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Smartbooks make sense

September 22, 2009

The smartbook is an alternative to the already ubiquities netbook.  The main difference being they do not run Intel processors and so cannot run Windows.

For many this would be seen as a major problem, but if we think about it these problems are mainly based on expectation and lack of experience.

The logical OS for the smartbook is Linux and Ubuntu have already announced that they will provide support for ARM based systems (Debian the upstream Linux that Ubuntu is based on already runs on ARM processors)

With at least one major distro providing support then the user will have a web browser in Firefox, Office Applications through OpenOffice.org and email applications like Thunderbird or Evolution.  Just having these applications will give most people the productivity in collaboration tools they need to get their work done.  Yes, they work slightly differently to their Windows equivalent that the learning curve would be a real problem.  For those of us old enough to remember running Windows 3.1 and compare how Word 2.0 worked on it to how we use Windows XP/Vista with Word 2007 now it wasn’t that hard to learn and make the switch.  Moving from Microsoft applications to the Linux equivalents is no more difficult.

So, assuming the applications are in place and usable the big advantage of going with a smartbook over a netbook is battery life.  ARM based systems by design use less power.  Less power means longer battery life and I know I would like a netbook / smartbook that didn’t have a big fat battery sticking out the back but still lasted all day.

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