Qualcomm released its counter-part to nVidia’s Tegra, putting a nice marketing spin on the name MID [Mobile Internet Device]. World, meet Qualcomm Smartbook [oh no]. Just like the prefix "i" marked the end of 1990s and early 2000s, it looks like suffix "book" is the new black: E-Book readers e.g. e-books, digibooks, netbooks and now – smartbooks.

Let’s call a spade a spade: according to Qualcomm, smartbook is essentially cellphone hardware connected to a bigger screen and always connected online via 3.5G/WiMAX/4G connection. Just like an SUV [Sport Utility Vehicle] is a crossover between an estate [caravan, station wagon] and a full-blown 4×4, smartbook is the bastard child of a Smartphone [with copy&paste function] and a netbook.

During CeBIT 2009 and later Computex Taipei 2009 trade shows, Qualcomm tried to raise excitement for their Snapdragon platform, but everything was overshadowed by design wins from its competitors [nVidia Tegra and custom ARM Cortex-A8+ PowerVR SGX SoC chips from Samsung and Texas instruments].

Now, Qualcomm has launched a marketing attack on the stale market of netbooks and smartphones. The idea behind Smartbooks is that you don’t buy the device yourself at a full price, but rather pay somewhere around $99 [or less], sign with Telco provider for a data plan and that’s that, for the next 18-24 months they will own a certain part of your wallet.

Even though Qualcomm plans the availability of smartbooks for "Fall 2009", you can expect first devices on the market around back-to-school period. Naturally, they won’t be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon.

The next step in crossover branding wars – Netphone and Smartnote?