Hands on: Lenovo Skylight review
7th Jan 2010 | 07:25
New netbook packs integral 3G and Linux-based OS
At a packed CES press conference, Lenovo took the wraps off Skylight – a new 10.6-inch ARM-based netbook device running Qualcomm's Snapdragon chip. Check out the gallery at the bottom of the page.
The tiny 800g notebook really is a marvel, with a good-feeling keyboard that belies its size, HDMI connector and a 10-hour battery life.
We had been expecting the device to be launched, but what we weren't expecting was the use of a new, proprietary Linux-based OS. Indeed, previous Snapdragon-based netbook prototypes that we've seen were running Google's Android.
The OS looks good for simple tasks – it uses a series of widgets for access to web apps such as Gmail.
We do like the Skylight, even if we're too used to Windows for the OS to particularly appeal. The rumoured $499 street price (£311) is a little more than we were expecting. After all, if you shop around, you can get a reasonable Windows 7 netbook for under that price. And until the price point is significantly under Windows 7 netbooks, a Snapdragon device doesn't appeal. £199 or £250, then maybe.
We'll see what happens. Both now and in the future, devices like the Skylight are key to Lenovo's way of thinking, according to its CEO Yang Yuanqing. "Cloud computing is becoming more prevalent. Traditional means can no longer help people connect any time, any place. These devices should integrate with internet content and services.
"Such a need is critical for emerging markets like China. With the explosive growth of mobile internet coming soon, the market doesn't have the specific products that meet the needs of the local people. "
"Our strategy is to dedicate our efforts into a line of mobile internet devices," said Yuanqing before moving on to the Lephone announcement. "These will all ship with the most popular internet applications., providing users with the best mobile internet experience."