Laptops

Snapdragon breathes fire into netbooks

If your feverish dreams have showed you a paper-thin netbook that packs 3G, the Snapdrgaon chipset from Qualcomm could be the thing that makes it possible

Qualcomm, despite being a company you've never heard of, is all around you. Every phone that boasts 3G is most likely powered by a Qualcomm chipset and now it's moving into netbooks with a chipset called Snapdragon.

If Snapdragon sounds familiar, it's because it's being used in the Toshiba TGO1 smart phone and offers a very compact computing solution. It doesn't need fans to keep cool, so it's ideal for phones and, now, titchy computers.

Out at the Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm was kind enough to let us play around with the Snapdragon-based netbook, which came with a wide screen and large keyboard. It's only a prototype, but it worked beautifully from what we could see.

Qualcomm pointed out that the Snapdragon chipset can't handle tonnes of apps running at the same time, but it does cope well enough with Web browsing, document editing and video. What's really cool about Snapdragon -- apart from being the coolest-named chipset ever -- is how compact it is and the fact that it boasts HSDPA (under the umbrella of WWAN), so you can stay connected to the Internet almost everywhere you go.

Specs-wise, Snapdragon packs a 1GHz CPU, support for Linux and Windows Mobile, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, 3D graphics, and support for XGA displays, up to 12-megapixel cameras and DVB-H (mobile TV).

Qualcomm informed us it's in discussion with several large laptop manufacturers and we're likely to see a netbook running Snapdragon this year. We're hoping for a paper-thin netbook soon, so we can laugh at all the people who invested in the lovely-but-expensive MacBook Air.