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Chief executive officer of Qualcomm, one of the world’s largest developers of chips for cell phones and other low-power electronics, said that mobile computers with low cost and limited capabilities – netbooks – may become more popular compared to fully-fledged notebooks. Qualcomm will not stand still and will actively try to penetrate the netbook market.

“It could be substantially larger than the existing notebook market. When you get down to those lower price points, your addressable market expands very quickly,” said Paul Jacobs in an interview with Bloomberg news-agency during the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

At present the vast majority of netbooks are based on Intel Atom processors, but late in 2008 Qualcomm unveiled its Snapdragon platform that could enable netbooks that cost about $200, a price-point that has never been tapped by modern netbooks from companies like Acer Group, Asustek Computer, Dell or Hewlett Packard.

Considering the fact that Qualcomm Snapdragon consumes less power than Intel Atom platforms, it is obvious that netbooks powered by the “alternative” platform should offer numerous benefits, such as longer battery life and sleeker designs. However, since the platform is based on 1GHz ARM processors, it cannot run Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7 and other programs that require processors with x86 micro-architecture. As a result, Snapdragon has considerably more chances in smartphone and MID markets, but not in PC-derived netbooks.

Still, the chief executive of Qualcomm hopes that Linux-based Snapdragon netbooks will gain popularity. According to Mr. Jacobs, there are fifteen manufacturers, including Acer, Toshiba Corp. and Samsung Electronics, who are working on devices based on the Snapdragon platform. No details regarding those devices have been revealed so far, but what is known is that the first mobile Internet device (MID) to use Snapdragon is Toshiba's TG01 smartphone.

Tags: Qualcomm, Snapdragon, Intel

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