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Compaq AirLife smartbook has Android, touch

With a Snapdragon processor, a touch-screen display, and Android OS, the Compaq AirLife announced at the Mobile World Congress is another in a new trend of ultracompact devices fusing laptops and smartphones.

Not a Netbook, a smartbook. HP

Normally, when we hear about a Compaq product, we associate it with entry-level computers. HP apparently remembers the days when Compaq first released iPAQ smart devices, because it chose to announce the AirLife smartbook device under its Compaq brand instead.

Though tablet PCs are getting the lion's share of attention lately, "smartbooks"--laptop-like devices with advanced smartphone processors and pared-down operating systems--are attempting to build some momentum, too. The Compaq AirLife 100 looks like many Netbooks, but it differs in several ways: it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor instead of an Intel Atom, comes with 3G wireless built-in, and runs Android OS.

The AirLife 100 also has a resistive 10.1-inch touch-screen 1,024x600-pixel resolution TFT display, but only 16GB of solid state internal storage, although an included SD card slot can help matters slightly. HP promises an "all-day" battery life of 12 hours/10 days of standby, plus always-on Internet through a combination of its 3G antenna and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. Pricing and carrier availability have not been announced yet, but expect a price lower than what most Netbooks cost. Or, at least, we hope so.