They're not netbooks...
Let's get this straight – smartbooks are definitely not netbooks. They're described by manufacturers as “bridging the functional divide between smartphones and laptops”. So they'll combine the interfaces and connectivity of smartphones with the capability of a netbook in a hybrid form factor. From "larger, sub-notebook designs to compact, touch-screen tablets and beyond".
... but they're smart
Unlike the majority of netbooks, which pack Intel-based processors, smartbooks will only use ARM-based processors and Qualcomm's 1Ghz Snapdragon chipset. This means that most products will be Linux- rather than Windows-based.
But also unlike most netbooks, smartbooks will provide an always-on connection to the web, switching between 3G and Wi-Fi depending on signal strength.
And unlike a smartphone,the meaty processor also means that they can handle high-end computing tasks, like 3D graphics, full web browsing, HD video and GPS navigation.
They'll have a bumper battery life
According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon processor consumes significantly less power than its competitors, and promises all-day power from a single charge. How that holds up with more intensive tasks, we'll have to wait and see, but we're also promised a week's time on standby.
They're coming soon
Manufacturers have already begun working on smartbooks and we should see the first models hitting our shelves by autumn this year. It's also likely that an Android-flavoured version will make an appearance at the same time. Big hitters that are jumping on the smartbook bandwagon include Asus, Acer, LG, HTC and Toshiba.
They might be cheaper than netbooks
Word on the web is smartbooks will be cheaper than their netbook counterparts and that's down to what’s under the hood. The fact they will come without Intel-based processors means manufacturers can out them at pocket-friendlier prices.