The Offspring Of The Netbook / Smartphone Union

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.

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Too Many Screens Is A Good Thing

mimoI work on a Lenovo Ideapad laptop. It has a 15.4 inch screen. I like my Lenovo a lot. But, with all the stuff I am tracking, sometimes 15.4 inches feels a wee bit small.

Smaller still is my 10.2 inch Asus Eee Pc. Sometimes I set the little Eee up next to the Lenovo to maximize my screen real estate. Believe it or not, it really helps to not have to switch between windows or tabs and to have an extra screen open to track matters while working in other programs. Particularly if you are like me and frequent social media sites with real time updates.

Enter the Mimo 710 – a 7 inch 800 x 480 pixel screen that can rotate for either portrait or landscape mode and runs off one of my USB ports. It is a handy little box in which I can keep information that I don’t really want cluttering up my main work space. Like having your calendar or calculator at your elbow, while you work in the center of your desk. It was fairly easy to set up (particularly because my IT guy / husband helped me do it) and it works fairly flawlessly on my dual core processor.It comes with a power plug in case your computer’s USB ports don’t run enough juice.

My Wacom pen is much better at moving the mouse between screens than the laptop’s glidepoint. It is a bit cumbersome to open windows and move them between the two screens, but it can be done. I can see the appeal of their higher end model with touch screen.

It is so nice to keep Friendfeed or Sky Grid in the little window – I can see information pass out of the corner of my eye and occasionally glance over there for more. If I used something like Tweetdeck, I imagine it would be nice for that application as well.

The little guy cost $129, which chafed me a bit because you can get 19 inch monitors for about the same price. But the USB connector is a great feature and I definitely don’t have space for that big a monitor in my current spot. Speaking of which, I think it is high time to move these gadgets off the kitchen island.

Three ScreensRunning Web – Twitter, Pandora & Friendfeed

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