Foxconn to enter smartbook market next year

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Foxconn is looking to enter the smartbook market next year with an inexpensive Arm-based offering. Smartbooks are essentially a mash-up of smartphones and netbooks. They typically feature the all-day battery life, GPS, and 3G connectivity of a handset, but are equipped with the larger keyboard and display of a mini-laptop.

Smartbooks also often make use of an Arm processor instead of Intel's Atom -- the standard choice for netbook manufacturers. Such is the case with Foxconn's future devices, according to the company's Young Liu. Attracted to the $100-$200 price range, the company is looking to introduce "less than five" smartbooks, codenamed "Qbooks," said Liu.

While the company is currently leaning toward Arm-based units, Liu said that if Intel offers a competitively priced CPU, Foxconn might embrace it and build netbooks instead. The Qbooks will have 7" to 10" screens and Foxconn is looking into variety of Linux operating systems. In addition to developing its own OS, the company is considering one similar to the Intel-backed Moblin, as well as Google's Android.

Foxconn will likely bring its first smartbook to market next year.

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