Building the Google smartbook dream machine

InfoWorld's 10 essentials for the smartbook revolution to succeed

7. Integrated microphone, camera, and audio I/O Cell phone multimedia recording has made its mark on society, bringing eyes and ears to all kinds of public, and less than public, venues. Generally this is a good thing, promoting honesty, particularly in government circles. Google, being the home of YouTube, could not in good conscience support a mobile device without the ability to record video and audio, and upload it to the Web in real time -- especially not a device with the "dream" moniker.

8. Built-in accelerometer, GPS, and compass This trio of technologies has ushered in a new wave of genius applications for smartphones: turn-by-turn navigation, augmented virtual reality, and geo-tagged data collection, to name just a few. Google's wealth of geographic databases makes it a natural adjunct for the virtual surveying capabilities you get by combining these three position-measuring features, and a smartbook's large screen and keyboard add up to much more convenience for serious geographic information processing compared to a smartphone. Positioning electronics are already mass-produced for the handset market, so they should add little cost to a smartbook.

9. Dual-boot capability Some users will argue that the dual-boot capability should be a much higher priority in this list. We can agree that even casual users occasionally need access to capabilities only Windows can provide, though it does so slowly. Dual-boot is an emergency escape hatch from the necessarily constrained world of pure Google apps, and an essential feature for most people. (Look how Apple's support of dual Mac OS X/Windows boot revitalized the Mac market a few years back.) Can Android run that critical network management tool you need? How about your VPN client or videoconferencing widget? You'll think of more.

10. Thin, thin, thin Users already have a small screen-size device in the guise of their smartphone; they're not really looking to minimize those dimensions in their smartbook. More important for convenient holding and storage is thickness, or the lack thereof. Given that smartphones already have most of the capabilities of a smartbook -- sans screen and keyboard -- how hard can it be to make a smartbook as thin as a smartphone? Surely the 0.36-inch thinness of Amazon's Kindle 2 can be achieved in a netbook? Am I dreaming?

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Tags mobile computingGoogle ChromeGoogle Androidlaptopsnetbooks

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Mel Beckman

InfoWorld
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