May 6, 2010 at 3:02 pm
When the smartbook category was first announced, many didn’t expect that we’d still be waiting for the first device to make an appearance almost a year later. ARM’s marketing VP, Ian Drew, has commented on the delays and says that they have been caused by issues with Flash optimisation as well as cold feet from manufacturers.
“We thought [smartbooks] would be launched by now, but they’re not. We’ve seen things like Adobe slip — we’d originally scheduled for something like 2009,” said Drew. “Our target is mostly internet machines — it becomes sort of a requirement that they run the internet. [The delay in optimising] Flash has stalled it”.
It seems that manufacturers are also cautious on smartbooks given the low-take-up of Linux-based netbooks and the current fever-pitch around tablet devices. Some manufacturers who were planning smartbook devices are now looking at tablets instead.
Arm chips cannot support x86 applications (like Windows), therefore some are concerned on how well smartbooks would be received. “Some of it is also related to there not being many Linux [netbooks] out there either. We’ve only got Linux. If you look at forecasts for Linux netbook sales last year, not as many were sold,” said Drew.
Drew remains optimistic on the smartbook category and believes that they are now in a stronger position than they were two years ago. “I am disappointed that you can’t go down to PC World and buy a smartbook at the moment, but I’m convinced something will happen,” Drew said.