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Netbooks meet smartphones - the next big thing?

The netbook will look very different in the future

Even though netbooks only exploded on to the market two years ago, they've dramatically evolved. We take a look at what netbooks might look like in the future.

A new approach

Netbooks as they currently are being sold will continue to evolve, analysts and industry spokespeople agree.

"We'll have a big announcement about our future (netbook) processors in June," Intel's Al-Khaledy says. He refused to talk about the specific capabilities of those new processors, saying only, "in general, you can expect to see manufacturers deliver lower-cost, higher-performing netbooks".

In addition, Microsoft is positioning the lower-end Starter Edition of its forthcoming Windows 7 operating system to be appropriate for netbooks. A number of vendors, such as HP, have said they will use that operating system.

On a separate track, though, a host of vendors - including some big names such as Samsung, LG Electronics, Toshiba and Asus - are developing Snapdragon-based netbooks. Initially, Qualcomm said it expected these new devices to be available by the end of this year, and a small number of them should be.

However, Frankel acknowledges that most vendors won't have their new netbooks available as soon as originally had been thought. Vendors "are straining to get devices out by this Christmas, but that's pretty aggressive," Frankel says. "Whether it's Christmas or the first half of next year remains to be seen." He attributed the delays to the inevitable difficulties related to getting new types of products out the door.

The new pricing model

Another emerging change in netbooks is how they will be sold - and how much they will cost.

While details are scant, vendors such as ARM predict the new ARM-based netbooks should retail for around £150. However, mobile network operators also are likely to be selling new netbooks with built-in 3G modems at highly reduced prices - if you agree to a two-year data plan commitment.

Communications vendors have long subsidised the price of mobile phones and smartphones as a way of attracting customers.

NEXT PAGE: Do these new netbooks have a future?

  1. Why we think the netbook will look very different in the future
  2. A new heart
  3. Focus on a new OS
  4. A new approach
  5. Do these new netbooks have a future?


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