A quick glance at Lenovo’s Skylight smartbook is enough to tell you that it’s basically a notebook — but that it’s also a bit different from any notebook you’ve ever seen. While the Skylight has the same 10 inch display as most netbooks on the market, it’s super-slim, has an unusual curved shape, and a few distinct features including an enormous touchpad and an integrated USB flash drive that pops up and away from the keyboard.

Lenovo’s Design Matters blog has a detailed account of just how the Skylight got its unique shape. Basically, the company tapped Richard Sapper for the project. He’s the same guy that designed the original ThinkPad. They didn’t give him much time at all — just over a month to come up with a design. Turns out that as far as Lenovo’s concerned, he nailed it, because the finished product looks an awful lot like the prototype.

I learned a few interesting things from the article. First, Lenovo was working on the Skylight as early as 2008. Sapper was brought on board in November of that year, and clearly he couldn’t have been the first person to join the project. Second, that flip-up USB stick could have been something else entirely. Sapper also suggested that Lenovo could place a telephone handset in that space, which would allow the smartbook to double as a phone, which would certainly make the idea of paying $40 to $60 per month for a 3G plan a lot more bearable.

What do you think? Setting aside the question of whether you plan to buy an ARM-based smartbook with a custom Linux operating system and a 3G service plan, do you like the design of the Skylight?

I’ve posted a few pictures of the finished product after the break.

via SlashGear

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11 replies on “How the Lenovo Skylight smartbook got its look”

  1. I don’t like the design. Too much bezel and it doesn’t look good like a notebook should. That downs forehead is just too much.

  2. I hate it. Wouldn’t be caught dead with it. Then again, that’s just me.

  3. If it was bright green I would say it came from Leapfrog (makes learning toys for kids). The flash drive thing should have been a standard type USB key behind a door. Why use a custom distro? Seriously limits what can be added without borking the system. I am looking for a “smartbook” to buy but this isn’t it.

  4. Apart from the flip-up, it looks ok. But why the wide bezel at the top, it could/should easily be reduced by 2-3 cm.

  5. Sorry but….. although it’s nice looking…..

    ….. Why the heck can’t we have a touch screen and no bezel to make these devices almost coat pocket fitting…..

    ….. please somebody make something the size of a Sigmarion3 with touch screen instead of trackpad

  6. Pretty, but form over function. Why doesn’t it (and all the other netbooks) have a bigger screen and a narrow bezel? There’s nothing better about a smaller screen than you can fit into a device, except cost.

  7. I like the design. I like the placement of the USB flash drive and how it pops open. If it is low price, I think it would do well; if the price is lower if one buys a 3G plan or pay full price with a pay as you go 3g data plan. 🙂

  8. Great design. Less than two pounds, thin as a cell phone and maintains all day battery life. It’s really hitting what mobility should be in today’s 10″ computers.

    The ridiculous amount of screen bezel above the screen should of been used for something. But this seemed to of allowed for a spacious keyboard and touchpad on the bottom half so it may have been worth it.

    Price needs to be better and it needs a office suite but that’s not the designs fault =P.

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