Would-Be World Conquerers? Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen & Smartbooks?

CES is upon us and one of the newish buzzword category names being bandied about is “smartbooks”…

‘Smartbooks’ Latest to Join Crowded Computer Market (Wall Street Journal)

This category is more-or-less defined as a device beneath the netbook category in price and features that primarily serves the need for instant access to the web, email, and net services like Twitter. This category of devices is larger than a phone. In other words, we are looking at the rebirth of the Handheld PC (Microsoft Windows CE devices from the late 1990s).

These low=cost (some say around $250) smartbooks have a pontential roadblock to their success though. Apple has something to announce around January 26. Most people (including me) assume it is some kind of tablet device. Such an Apple offering may reduce smartbooks to also-ran products. You could argue that a presumably premium priced (closer to $1000 than $500) Apple tablet would not directly compete with the lower cost (sub-$250) smartbook devices. However, remember that the $399 first generation iPod introduced in late 2001 was far higher priced than other MP3 players available then. And, yet, it went out to dominate that market space.

Will Smartbooks go the way of other would-be world conquerers like the Daleks, Sontarans, and Cybermen (Dr. Who reference for those who aren’t current fans). We’ll have a better idea by the end of this month after Apple’s announcement.

Off-topic note: Those of you who did not watch David Tennant’s final episode as “the Doctor” in Dr. Who missed an awesome and fitting farewell episode in “The End of Time Part II”. As a long time fan of Tom Baker’s Dr. Who, I think Tennant’s is now my favorite run as the Doctor.