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Qualcomm Shows Smartbook

The hybrid smartphone and netbook was revealed briefly by Qualcomm chief executive Paul Jacobs at an analysts meeting.

Promised for months, the new breed of hybrid smartphone and netbook called the smartbook has finally been sighted.

It's made by Lenovo and it runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor and Linux software. Qualcomm's chief executive Paul Jacobs flashed the device at an analysts meeting in New York on Thursday.

The device -- and likely a few similar models from other manufacturers -- will probably be formally introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Qualcomm has long championed the category it calls the smartbook. It's a cross between the netbook and the smartphone; the idea is to combine the best of both devices in one. However, some smartphones are already sporting the features trumpeted in smartbooks.

Smartbooks are touted by manufacturers for the same features found in some advanced smartphones -- Wi-Fi access, touchscreens, location and navigation technology, as well as superior energy efficiency.

While Qualcomm didn't formally launch the smartbook Thursday, it revealed improvements in its Brew Mobile Platform OS that should help independent developers bring their smartbook models to market faster.

The firm said key software components are being integrated in the Brew platform including Java virtual machine browsers, multimedia, instant messaging, and calendar applications. Qualcomm added that the new features will enable device developers to distribute applications before new handsets are launched.

"Qualcomm is working closely with key software technology providers," said Jason Kenagy, VP of product management for Qualcomm Technologies, in a statement. "This effort includes optimization of target devices and pre-distribution of these products to device makers."

InformationWeek Analytics outlines the 10 questions you need to ask to see where netbooks fit within your organization. Download the report here (registration required).

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