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Freescale shows off 'smartbook' prototypes

The chipmaker has worked alongside a US design school to come up with new concepts for ARM-based, Linux-driven mobile internet devices
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1 of 4 David Meyer/ZDNet

The chipmaker Freescale is showing off prototypes of 'smartbook' devices at the Computex show in Taiwan.

Smartbooks are Linux-driven mobile internet devices that use chipsets based on Cortex chip designs from ARM, a company best known for its smartphone chip architecture.

Smartbooks "fill the gap between smaller-screened smartphones and traditional, PC-like netbook or notebook products", Freescale said in a statement on Tuesday.

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2 of 4 David Meyer/ZDNet

Freescale's smartbook prototypes were developed in partnership with the Savannah College of Art and Design.

The manufacturer and the design school worked together to "explore requirements related to ergonomic issues, user interfaces, alternative form factors and even accessories for next-generation smartbook devices", Freescale said.

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3 of 4 David Meyer/ZDNet

At the end of May, Freescale rival Qualcomm presented its own images of what it is calling smartbooks. Qualcomm's devices resemble standard netbooks more closely than Freescale's prototypes.

Qualcomm is pushing for smartbooks to use its Snapdragon chipset. The 1GHz version of Snapdragon has already been put into smartphones such as Toshiba's Windows Mobile-based TG01. On Monday, Qualcomm announced a new, 1.3GHz version that should provide more horsepower for smartbooks.

Freescale, by contrast, is offering its 1GHz i.MX515 processor for the emerging smartbook market. Freescale and ARM first announced a reference design based on the i.MX515 in early January, saying that the resulting devices will retail at around £140.

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4 of 4 David Meyer/ZDNet

Freescale marketing director Glen Burchers said knowledge gained through the chipmaker's work with the Savannah College of Art and Design would "be fed back into our chip-design processes, ultimately resulting in future i.MX processors that enable […] entirely new classes of consumer devices".

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