Tech Rumor of the Day: Hewlett-Packard

Hewlett-Packard is rumored to be using Qualcomm's snapdragon chips in its upcoming smartbooks.
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When a big player dips a little toe in a fast-growing new market, it can attract some attention.

The player, in this case is No. 1 PC maker

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

. And the new market is netbooks.

But the real attention-getter is that this particular move involves

Qualcomm's

(QCOM) - Get Report

Snapdragon chips.

Foxconn

is lining up to supply H-P with Snapdragon-powered smartbooks for later this year, says Collins Stewart analyst Ashok Kumar.

When asked about the matter, a representative for H-P told

TheStreet.com

: "We don't comment on rumors or products that may or may not be under way."

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The move would mark a significant departure from the standard PC chip path. HP's PCs, laptops and even its netbooks have used either

Intel

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or

AMD

(AMD) - Get Report

processors.

A switch, however small, by H-P to Snapdragon could be a major endorsement of Qualcomm's

smartbook strategy

.

"If I were Intel, I'd be trembling," says Argus Research analyst Jim Kelleher, referring to the smartbook threat posed by Snapdragon.

So what's a smartbook, you might ask.

Qualcomm prefers the name smartbooks to netbooks because it conjures up a hybrid between smartphones and notebooks. Qualcomm has several manufacturers working with Snapdragon including

Acer

,

Asus

, Foxconn,

HTC

,

LG

,

Samsung

and

Toshiba

.

In another threat to the PC Wintel establishment, smartbooks use Linux operating systems and not

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Report

Windows programs. The disadvantage is that users can't run common Microsoft programs like Word or Outlook. The advantage is that a Linux laptop has eight-hour battery life, instant-on power-up and an always-on 3G wireless data connection.

The move would also support the notion that Foxconn is helping another big player --

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

enter the netbook race

, presumably with Qualcomm's Snapdragon.