updated 07:10 am EST, Tue January 5, 2010
Lenovo Skylight uses Snapdragon, 3G
Lenovo this morning became the first company to release a computer in the newly coined smartbook category. The Skylight has the 10-inch screen of a netbook but uses a 1GHz Snapdragonprocessor that lets it defy a number of expectations compared to an Atom-based system. It not only gets about 10 hours of real-world use but is thinner than some smartphones, weighs less than 2 pounds and can play HD video, even when in a web browser.
Internet access is the central focus of the system, and so it only carries 20GB of built-in storage. In return, it has a heavily optimized Linux-based interface with "web gadgets" that jump directly to services like Amazon MP3, Facebook and YouTube. Skylight can use either AT&T-supplied 3G or Wi-Fi to get online and has 2GB of Internet storage.
Lenovo plans to ship its smartbook to the US in April. Its full, unsubsidized price will be $499, but it's hinted that AT&T may subsidize the price in exchange for signing a data plan contract.
Qualcomm is considered the creator of the smartbook category and has hoped to challenge both Intel as well as traditional smartphone vendors; it's also expected to directly challenge slate devices like the rumored Apple tablet. The platform typically relies on an ARM processor as well as Android or another Linux-related OS to run and ideally provides better performance and dimensions than a netbook without the accompanying bulk.