Although still in concept (UPDATE: Lenovo now saying this is a two year mockup), this is the closest thing I’ve seen to a netbook as fashion accessory (note the burled walnut finish). The belt clasp also acts as a mouse, or so says the caption the the photo on the Lenovo picture feed, and the screen also flips around so that you can write on it with a stylus.
It’s too big to really fit in your pocket or purse so it doesn’t really pass the test of a portable broadband device for me. It needs to be something I would take to the park with me when I go play with the kids. This is the size of the old Apple Newton which was just too big to be practical.
I was going to write a post about all the amazing phones I saw last week while I was in Japan but this morning’s announcement of the latest Nokia device trumps that. Techmeme is smothered with coverage.
I’ve been watching the convergence of the smartphone and laptop computer into a single device called a netbook. While Verizon is subsidizing Dell netbooks, Japan’s EMobile will give you an Acer netbook for $100 if you sign up with them. Instead of jamming a desktop OS into a tiny form factor, Nokia is approaching it from another angle and building from the mobile device up with a collection of swappable widgets.
The difference in approach is that a tiny laptop netbook is designed to run client software while the powerful phone netbook is designed to be an extension of web services that you run out of the cloud, optimized with GPS sensors and a camera for data capture.
“A netbook is for the coffee shop or airplane or subway ride. For watching a movie, checking email, updating Twitter, fast, mobile stuff,” writes Dave Winer. For that, I think the N97 fits the bill quite nicely.