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10 must-have features in a dream smartbook

These specs will ensure smartbooks succeed

Netbooks may have managed to set the mobile computing market alight, but can smartbooks follow in their footsteps? We look at the 10 must-have features smartbooks need to succeed.

8. Built-in accelerometer, GPS, and compass

This trio of technologies has ushered in a new wave of genius applications for smartphones: turn-by-turn navigation, augmented virtual reality, and geo-tagged data collection, to name just a few.

Google's wealth of geographic databases makes it a natural adjunct for the virtual surveying capabilities you get by combining these three position-measuring features, and a smartbook's large screen and keyboard add up to much more convenience for serious geographic information processing compared to a smartphone.

Positioning electronics are already mass-produced for the handset market, so they should add little cost to a smartbook.

9. Dual-boot capability

Some users will argue that the dual-boot capability should be a much higher priority in this list.

We can agree that even casual users occasionally need access to capabilities only Windows can provide, though it does so slowly.

Dual-boot is an emergency escape hatch from the necessarily constrained world of pure Google apps, and an essential feature for most people.

(Look how Apple's support of dual Mac OS X/Windows boot revitalised the Mac market a few years back.)

Can Android run that critical network management tool you need? How about your VPN client or videoconferencing widget? You'll think of more.

10. Thin, thin, thin

Users already have a small screen-size device in the guise of their smartphone; they're not really looking to minimise those dimensions in their smartbook.

More important for convenient holding and storage is thickness, or the lack thereof.

Given that smartphones already have most of the capabilities of a smartbook - sans screen and keyboard - how hard can it be to make a smartbook as thin as a smartphone?

Surely the 0.36in thinness of Amazon's Kindle 2 can be achieved in a netbook? Am I dreaming?

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NEXT PAGE: What dreams may come

  1. These features will ensure smartbooks succeed
  2. Multiouch and Android buttons
  3. SSDs, networking and graphics
  4. Built-in accelerometer, GPS and compass
  5. What dreams may come

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