HP hasn’t yet committed to bringing an ARM-based smartbook to market. But the company is showing off a prototype mini-laptop that’s been outfitted with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the Google Android operating system, and some software and case design tweaks to make the whole system more usable.

In terms of case design, at first glance the prototype looks like an HP Mini 110. But that’s really just the keyboard and display. If you look more closely, you’ll see that there are no Fn keys, since they would serve no purpose under Google Android. And instead of your typical left and right buttons on the sides of the touchpad, HP has added buttons for functions such as Home, or Back.

Since there’s no cursor in Google Chrome, the touchpad navigation is also a bit different from usual. For instance, you can swipe to the left or right to switch from one area of you Android desktop to the next. You can also tap the touchscreen display, which might be easier.

HP developed a number of custom applications including a music player and a dock-style application launcher to run on top of Android. Right now the device doesn’t connect to the Android Market to download new apps, but you should be able to install programs you’ve downloaded elsewhere.

While HP says there are no plans to actually mass produce a Snapdragon/Android device, it does look like the company put a bit of time and thought into the project. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw this prototype, or something like it, turn into a real product in the not too distant future.

You can check out a few more photos and a video overview of the device after the break.

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9 replies on “Closer look at HP’s smartbook prototype – Video”

  1. As cool as snapdragon is, OMG, anything based on the ARM Cortex A9, is going to beat it into submission. Snapdragon is based on ARM Cortex A8, which is an in order, multi-issue processor, the Cortex A9 is a out of order, multi-issue processor, and is what you see in the Tegra 2… According to the guys at Anandtech that’s a huge difference, and considering what I’ve seen, I’ve got to agree. Still, Michael is right, Intel is in for the fight of their lives as these smaller ARM processors become truly viable for large device mobile computing. Plus some of the Linux front ends you’ve been showing us make me think I wouldn’t miss Windows very much once the app support is there.

    And I disagree that I’d only use a system like these smartbooks for surfing the web, etc. I totally need office integration, either through open office or something offline, and VPN support, because something like this is going to be my work companion very soon now. I am truly sick of walking around with a pad of paper in the second decade of the twenty second century. Combine that with the bonus that I could do my school work on it as well…

  2. i could have sworn that android has a cursor that will show up if one connect a bluetooth mouse or similar.

    oh and days of standby?!

  3. I want one – at least when it’s no more than 2-300$. I’d also like to see buttons in front of the touchpad, not on the side.

  4. HP smart book Prototype looks really Cool. One good thing I liked about this laptop is that its weight is very light so it is easy to carry.

  5. Sooner or later HP and all the other big players would have to produce smartbooks on a large scale.

    Simple logic. When people seeks netbooks, they seek portability. From years ago, weight has been the main isue. The lighter the machine, the more pricier and both consumers and manufacturers chased coming out with lighter machines. They still do.

    Now, we have the Smartbook. Its abt 700g in weight and affordable. Same 10 inch screen. The N450 netbook on the other hand is getting heavier. For example, the Dell Inspirion Mini 10 is 1.37KG (nearly 1.4KG). No idea why netbooks are getting heavier instead of getting lighter

    Do you think people are going to bother to buy a big fat and heavy 1.4KG machine or a 700g slim and sexy machine?

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