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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Red smartbook

Touchscreen smartbook

Smartbook with vertical display

Smartbook with sliding keypads

Modular design

Leather-clad smartbook

At the Computex show in Taiwan on Tuesday, Freescale Semiconductor unveiled prototypes of a new portable computer format that it calls a "smartbook." Both Freescale and Qualcomm have just begun promoting the smartbook notion as a potential category of computing devices between traditional notebooks (or more recent Netbooks) and much smaller smartphones.

The prototype smartbook seen here in candy apple red unfolds and separates into several pieces to allow use of keyboard and mouse. Freescale came up with its prototypes in conjunction with the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Caption by / Photo by Freescale Semiconductor
This less colorful concept smartbook is meant to suggest a possible touchscreen design. Here's part of Freescale's pitch for smartbooks: "Sporting larger screens than traditional smartphone devices, smartbooks are cloud-computing-centric and characterized by all-day battery life, instant-on functionality and persistent connectivity."
Caption by / Photo by Freescale Semiconductor
The smartbook stands tall with a design intended for vertical displays. Freescale's smartbooks would use the company's i.MX515 processor, while other potential smartbooks would use Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor. In both cases, the chips would be based on designs from ARM.

"The primary distinction between (smartbooks) and the existing crop of Netbooks will be longer battery life--eight-hour battery life--slimmer form factor, and lower price point," Glen Burchers, director of global consumer segment marketing at Freescale, told CNET News last week.

Caption by / Photo by Freescale Semiconductor
This unusual design features keypads that slide out from either side of the smartbook. Burchers told CNET News that manufacturers Wistron and Pegatron have "near production-ready" clamshell designs that could be on the market before the end of the year, and that it is targeting a price of $199.
Caption by / Photo by Freescale Semiconductor
Shades of Legos--smartbooks could also be built in a modular fashion. Under the hood, the devices are expected feature 3G connectivity and to run either the Linux operating system or Google's Android.
Caption by / Photo by Freescale Semiconductor
This smartbook prototype features a "leather-based" casing.

See also: "Qualcomm, Freescale say 'smartbooks' to rival Netbooks."

Caption by / Photo by Freescale Semiconductor
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