Lenovo's Skylight 'smartbook' to bust Netbook appeal?

If you’re a pennywise consumer who’s not convinced by the modest performance attributed to the majority of ultra-portable Netbook computers, you may be interested to learn more about Lenovo’s new Skylight ‘smartbook’.

Described as something of an alternative to existing Netbook systems, the Skylight will be offered to U.S. consumers for around $499 USD – before spreading to a more international audience later in 2010.

So, with $499 USD existing as something of a sizeable dollar increase when compared to the $299 USD that usually accompanies a typical Netbook platform, what does the Skylight offer to help justify its richer price tag and lure prospective Netbook buyers?

In terms of specifications, the Skylight runs on an open-source Linux operating system, it’s powered by an ARM-based processor and Qualcomm’s 1GHz Snapdragon chipset – an already popular processing choice in the smartphone sector – and provides support for both high-speed 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.

“The web has become the window to the world for more and more people, helping them connect with friends and family across town or thousands of miles away,” commented Lenovo spokesperson Peter Gaucher.

“[The] Skylight combines the long battery life and connectivity of a smartphone with the full web browsing and multimedia experience of a netbook to create one of the first devices in this developing smartbook category,” he added. 

Other features on the sub-kilo computer include a 10.1-inch display screen, 20GBs of standard flash data storage, 2GBs of cloud-based storage, and a custom user interface complete with live Web gadgets including Amazon MP3 and Roxio CinemaNow.

Available in either flashy blue or sassy red, the Skylight also has an appealing aesthetic edge and the promise of operational longevity, thanks to a distinctive clamshell chassis design, gently rounded corners, and an active battery life in excess of 10 hours.

U.S. computer buyers should expect to see the Skylight hitting retail shelves in April of 2010.

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