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Smartbook done to death by Apple iPad

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Wondering what happened to all those ARM-based netbooks we were promised last year would be the Next Big Thing? According to the boss of chip maker Qualcomm, the iPad killed 'em.

Not in so many words, of course, but CEO Paul Jacobs, speaking at the company's IQ conference in London this week, did say that tablets, as effectively pioneered by the Apple gadget, have delivered the always on, always connected, run for a full day functionality that ARM-based netbooks - aka 'smartbooks' - were designed to, Slashgear reports.

In short, with so many tablets in the offing, there's less need for smartbooks. Why are there so many tablets on the way? Because everyone wants to emulate the success Apple has had with the iPad. Ergo, iPad killed the smartbook.

Which is, of course, why Lenovo, for one, appears to have canned its smartbook, the Skylight, in favour of an Android-based tablet, LePad.

The Skylight was originally due to go on sale in the US in April. It didn't appear, and in May Lenovo said it was putting the project on hold, at least in the form shown up to that point. Two months later, Lenovo was trumpeting the late 2010 release of LePad, and Skylight hasn't been mentioned since.

Tablets were all the rage at Europe's IFA consumer electronics show last week, with only Toshiba's AC100 standing up for the smartbook category.

Toshiba, of course, now has a tablet in the works too, the Folio 100.

Qualcomm doesn't really care one way or the other since its chips will sit as happily in a tablet as a smartbook. And since early suggestions show that the netbook market has peaked - whether at the hand of the iPad or not - it doesn't look like there's as much demand for smartbooks now as originally thought. ®

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