Later this year, a whole new type of products will appear. Smartbook is a love child [or a bastard child] between a Smartphone and a netbook.
Most important part about the smartbooks is the processing hardware - this is an entrance of ARM architecture into the personal computer architecture, and not in a small way. Market adoption is all but guaranteed, as you should not need to actually purchase one - we learned that major telecom operators plan to offer these micro-notebooks/maxi-cellphones in conjunction with 18-24 month data plan.
In Europe, it is widely expected that the operations will offer 3.5G HSDPA/HSPA+ connectivity, with speeds of up to 28Mbps [3.5MB/s] down and 11Mbps up [1.4MB/s]. In US, Sprint and Verizon plan to offer CDMA-based or WiMAX based smartbooks, while AT&T is still undecided - according to our sources, their data network is bombed with numerous Blackberry and iPhone users.
The smartbooks will be based either on Qualcomm Snapdragon
or nVidia Tegra 600 Series
SOC chips [System-On-Chip
], but these chips are no slouches. According to the information we have in hand, Qualcomm's Snapdragon QSD8672 SOC comes with dual-core ARM Cortex A8, same CPU featured in the latest iPhone and Palm Pre. But unlike the cellphones, smartbook format meant that the processors can be clocked significantly higher than the handheld parts. While both iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre come clocked at 600 MHz, smartbooks can rely on 1.5 GHz of processing power. In order to make Snapdragon work at 1.5 GHz, the chip is being made using 45nm low-power process over at TSMC.
But the real beast is the integrated graphics subsystem. Snapdragon comes with a 3D processor capable of outputting 80 million triangles/sec and 500 million pixels/sec. Pixel Fillrate of 500M pixel/sec is on the levels of GeForce 6200
, but texture fillrate is still in Riva TNT
territory. Given the specifications of ATI Hollywood GPU
inside the Nintendo Wii console [486.000 Pixels/sec - Hollywood has 4 Pixel Pipelines, but there are only 2 ROP units inside its eDRAM], we see that that Qualcomm's Snapdragon actually packs more 3D punch that the best selling gaming console on the market.
This opens a completely new level of play for smartbooks - can smartbook gaming actually come to life and wipe out PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS? Only time will tell.
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