Qualcomm Snapdragon powered Smartbook demo

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?



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10 replies on “Rumor: HP working on a Qualcomm Snapdragon powered Smartbook”

  1. I can’t help thinking the really good ARM-based stuff is going to come from companies that aren’t already invested in the Windows PC business — so that Microsoft isn’t in any position to twist their arms.

  2. HP is still producing PA-RISC machines, although they stopped development
    a few years back. Their ‘heavy iron’ runs either PA-RISC or IA64.
    They even once made laptops with the PA-RISC processor.

    Also, Windows once upon a time ran on the Alpha machines (64-bit risc) –
    and HP now owns Alpha.

    So there is no telling what moves HP might make –
    they have a background in nearly everything.

    1. Honestly though, the biggest hurdle to success for these devices remains the high cost of wireless plans, and wireless provider lock-in. If I could buy a reasonably priced prepaid wireless internet plan to go along with my netbook/smartbook, I would do it in an instant. However, I absolutely cannot justify a $70-$100 monthly fee locked to a 2 year contract. It’s highway robbery.

      1. Similar deal as those “pre-paid minutes” cell phones?
        Like, pre-pay xyz Gbytes and/or abc minutes – “re-charge” on your schedule?

        That should be doable when we have a decent <$200 retail NetBook
        on bubble packed cards in the grocery store check-out line for $75-$100.

  3. but then nvidia showed tegra in an HP netbook case…

    So maybe tegra inside???

    Would be good as firefox 3.5 seems to run very nicely indeed.

  4. I can’t comment on ARM-based, but I can say the a finally found a fit with a 8.9″ Netbook, with Windows XP and Linux. I had a 12″ notebook, but did not find it near as convenient as the smaller, portable netbook. I use several usb devices, such a extra drives and a DVD writer when needed. I also have a desktop which I rarely use now. George

  5. I can confirm this rumor right from the source…
    There is a new roadmap around, that should include such a device. I wish i could say more about it but i guess we have to wait a little bit longer 🙂

  6. Remember folks, HP Has a long history with ARM Chips, they run their Ipaqs. Of course the Journada was a proto-smartbook, so they have plenty of experience in this area.

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