Windows 7 and netbooks - Where are we now

There has been lot going on with Windows 7 and that it can run on 'netbooks' - lightweight, low-cost laptops that typically use Intel's low-powered Atom processor and don't come with substantial amounts of RAM or powerful graphics processors.

It all started when Steven Sinofksy, Windows Senior Vice President, showed off Windows 7 at the PDC, on his Lenovo S10 and said it used less than half of the netbook's 1GB of RAM. That was followed by Jerry Shen, CEO of Asus, announcing the plans to release versions of the Eee PC powered by Windows 7 in mid-2009, including a touch-screen version.

Later we saw Asus debut its ultra thin netbook S121 running Windows 7 equipped with a 1.33GHz Intel Atom microprocessor, 512GB solid state drive(SSD) and their touch mode software on Windows 7. Hewlett-Packard also said it will likely offer at least 3 different editions of Windows 7 - The Starter, Professional and the Home Premium editions on future models of its Mini netbooks.

Now Intel plans to add support for at least two editions of Windows 7 in its Atom microprocessors used in netbooks, in the second half of this year.
Intel's Atom microprocessors are designed for netbooks and mobile Internet devices(MIDs).

Anand Chandrasekher, Intel Senior Vice President and GM of the Ultra Mobility Group said at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing on Wednesday, that Windows 7 Starter and Basic editions will be supported by Atom processors. Atom processors already support Windows XP Home and Windows Vista Basic editions.

Last week Microsoft claimed that about 96% of netbooks, currently in the U.S market run Windows, rather than Linux. According to a latest study by the research company NPD Group Retail Tracking Service, the Windows-equipped netbook market jumped from below 10% in the first half of 2008 to 96% in February 2009.

The laptop sales growth in 2008 was 21% with netbooks and 16% without them. In December 2008, netbooks accounted for about 12% of the total volume of laptops sold in U.S. Steve Baker, an NPD Group analyst, said in an interview that Consumers want to buy something that's comfortable and they know. Below is a video from ASUS which shows how easy it is with Windows and netbooks (ASUS Eee PC) to get online and connect your devices and services - without dealing with an unfamiliar environment or major compatability issues. There is no doubt that this video would soon feature Windows 7 instead of Windows XP!

Just a reminder: For ultra-low cost PCs like netbooks, Microsoft has set June 30, 2010 as the End-of-Sales date even though the general End-of-Sales date for Windows XP was February 28, 2009

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19 Comments

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I would be running Windows 7 beta on my Sammy NC10 right now, but the bugs in the video drivers for Vista and 7 haven't been ironed out yet so I get some lag when watching videos. Other than that a few hardware keys that don't work properly, it runs great.

Hopefully Samsung will update their drivers when Windows 7 goes retail...

I'm looking at those old netbooks in that video. I'm hopping the screens have gotten less wasteful and don't have so much wasted space on either side of the screen.

warwagon said,
I'm looking at those old netbooks in that video. I'm hopping the screens have gotten less wasteful and don't have so much wasted space on either side of the screen.

The 10" line of netbooks is a lot better. My netbook has about 0.5" bevel around the screen. Would be nice to have the same size netbook, but with a larger screen and very minimal bevel.

I laughed when I first heard of "netbooks". But when my boss wanted a device for e-Mail that was "bigger than a cell phone but smaller than a laptop" we had to get one and I was hugely impressed. As soon as they are available with Windows 7 I will be getting one for myself

Yeah after my previous 17" which proved to be too cumbersome I'll either go a 10" notebook or maybe a 13" laptop next. Something light and easy.

Uhh, Linux can do all that stuff too. Seems like Microsoft isn't ready to lose it's market share. Shame, really, Linux could have excelled on netbooks.

lol, they're never going to be ready to lose their market share. that would be pretty stupid... that's an important aspect of why windows 7 is needed, to protect it's market share on netbooks.

mamamamamamama said,
Uhh, Linux can do all that stuff too. Seems like Microsoft isn't ready to lose it's market share. Shame, really, Linux could have excelled on netbooks.


Although the article doesn't state this in these words, one point to remember is that netbooks were introduced with some Linux OS on them, and that has all but faded away. I never see netbooks running Linux on stores shelves--they're all running XP.

Problem is, even though Linux "can do all that stuff", it's just "not Windows", period. Looking at netbooks' target demographic, it's really no surprise that those people most likely to buy a netbook are incidentally the last ones who would demand an alternative to Windows.

Ahhh.... That asian guy/girls part was awesome.

Reminds me of some busy guy who can't stay connected with his friends (that smile sums it up basically...).

I bought an Acer Aspire One "Net-book" (Intel Atom & 7 inch screen 1GB RAM) after finding two recently purchased lap tops both too heavy and too hot. What a revaluation! I really regret spending £800 on a 17 inch Dell Studio, and £500 on the 12" Philips. The sub £300 XP machine is the best money I've spent in years. It doesn't seem any slower than the twin T7250 and twin T9400!

Anyone thinking of getting one, JUST DO IT! Nuts to Windows 7!

If it can run on older desktop and laptops, why can't it run on a Netbook? I'm running it on a 5 year old laptop with 1.7GHz Centrino, 2GB of RAM and 100GB HDD. Runs like a dream. Plus netbooks are going to get more powerful soon with the introduction of nVidia's ION.

Who said it can't run on netbooks? I have w7 running on my first revision of the MSI Wind and it runs great, if not, a better performer than XP was.

aarste said,
Who said it can't run on netbooks? I have w7 running on my first revision of the MSI Wind and it runs great, if not, a better performer than XP was.

I assume that the badblood might be alluding to the 'Starter Edition' and how it has a limitation of three applications at once: I assume he was wondering why given that the hardware can run a full Windows 7.

The reason why the start edition is offered is because Microsoft is refusing to lower the price of their fuller featured products because the current pricing of Windows 7 Home (Based on Vista pricing) would make a Netbook uneconomical to make given how much of the over all price would be because of Windows licensing costs.

Macalicious said,
I assume that the badblood might be alluding to the 'Starter Edition' and how it has a limitation of three applications at once: I assume he was wondering why given that the hardware can run a full Windows 7.

The reason why the start edition is offered is because Microsoft is refusing to lower the price of their fuller featured products because the current pricing of Windows 7 Home (Based on Vista pricing) would make a Netbook uneconomical to make given how much of the over all price would be because of Windows licensing costs.


That's bang on. I'd rather see a full edition of any OS on a piece of hardware than a limited version. Hopefully OS's will now start to progress to be more intuitive with regards to older hardware, so it means that one version can be released and that version can dynamically alter performance based upon what is installed.

Now, if something like that already exists, why are Microsoft raising costs by manufacturing multiple versions of the same software. Okay, yes there are users out there that aren't smart enough to install the most ideal version of a piece of software on their hardware, but Microsoft (or any software developer) can't take responsibility for user error.

I've got two netbooks now. I have an EeePc 701 4G, which I doubt is W7 capable. I have also just bought an Acer Aspire One, and that runs W7 7068 just fine, aero and everything. No additional drivers required, all out of the box or Windows Update.