Emboldened by robust global demand for mobile internet devices, mainland computer giant Lenovo Group has come up with what it believes could be the next big thing - smartbooks, which blend the best features of smartphones and netbooks. Lenovo has teamed up with network operator AT&T and mobile chipmaker Qualcomm to launch Skylight, its first smartbook device, at this week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. '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 the developing smartbook category,' said Peter Gaucher, the executive director at Lenovo's mobile internet product management group. 'We're confident in our ability to execute our mobile internet strategy and make it our next growth engine after the China business,' chief executive Yang Yuanqing has said. To help realise that goal, the world's fourth-largest supplier of personal computers agreed in November to reacquire for US$200 million the handset maker Lenovo Mobile Communications Technology, which it divested in March 2008. The sleek and slim Skylight, which has a 10-inch high-definition screen and weighs about 884 grams, is the first smartbook to run the power-efficient ARM processor based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset platform, which is also used on smartphones. The device, which supports 3G mobile broadband and Wi-fi networks, delivers more than 10 hours of battery life per charge. Its interface is preloaded with more than 18 internet-based programs, including Facebook, YouTube, Google Docs and Gmail. Ninis Samuel, director of mobile internet product marketing at Lenovo, said Skylight's operating system was custom-made by Lenovo based on the free Linux software. Skylight will initially be available in the United States this April at a retail price of US$499. It will join Apple's popular iPhone as one of the mobile internet devices supported by 3G operator AT&T Mobility. Samuel said the device will be also available through partner carriers in China and Europe later this year. Charles Guo, a technology analyst at JP Morgan Equity Research, said Skylight was designed to serve as a secondary device for those already with a smartphone or laptop. 'This new market segment will not be an easy sell in China,' Guo said. Other computer manufacturers set to launch their versions of a smartbook this year include Taiwan's Acer and AsusTek Computer.