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Netbook 2009: The four big changes
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| 3) Linux will be able to run on these systems as well of course. But many
| Linux vendors are exploring another option: offering desktop Linux on ARM
| CPU-based netbooks that will be even cheaper than Atom-based netbooks.
| Linux has been running on ARM processors for years. What's changed is that
| both ARM and Linux desktop distributors like Xandros and Canonical, the
| company behind Ubuntu, are working on releasing full Linux desktops for
| ARM-powered MID (Mobile Internet devices) and netbooks.
| The upshot of these efforts is that by the same time Windows 7 Home Premium
| will be available on $400 Intel Atom-based netbooks, Ubuntu 9.04 and Xandros
| Linux desktops will be shipping on sub $200 ARM-based netbooks.
| Can you say price-war? I can.
| 4) Last, but never least, there's Google. The first Google Android netbooks
| have been spotted. I've said it before, I'll say it again, people who would
| never consider moving from Windows to Linux might be willing to give a Google
| Linux-powered netbook a try. With Google behind it, the Linux desktop will
| finally break into the mainstream.
Are Linux netbooks really returned more often than Windows models?
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| But Philip Solis, an analyst at ABI Research, questions the "reliability" of
| this evidence.
| Solis said in a March research note that Taiwan's MSI had not yet shipped a
| Linux-based Wind at the time of the comment to the magazine. When it did, it
| did "adapt" the operating system for the netbook's smaller size -- an key
| ingredient to Linux's acceptance by consumers, Solis wrote.
| Acer, Asus and Dell have all built customized versions of Linux for their
| netbooks. Solis said that Asus has noted equal return rates for Linux
| netbooks versus those running Windows.
| And while ABI's surveys show U.S. consumers clearly stating their preference
| for Windows netbooks, Solis said that isn't true around the world.
| In Asia, netbook buyers are both thriftier and "and not as tied to the
| Windows environment," Solis said. "They're looking for certain features, but
| they aren't as tied to a certain brand name."
| Solis predicts an increase in Linux netbook shipments this year, from 25% to
| a third of the 35 million netbooks expected to sell globally this year. Under
| that estimate, Linux will be shipped on 11.5 million netbook PCs in 2009.
| Solis is bullish about his prediction because of the coming ARM wave. With
| Microsoft still balking at porting Windows 7 to ARM's mobile CPU, PC makers
| using ARM have no choice but to use Linux.
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