Qualcomm teased us with a brief glimpse of the Lenovo’s first smartbook using the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor a few months ago. Now Lenovo has pulled back the veil on the device it’s calling the Lenovo Skylight.

At first glance, the Skylight looks like a typical netbook. It has a 10 inch display and a nearly full-sized keyboard. And honestly, if you want to call it a netbook I don’t think too many people would correct you. But while netbooks generally come with Windows 7 and Intel Atom processors these days, the Lenovo Skylight is something different.

This machine uses the ARM-based Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset which provides always-connected access. That means you can receive alerts about incoming email, IM, or social networking messages even when the lid is closed, much the same way you could with a smartphone. But because the Snapdragon chipset uses less power than most x86-based processors, the Skylight is expected to get up to 10 hours of battery life.

What the Skylight won’t do is run Windows. Instead, Lenovo is shipping the laptop with a custom operating system based on Linux. It has a user interface based around a series of customizable widgets for interacting with web services such as Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter. There’s also a media section for watching movies or playing music.

The Lenovo Skylight weighs just 1.95 pounds and will sell for $499 without a contract. It will also be available from AT&T in the US and possibly other wireless carriers across the globe at a subsidized price for customers that sign up for a long term service contract.

You can check out the detailed specs, plus higher resolution images after the break.

  • CPU: 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM II
  • Display: 10.1 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel screen
  • OS: Custom Linux distribution designed by Lenovo
  • Storage; 8GB mini SD card/8GB flash/512 MB LP22r2-PAM/4GB USB stick/ 2GB online storage
  • Connectivity: 3G Quadband WCDMA, WiFi,
  • I/O: 2 USB, Micro SDHC (with card installed), SIM card slot, SDHC card slot, mini HDMI connector
  • Audio: Internal mic, stereo out
  • Webcam: 1.3MP
  • Weight: Under 2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10″ x 7.9″ x 0.7″
  • Battery: 10 hours
  • Price: Starts at $499

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9 replies on “Lenovo Skylight: Always-connected smartbook with all-day battery”

  1. With this around, how is Sony going to sell their ultralight and ultra pricey Vaio X?

    Thanks to all this, the ultra portable and ultralight will be capped at $500 and not more exorbitant figures such as $5000 etc.

  2. Wow. $500??? Even a technophile like me will give this one a pass. Wait until CES is in full swing to see where the other manufacturers come in on price. I am really in the market for an ARM/Pixel Qi slate/tablet/media player.

    Custom versions of linux won’t do it. If this market segment wants to survive they will need to standardize on something.

  3. Hey Brad when did you move to Jupiter? Or are you on Saturn? I asked that because here on EARTH we still have 24hr days, not 10 hour days of your colorful gas giant home. 😉 FYI: Jupiter and Saturn have days that last about 10 hours. Jupiter has a period of 0.410 earth days or about 9.84 hours and Saturn has a period of 0.426 earth days or about 10.224 hours.

  4. I respect Lenovo taking risks and honestly coming out with some cool produrcts. If I’m going to buy this however, I’m keeping it sealed as a collectable. One of the only smartbooks to come out on the market. Get one now before they are gone. Great museum piece for sure. In a way I LOL at the price and concept. Sort of the WTF concepts.

    1. Don’t be surprised that in 2 years time, Smartbooks will be a major competitor to netbooks. If may even overtake it. Don’t forget, majority of people use their netbooks just surf the net. The smartbook can do that and yet its 700g in weight, half of the netbooks 1.3Kg weight.

      Most people have a primary PC at home to do graphic intensive stuff and their current netbooks are merely used to surf the net.

  5. This would be a big success. Wow, so light. But aren’t smartbooks supposed to be cheap? This is a whopping $499.

    Initially, we were given the impression that Smartbooks, without Windows, would be around $300 and below. How come this cost much more than a Smartbook?

    Has Qualcomm no control over the pricing of such machines? After all, they promised it would be very cheap.

    1. IIRC, the first netbook (Asus something) was almost $500. It takes economy of scale to get pricing down. The problem w/ smartbooks is that, unlike netbooks, they can’t run a mainstream OS, and therefore don’t have an immediate use-case.

      What smartbooks need is a software ecosystem built-up, similar to what happened for the iPhone, and likewise for the Android systems. Proprietary Linux systems are DOA. It needs to piggyback on the Android coattail in hope of getting 3rd-party support. Right now, there’s none aside from smartphones apps.

      It’s a catch-22 situation: you need apps for this to be useful, which means people will buy it, which means production will go down. No apps->low volume sales->no econ of scale.

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