Smartbooks seemed to have some degree of marketing appeal until some time ago, as they were supposed to be a cross-breed between netbooks and smartphones, but Qualcomm has now reportedly come out and said that smartbooks are already dead as a market, because of tablets.
Though netbooks were always expected to grow as the entry-level market for mobile computers, there was a niche market that smartbooks were expected to fill.
Said niche was one for electronics that had performance comparable to that of netbooks along with the ability to stay always on, like smartphones.
Now, it seems that the age of smartbooks will be ending before it even began, at least that is what Qualcomm's CEO reportedly said.
According to SlashGear, Qualcomm held the IQ 2010 event this morning, where the Chief Executive Officer Paul Jacobs said that devices akin to the HP Compaq Airlife will likely never come to market.
Granted, Toshiba did recently reveal a so-called smartbook based on the Tegra 2 SoC form NVIDIA, but Qualcomm qualifies it more as a Mobile Internet Device than anything else.
The main reason behind this is that tablet, media slates to be precise, such as, predictably, Apple's iPad, have already filled the spot that smartbooks were supposed to occupy.
Qualcomm will, of course, continue to promote its Snapdragon processors, such as the upcoming 1.5GHz chips, which will show up in actual electronic in the first quarter of 2011.
Nevertheless, as it stands, it seems quite unlikely that the so-called “always-on, all-day devices” will even actually establish a market segment of their own.
It remains to be seen if the apparent transition to keyboard-less products continues at the same pace.
There is, of course, also the possibility, regardless of how small, that Qualcomm is wrong and smartbooks will, eventually, take off.
Unless more devices like HP's Airlife appear, however, the time it takes for this to happen may stretch into infinity.