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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