Qualcomm, Freescale say 'smartbooks' to rival Netbooks

From CNET News.com: Qualcomm and Freescale Semiconductor are ready to begin pushing a category of devices that they say are cheaper, lighter, and more connected than Intel-based Netbooks.

And just to make sure that the difference is crystal clear, both companies are calling the category "smartbooks."

"We are relabling with the term 'smartbook.' We are joining others in using this term," said Glen Burchers, director of global consumer segment marketing at Freescale, in a phone interview Thursday. "The manufacturers that are using ARM-based devices are cooperating in using this terminology," according to Burchers.

So, what makes a smartbook different from the Netbooks being sold by companies like Dell and Hewlett-Packard? Netbooks use an Intel Atom processor and, typically, Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. Smartbooks will use processors based on an ARM design and the Linux operating system.

ARM chips offer better power efficiency than Atom processors and ARM-based devices come with virtually no cost overhead for the operating system. "The primary distinction between them (smartbooks) and the existing crop of Netbooks will be longer battery life--eight-hour battery life--slimmer form factor, and lower price point," said Burchers.

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