A few years ago Qualcomm coined the term “smartbook” to describe netbook-like mini-laptops with smartphone-like chips that enabled 3G connectivity, always on internet access, and all-day battery life. Then a company called Smartbook AG, which had been selling laptops in Germany under the Smartbook moniker cried foul and said that Qualcomm was violating its trademark.
Flash forward to… well, now and it turns out that the German Patent and Trademark Office has ruled in Qualcomm’s favor. But you know what? The point is probably moot, because let’s face it… the term never really caught on and neither did the products.
While a handful of companies including HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba showed off devices in 2010 that could be described as Smartbooks, the Compaq Airlife 100 was only sold in a handful of markets, the Lenovo Skylight never made it to market at all, and Toshiba never really called its AC100 Android netbook a smartbook.
Qualcomm introduced the smartbook concept before the tech industry went gaga for tablets, and now with virtually every major consumer electronics company throwing its hat into the tablet space, it doesn’t seem like there’s much room for smartbooks. A few companies are still exploring the space. NEC introduced a 7 inch Android netbook today with an NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, and the Motorola Atrix 4G smartphone comes with an optional laptop dock that effectively turns the phone into something Qualcomm probably would have called a smartbook — even if it doesn’t use a Qualcomm chip.
But honestly, I’m not even sure if Qualcomm cares about winning this particular patent battle anymore.
via Netbook News.de