It's an interesting route to take. A regular, full-featured computer takes too long to boot up, so why not include a small, embedded system, and have it act like a phone or whatever which boots up instantly, and provides access to the most commonly used features.
Latitude-On, as the feature is called, uses a TI OMAP3430 ARM processor to load a Linux-based environment providing access to things lik web browsing, checking email, and playing multimedia files. According to studies by Dell, users used the Linux environment 70% of the time - making Windows seem more like a stone around the laptop's neck than a useful environment.
However, one does have to wonder - how often are laptops actually turned off completely? Don't most people just put them to sleep, allowing for instant wake up and access to a full environment? All the major operating systems provide reliable instant wake up, so what exactly the role of an add-in ARM board is remains to be seen.
On top of that, isn't all this just a giant clumsy patch to cover up the fact that operating systems are simply extremely crude, inefficient, and power-hungry? Wouldn't money be better spent on making operating systems better instead of jamming an additional embedded board into a laptop?
Despite those questions, fact remains that this feature is just plain cool. When I was younger, I used to drool over those PCI x86 cards Sun made - an entire x86 system contained on a single PCI board, ready to be plugged into your SPARC system. They actually still sell those; the SunPCi IIIpro Coprocessor Card sports an AMD Athlon XP 2100+ 1.6-GHz mobile processor, up to 1GB of memory, an integrated ProSavage8 graphics chip, and a lot more. Oh, and you can plug multiple SunPCi cards into a single machine.
Sorry, I got lost in a geek dream there for a second. Anyway, what do you think of functionality like this? Is it the way to go? A waste of time? A waste of space?