Qualcomm's Snapdragon Smartbooks Miss the Point

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Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform, billed as "smartbooks," sounds like a promising new product. It’s yet another variant of netbook and it has a number of features that existing netbooks lack, including GPS, all-day battery life, and an “instant on” operating system.

My problem with smartbooks? They use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, which is based on ARM architecture. That means its operating system will probably use a proprietary Linux variant, most likely Android. One thing is for sure, it won’t run Windows.

Haven’t the markets already spoken? Hasn’t the slew of returned Linux-based laptops already demonstrated that people still want Windows on their netbooks? The reason is simple: People want their netbooks to run the same applications as their desktops and notebooks.

I support the Linux movement, and I applaud its slow growth into the consumer market. I look forward to the day when all computing is cloud-based and operating systems are truly irrelevant. Unfortunately, we’re still not there yet.

Windows is still the lowest common denominator for PC operating systems, and people want the flexibility and familiarity of what they already use.

I love the new features that Qualcomm is promising, but there’s no reason (with the exception of “instant on”) that these features can’t be implemented on a Windows based netbook.

Qualcomm claims their smartbooks feature “the portability and intuitive feel of a smartphone combined with versatility and capability of a notebook.” What I think they miss is that the people are willing to accept compromises with their smartphones that are simply unacceptable in a netbook.

Sorry Qualcomm, I can live without Word, but I’m not willing to give up Google Chrome and Netflix online steaming video just yet.

Michael Scalisi is an IT manager based in Alameda, California.

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