HP has been working with wireless carriers to sell subsidized 3G enabled netbooks for a while now, but so far all of those netbooks have been powered by Intel Atom processors. But The Street reports that the company may introduce its first ARM-based mini-laptop, or “smartbook” based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform soon.
I had the chance to ask an HP exec about this possibility recently, and the most he would tell me was that HP looks at all the technologies that are available when making future product decisions. Which is to say, the company hasn’t ruled out making ARM-based products, but they also aren’t announcing anything, or even confirming that any serious research has been conducted in the area.
The Street’s information is based on a quote from an analyst, who claims to have some inside info. But it could be bogus. Or it could be real.
What I seriously doubt is that HP or any major netbook maker that has a background working with Intel would start making products exclusively with ARM-based processor. I think if HP does produce a Smartbook based on the Snapdragon platform, it would be sold in parallel with more capable netbooks. Customers interested in a 3G enabled, low power, instant-on device could pick up a Smartbook from HP, while those looking for a small and light weight computer that can still run a full version of Windows would be able to purchase an HP Mini 110 or similar device.
Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe today’s netbooks will be gone a year from now and we’ll only be talking about smartbooks and 11.6″ and larger notebooks. What do you think?