ARM outlines next-gen netbooks and smartbooks

The future of netbooks and mobile devices is even more exciting than recent developments, claimed Bob Morris, director of Mobile Computing, as he outlined what ARM can do for our devices.

How about slimmer, lighter netbooks without losing that battery life? "8 hours from a 2-cell battery", Morris detailed as he whipped out a Pegatron-built engineering sample.

Running Ubuntu, the 9-inch sample model was super slim, light in weight, but still sported all the connectivity you'd expect and with an expected price-point of somewhere around the $200 mark, designed to be "an impulse buy".

Morris' vision stretched much further than samples that just shave down what we already have today. Imagine having your netbook always talking to your 3G connection, even when in "standby", so as soon as you open it up, it has all your email there. Without the need to "connect" to the Internet as we currently do, you can get to work or leisure without the customary delay.

Arguably you could set-up your netbook to do this now, but you'd still be drawing heavily on the battery. Morris pointed to the growth in demand for more sophisticated smartphones and the relatively easy crossover between a phone and a mobile computing device. After all, we enjoy our phones with an always on connection, why not larger mobile devices, why not on "smartbooks"?

He also flashed an ARM nettop, pictured below, designed to replace the desktop computer, competing with Intel's Atom nettop boxes which we've already seen appearing. Again, it's only a sample, but it shows the direction things are heading, and Morris said this type of nettop could be available for around $150.

Perhaps the most tantalising idea of all is doing away with the concept of a "computer" in the traditional sense. You have a single ARM-based device that provides all your computing power. It's your phone in your pocket on the move, and when you arrive at your office or home, you put it on your desk, it connects to your display and keyboard and it’s a desktop computer.

Morris tipped Google's Chrome OS as part of this equation providing a slick route to cloud computing for consumers, but also pointed out the cloud computing moves from Microsoft's end too.

Interesting ideas, but we'll await to see what the reality is, with new ARM devices arriving mid-September this year and again at CES in January 2010.


>