Would you rather have a super smartphone or a new Netbook?

Nvidia's Tegra processor may hit Netbooks and smartphones. Is this the start of a new trend?

Just last week, we got a peek at Nvidia's new line of HD-video-playing processors in downtown Manhattan. One, the Ion, is a GPU that pairs with an Atom processor to give Netbooks gaming and HD-video-playing muscle, coming soon in Netbooks from Lenovo and Samsung.

Tegra Netbooks in action. Scott Stein/CNET

The other, Tegra , is an all-in-one chip: it has an HD video processor, but it also has an ARM processor, making it an all-in-one computer on a chip that will be put on phone company-branded Netbooks toward the end of the year, according to an Nvidia representative.

But that's not all, it seems: rumors around the Web are suggesting that the Tegra might be placed in upcoming smartphones as well. With a Tegra processor, these phones would have pretty impressive HD and gaming capabilities.

Add to this Dell's entrance into the handheld Internet device arena and the beefed-up graphics of the iPhone 3GS , and an interesting showdown is in the works between the new-generation smartphones and fall's upcoming crop of graphically superior Netbooks .

Assuming prices hold steady, the costs might be similar, too. A Netbook can currently run between $299 and $500, while smartphones run between $199 and $299, subsidized (and up to $600 unsubsidized).

There are even some new 'tweeners that try to have the best of both worlds--call them UMPCs, MIDs, or whatever you like. We recently reviewed the (almost) pocket-size Viliv S5 , which is neither a Netbook nor a smartphone.

For your money, which would you rather have--a smartphone that could handle HD video and gaming but wouldn't necessarily have a physical keyboard, or a graphically improved Netbook? Or are the two not necessarily mutually exclusive? A recent SRG research study found that women under 40 are using smartphones more than PCs as their mobile computing platform of choice. Is this true for men as well? Assuming your budget and gear bag aren't of limitless size, which would you choose?

About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired, Esquire.com, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.

 

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