By Evan Ackerman
When someone (like Lenovo) says that they’ve got this laptop that runs on a cell phone processor, and that they’re calling it a “Smartbook,” your first thought might be a mental eyeroll. So it helps when someone (like Lenovo) plies you with alcohol and desserts, and then points out that it’s really a pretty decent idea. The Lenovo Skylight has a 10 inch screen, a full size keyboard, and integrated WiFi and 3G, all of which you’d expect in a mobile connectivity netbook. It’s missing three things that you’d also expect: a 2.5″ hard drive, Windows, and an Atom processor, and Windows. Instead, it uses a couple microSD cards (one of which is swappable), a customized version of Linux, and a 1ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 512mb of RAM that’s strong enough to play back 720p HD video. Put that all together and you get a lot of functionality coupled with a 10 hour battery life (think 6-8 in normal use) in a wicked skinny package that weighs less than 2 pounds.
The OS is heavily focused on web integration, as you’d expect from such a low power computer. One of the most interesting physical features is a long and skinny USB accessory slot… They had a 16 gig USB drive in there, but hypothetically, you can plug anything you want into it, like some extra media buttons or maybe a webcam or something.
Lenovo is still working on their customized operating system, video playback, and other stuff like the touchpad. Everything should be ready to go by April of this year, when you’ll be able to pick the Skylight up for, uh, $499. Another option will be to buy it along with a 3G data plan from AT&T, which will likely subsidize it quite a bit, but still, for what it is, that seems like a lot of money… Even if it is so little and roundish and cute.
[ Lenovo Skylight ]