LAS VEGAS-Qualcomm, most recognized for its mobile device chips and Brew operating system, is beginning to make significant news in the small-size portable PC business, thanks to its powerful new Snapdragon processors.
Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard announced that they are each developing Qualcomm-powered "smartbook" PCs for release later in 2010. Lenovo's is called the Skylight; HP hasn't picked a name for its yet. Both smartbooks will run Google's Android operating system.
The two companies made their announcements Jan. 8 during a keynote anchored by Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs at the Consumer Electronics Show here at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
On Jan. 5, Google unveiled its high-end Nexus One "superphone," which is built by fast-rising HTC and also is powered by Snapdragon chips. Naturally, it too runs Android.
On Jan. 8, HTC also introduced two new Qualcomm-powered phones called the HTC Smart and HTC Sense, both of which enable users to browse the Web, send e-mail and talk to people-all in the same session, if necessary.
It proved to be a bit of an awkward presentation, because Qualcomm brought up two competing companies-Lenovo and HP-on the same stage, although not at the same time. These two are extremely competitive internationally in the laptop and notebook spaces. They also will become serious competitors in the emerging smartbook market.
Finally, Lenovo announced that it is preparing its first smartphone.
"It's really going to be a full-function mini-PC in a phone form factor, powered by [Qualcomm's] Snapdragon processor," Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang told CES attendees during Jacobs' keynote.
"The mobile Internet era is here. People want smaller, lighter, sleeker devices that are easy to connect to a network," Yang said. "We need to extend our reach into two new categories: smartbooks and smartphones. And that's exactly what we are doing."
Yang shared time onstage at the Hilton Center with Jacobs, HTC CEO Peter Chou and HP executive Todd Bradley.
HP's smartbook will do a lot of things its current netbooks cannot do.
"This will be a thin, 3G device with an all-day battery," Bradley said. "It'll be an always-on device. Shut the lid and it stays connected to receive e-mail. When you power it up later, your e-mail is there waiting for you.
"It'll feature a touch screen, a better UI [user interface] with an improved launch strip, a camera file manager, browser, messaging [and] tabs for multiple pages like Firefox. It'll have a preinstalled Exchange connection, so you can open an e-mail attachment in Office. We'll also have new photo and music apps," Bradley said.
Few other details about all the new devices were released Jan. 8 at the Qualcomm keynote.
Earlier in the day, Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo announced that his company will award an "investment" of $1 million to the winner of an innovation contest involving new ideas in software, hardware, services-or any or all of the above. The decision on the best technology will be announced in June 2010. Information can be found at CallingAllInnovators.com.