomm's booth but actually, I think this is a company decision so far we would not like to show this device. That's what I can tell you so far. I would like to apologize for that.
In his reaction to this incident Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (a.k.a. Cyber Cynic) over at the Computerword blog says something I don't have to add more to:
So, if you want to see Linux netbooks, now is the time to let your vendors and retailers know that you want real choice... If we don't... Well, don't blame me if in 2010, your only netbook choices are crippleware Windows 7 netbooks or $500+ netbook/laptops with Windows 7 Home Premium.
1 If you really dare to look at the campaign's website click here.