Starting in Q4
, several manufacturers, including Acer, Foxconn, Compal,
Pegatron and Inventec will start shipping ARM-based smartbooks, just in
time for Intel's new Pine Trail platform.
Unlike Intel's Atom, however, the new ARM-based smartbooks will be a
tad smaller, and quite a bit cheaper. Obviously, they won't be as good,
and they won't be able to run a proper version of Windows, so you'll be
stuck with Linux or Win CE, and you'll probably see Android in quite a
few of them, too.
However, not all vendors are rushing to launch smartbooks, and Asustek,
the second biggest netbook maker, says it will not launch smartbook
products until November or December. It believes there's simply not
enough demand for them. We're not sure how the market will embrace the
new product class, especially considering you won't be able to get XP
or Vista on them.
On the upside, most netbooks will be very compact and dirt cheap. The
first models are expected to be 8.9-inch, and we're looking at sub-$200
pricing, maybe even less for some units.