Filling a niche I didn’t know existed (often the way with niches), Lenovo has announced today its new Smartbook device. This gadget is a cross between a netbook and a smartphone, offering consumers a relatively low-cost alternative that combines the best traits of the smartphone in a netbook-like body, but without full PC functionality. The niche it is designed to fill is the portion of the market interested in Internet connectivity on the go with smartphone sensibility and larger screen real estate.
It is small and lightweight (1.96 pounds) with a 10.2″ screen, and joins Lenovo’s other little computers, all netbooks with conventional and touch screens. While manufacturers like Asustek question the viability of these stripped little machines, the promise of faster startup and longer battery life to a consumer interested mainly in Internet connectivity (both broadband and Wi-Fi) at low cost is a compelling sell. ATT plans to offer the $499 smartbook at a subsidized price with the purchase of a 3G data plan.
What do you think? Would you buy it for Internet browsing on the go? Or would you buy a full netbook or wait for the fabled iScribe from the Apple camp?
For me, I would prefer Lenovo’s new IdeaPad S10-3T netbook, which comes with 10.1-inch screen that supports multiple finger touch input. I already have a smartphone in my iPhone 3GS and would sooner buy a Droid before this hybrid product.