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ARM Exec Says 90% of PC Market Could Be Netbooks

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the invested-interest dept.

Linux Business 307

Barence writes "ARM chief executive Warren East has claimed that netbooks could dominate the PC market, in an exclusive interview with PC Pro. 'Although netbooks are small today – maybe 10% of the PC market at most – we believe over the next several years that could completely change around and that could be 90% of the PC market,' he said. East also said ARM isn't pressuring Microsoft to include support for its processors in Windows, claiming progress in the Linux world is 'very, very impressive.' 'There's not really a huge amount of point in us knocking on Microsoft's door,' he said. 'It's really an operational decision for Microsoft to make. I don't think there's any major technical barriers.'"

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you can say whatever you want (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009444)

whether it's true or not is another thing

Re:you can say whatever you want (5, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009496)

Given that, as far as I can tell, the only difference between a laptop and a netbook is size, what he's really saying is that laptops are going to get smaller.

Could this man, perhaps, be a captain of some sort [thankyouca...bvious.com] ?

Absolutely not. (5, Insightful)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009626)

What East is really saying is, "Behold. I shall inflate stock values by making false and pointless claims."

ARM already has a huge part of the embedded market in cellular phones. He is trying to make the claim that no one needs computing power, so everyone is going to switch to the cheaper ARM microcontrollers, and they will get a lot of licensing money as a result. But remember, netbooks are optimized for the net and only the net. If you want to do anything else mildly processor intensive like watching a HD video, good luck. (Even Intel's Atom processor is essentially an overclocked 486.) If you want to watch a DVD, good luck--your netbook is probably a little too small for that DVD drive!

MOD PARENT UP (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009736)

My kingdom for a modpoint

Re:Absolutely not. (3, Informative)

duguk (589689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009750)

If you want to do anything else mildly processor intensive like watching a HD video, good luck. (Even Intel's Atom processor is essentially an overclocked 486.) If you want to watch a DVD, good luck--your netbook is probably a little too small for that DVD drive!

I know what you're trying to say, but I've got an Intel Atom and it plays DVD's fine (with USB external DVD drive) and can do Matroska with CoreAVC without any problems. (Without CPU scaling anyway. But surprisingly Youtube/iPlayer is fine at 800mhz for me). For most people, a Netbook is far more convenient.

Re:Absolutely not. (1)

dc29A (636871) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009810)

My MSI Wind Touch (Atom 330) is playing 720p without any issues, however it can't play 1080p. Mind you, on a 19' screen, 720p is way more than enough. Also, it does YouTube, DVDs and video streaming off the web with no problems.

Re:Absolutely not. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31010242)

Mind you, on a 19' screen, 720p is way more than enough.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather have at least 2160p on my 19 foot screen...

Re:Absolutely not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009822)

Ummm.. he/she/it said it couldn't play dvd's because there isn't a drive. dvd's are hardly hd video.

Re:Absolutely not. (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009934)

If it has a USB port, then it can "play" DVDs.

OTOH, if you've got anything but solid state storage then there's really no point in
bothering with DVDs. Just rip them and transcode them into what ever codec will play
nicely with your hardware. Or don't bother transcoding them at all if your player is
any good.

As others have noted... video decoding is moving into the video hardware. So the need
for beefy CPUs is wanning. You would be far better off worrying about core memory.

Re:Absolutely not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31010138)

Ummm.. he/she/it said it couldn't play dvd's because there isn't a drive. dvd's are hardly hd video.

Fail. GP said:

If you want to do anything else mildly processor intensive like watching a HD video, good luck.

As the parent said, that's wrong.

You misread this:

If you want to watch a DVD, good luck--your netbook is probably a little too small for that DVD drive!

Netbooks don't have DVD drives, like you said. But the GP is saying they don't have the CPU to watch them anyway. Parent was (correctly) disagreeing.

Re:Absolutely not. (2, Insightful)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010358)

Nice try, but GP was right. It is inconvenient or even pointless to watch a DVD in a car with an external drive dangling off the side or sitting on the floorboard. I was watching DVDs on my 266MHz Pentium II, so that is obviously not what is in question. Just because someone puts two sentences side-by-side with a parenthetical aside between them does not mean that they are related.

Re:Absolutely not. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31010232)

Ummm.. he/she/it said it couldn't play dvd's because there isn't a drive. dvd's are hardly hd video.

My netbook doesn't play eight-tracks either!

Re:Absolutely not. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009834)

Most of the newer arm processors include video accelerators, which can play HD video, Tegra 2 for example but also many others.

Re:Absolutely not. (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009998)

A current ARM CPU is about as fast as a desktop CPU from 2002ish (although the GPU is much better, it has more RAM, and it comes with DSPs for offloading the most processor-intensive workloads). He's not saying no one needs computing power, he's saying that, for most people, ARM CPUs are already fast enough and that convenience is worth more than raw speed. It's not like ARM chips aren't getting faster, either. The Cortex A9, which is just starting to appear, clocks from 1-2GHz, supports out-of-order execution (unlike Atom) and comes in 1-4 core versions.

If you want to do anything else mildly processor intensive like watching a HD video, good luck

All of the recent ARM SoCs that are targeted at this kind of thing can decode 720p H.264 in hardware, some can decode 1080p and some, like the i.MX515 have hardware for encoding H.264 as well.

Re:Absolutely not. (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010000)

Why watch a DVD when you can watch streaming media.

We're doing less and less directly on our PC these days - its all moving to the net.
Webmail, Google Docs, YouTube, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc. So for the majority of the general public they don't want a quad-core 32GB box which can play Crysis at 80fps. They want something they can read their funny online comics, watch some video & email granny on.

ARM chips have been running Linux well in consumer devices for over 10 years, so its not as if they need to do much.

Re:Absolutely not. (1)

CryptoKiller (78275) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010060)

NVIDIA's Tegra 2 chipset provides hardware acceleration for video playback, allowing such devices to playback up to 1080p content. Clip here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSCAKO0gFxM [youtube.com]

Re:Absolutely not. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010118)

well, netbooks do have DVD drives. However, they are not gaming suited at all. So no, there's no reasonable way that 90% of the pc market is going to be netbooks ever. A significant portion? Sure. Gaming? Never.

Also yes, wish you had a +10. People don't realize the atom is so crappy that it's pitiful. Small step forward in size/power usage, major step backwards in performance.

Re:Absolutely not. (2, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010188)

If you want to do anything else mildly processor intensive like watching a HD video, good luck. (Even Intel's Atom processor is essentially an overclocked 486.) If you want to watch a DVD, good luck--your netbook is probably a little too small for that DVD drive!

I'm not sure if you're trolling or not. Ten seconds on Google would show you thousands of folk using Atom chips for HTPC's. The Atom can easily play back DVD content and some 720p content too. We just saw the launch of the iPad which plays 720p content and appears to run an Arm chip.

My own HTPC uses a single core Atom and plays 1080p content perfectly. How does it manage this? Because of hardware accelerated video playback. The video is offloaded to an Nvidia Ion chipset. Even if your netbook didn't come with Ion graphics, you could add a Broadcom Crystal HD Mini PCI-e card for about $25 on ebay and get 1080p playback assuming you have a spare mini pci-e slot.

ARM can do this just as easily as Intel. sure, a low power general purpose cpu will struggle with HD video, but there are plenty of low power graphics chipsets available to manufacturers.

Re:Absolutely not. (2, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010302)

"What East is really saying is, "Behold. I shall inflate stock values by making false and pointless claims." ... He is trying to make the claim that no one needs computing power... If you want to watch a DVD, good luck--your netbook is probably a little too small for that DVD drive!"

Who watches DVDs anymore? I stream everything, my DVD collection was put on the network years ago, and while the latest ARM might not be a quad cpu today where do you think it'll be in 5 years? He did say "...we believe over the next several years that could completely change..."

Really 90% of the market will become a cheap internet device with a mainstream browser (IE, Firefox, Chrome, etc), full Flash support with full speed 1080p streaming. Whatever device offers "best bang for the buck" will take over. Right now it looks like netbooks fit the bill, but if somehow the price of screen only tablets similar to the iPad dropped to half that of netbooks then tablets would make up 90% of the market. Problem is it seems it's still cheaper to throw in a LCD, keyboard and touchpad than a single touchscreen, but that could change in the next few years.

Or *New* market (3, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010304)

Given that, as far as I can tell, the only difference between a laptop and a netbook is size, what he's really saying is that laptops are going to get smaller.

Or that, a lot of people who didn't buy laptops before, on such grounds such as price and size, would start buying the new /smaller/ devices.
The absolute number of classic PC and laptop won't change much. But a fucking big new propotion of the population would start buying the netbooks.

Don't think "Laptops are displacing desktops at the workplace".
Think the way PDA were a new market that didn't cannibalise laptop users, but made a whole new batch of people buy the devices.
Or think the way the Wii didn't lower the success of PS or Xbox, but got successful in reaching a whole new market of casual gamers who would never had bought hardcore-oriented machines.
(Or what Apple is hoping to achieve with the iPad : the device for the couch at home, missing in the line-up between Macs - at work - and iPhone/iPod - on the move)

There are a lot of young people, who don't really need a PC given their work or studies. But they would appreciate being able to go on-line for socializing.
Currently their smartphone's screen is a little bit smallish. Dead-cheap simple small netbooks would be the way to go
(and would enable them to do some small editing on the cloud / GoogleDocs while on the go).

Now, will ARM's hopes of finding a new market to exploit get realised ? Hard to tell but I suspect this might work.

Re:you can say whatever you want (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009562)

whether it's true or not is another thing

One thing that's absolutely true is that Microsoft reputation managers will be all over this article.

Cheap, ARM and Linux is the one combination they absolutely MUST discredit. Even if they can get Windows to run on it, the whole application stack that locks people onto the Wintel platform will be missing. Likewise, a $200 OS and $300 office suite simply aren't value propositions on sub $200 computers.

Expect an unprecedented level of FUD here.

Re:you can say whatever you want (3, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009782)

Do you think MS isn't already on this? They have WinCE which is slowly but surely focusing on ARM as the primary platform. They have Windows Mobile which is designed to run *only* on the ARM platform.

They will stress interoperability between device and PC. The ecosystem works (they say) because the two systems are designed to work well with each other. Even things like Vista/Win7 are designed to work with CE-based projector devices. Their strategy extends far beyond Netbooks/Smartbooks and reaches into every single high-function embedded market.

Linux doesn't have the same ability to say something and have it taken as gospel truth. If Linux wants to claim seamless interoperability, the vendors need to put up or shut up.

Re:you can say whatever you want (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010002)

True but WinCE sucks as WinMo is in deep trouble.
Windows Mobile is really at the "also" ran level in the Cell Phone market.
Do you see any ads for WinMo phones? Not really. IPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Palm are all way ahead of Microsoft in mind share.
If Microsoft is going to be anything else but a footnote in the Phone market WinMo7 better be out tomorrow and be mind blowing.
Frankly I think Microsoft is loosing it's halo. Xbox360 has had a huge struggle with hardware failures. WinMo is old and clunky, Vista left a really bad taste in peoples mouth, Office is facing competition from Google Docs and OpenOffice, and Play For Sure failed publicly.
Microsoft does have a hit with Windows7 and Sync is very good but the list of fails and disasters from Microsoft is actually pretty dang large now.

I would say that Microsoft in every market except the desktop is now in a put up or shut up situation. The problem is that I don't think Microsoft knows it. I wonder if they feel that Android and iPhone are just passing fads.

Re:you can say whatever you want (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010184)

I'm only trying to clarify how MS will approach this problem. On the embedded side of the market, they put CE and WinMo up against Linux. It's not Win7 vs Linux there because the processor power is too low to run either OS at a useful speed. Win7 doesn't run at all (easily remedied, I'm sure) and Linux needs to be as barebones as possible (which puts it up against WinCE/Mobile). And the "advantages" of CE vs Linux are well understood by Microsoft's sales and marketing teams.

MS considers iPhone a serious threat. They only recently began considering Android a threat.

But the embedded market is much larger than netbooks. Cellphones are a huge market that MS is trying not to lose its minimal marketshare in. However there are other embedded markets (like projectors and automobile navigation) where it is unmatched.

CE as an OS isn't terrible, despite WinMo. It is Microsoft's embedded OS and it is well designed to compete in that market.

What is being glossed over by many here is that Microsoft doesn't see Netbooks as a standard embedded device but rather a smaller form factor of a laptop PC. Intel's Atom has really opened up this market for Microsoft, and Asus did a lot to get Microsoft involved here. So the difference between Microsoft's vision and ARM's (and Apple's) vision of this market comes down to a difference in device applicability. If ARM CPUs were comparable performance-wise to Intel's offerings, this would be a different story, but the difference is still too great for ARM to compete on that point.

Re:you can say whatever you want (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010418)

Actually I did some work with Linux on an XScale CPU a while back. It actually ran X pretty well and didn't need to be all that stripped down to work. I wouldn't run Gnome on it or KDE but the code I wrote using GTK performed well. On the new A8 and A9 cores I think Linux will preform very close to what you see on the desktop.
I wouldn't run OO.org on it but as a whole I think the Linux stack will do just fine.
The truth is that a lot of Linux software will just take a recompile to run just fine on an ARM. I think that Linux will have a real advantage in software applications over WinCE on a Netbook.
WinMo right now is just about where the old PalmOS was two years ago. In deep trouble.
I wouldn't say that Microsoft is unmatched in automobile navigation. QNX and others have a big users base. Linux has really lagged there because no big company has pushed it. It is a shame and I hope that maybe TomTom will start pushing it and start making deals with the car makers.

Re:you can say whatever you want (3, Insightful)

miknix (1047580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010262)

Do you think MS isn't already on this? They have WinCE which is slowly but surely focusing on ARM as the primary platform.
(...)
Linux doesn't have the same ability to say something and have it taken as gospel truth.

Put any WinCE handheld side to side to n900. The WinCE looks like a kids-play fisher-price laptop, it is a joke.

You can't just compare it with Linux like you did. Linux on ARM is exactly the same thing as Linux on anything else (x86_64, PowerPC, ...), we are not talking about a crippled kernel here.
You can't also compare the software available for ARM-Linux with WinCE software. WinCE is a very reduced Win32 API (so we are not considering the huge collection of Win32 apps here) while GNU/Linux on ARM runs everything designed to be cross-platform. Given a powerful ARM machine with plenty of RAM, you can literally compile all your GNU/Linux desktop software for ARM.

The fundamental problem here is not what is already available or supported for ARM-Linux but the fact that ARM devices are mostly associated with new Human Interface paradigms which current software can't answer. But this is changing fast with the increasing interest of the community and companies like Nokia pushing Maemo.

Re:you can say whatever you want (-1, Troll)

phy_si_kal (729421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009894)

I don't get your rant: Linux can't even run GUI applications, so there is really no alternative to Windows. -- Upgrade to 7 now.

Re:you can say whatever you want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009978)

Would you please be ever so kind as to tell us why you think Linux can't run GUI apps?
I'm sure your adoring public will be waiting on your every word.
Meanwhile, I will go back to editing a 136Mb Panorama with GIMP.
Oh, by the way, GIMP is a GUI app that runs on Linux.

Re:you can say whatever you want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009936)

You seem to fundamentally miss the point. The fundamental point of business operations is to get stuff done, not to run computers. A $200 pc with $500 of microsoft office software on it is a $700 box that requires minimal training of its users, has been engineered by an army of UI specialists to be relatively easy and quick to use (scoff at that as you will, but you only need to spend a few minutes with openoffice to see how unpolished it is), and which is pretty well guaranteed to pose no compatibility problems. A $200 pc with a "free" operating system an office suite is a $200 box with severely higher user training and technical support costs and with not unsubstantial potential compatibility issues and an unclear future. Amortize that $500 over 3 years and youcome up with $167 per seat per year. Given that technical support internally bills (for accounting purposes) at $100+ per hour, this is fly spittle. This is why companies such my software company use MS Office.

but no, i must be a reputation manager here to spread 'fud', right? or just put your fingers in your ears and scream lalalalalala.

Re:you can say whatever you want (3, Interesting)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010110)

MS software for such things is mostly a waste of money. You'd have to be using fairly advanced features of Office software to notice any differences between open office and MS office.

Using open source applications in their current form is really not that hard, especially for people coming from a Windows world. If an employee can't handle that, then they probably aren't clever enough to handle most office work.

I also don't buy that admins are more expensive for Linux than Windows, though I'd consider evidence to the contrary. I agree that the cost of employees eclipses all other business expenses. I just can't see that Windows ability is really any cheaper than Linux ability.

For all that, however, MS license costs are nowhere near as ridiculous as stuff like SAP, AIX, DB2, Weblogic, Websphere, and Oracle.

About time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009450)

ARM + Linux is a *great* platform, and we need cheaper netbooks in this time of economic crisis and trial for the US!

But Steve Jobs said... (4, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009466)

Netbooks are supposed to be those things too small to work like a real computer but too big to be really portable! How could Steve Jobs be wrong? Is it true that they are small enough to be more portable than a laptop but big enough to be more useful than a cellphone/PDA?

I wonder how long I will go on musing for, before I break down and buy one...

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (2, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009512)

Steve Jobs said that because he'd rather we all bought netbook like devices that had no keyboard, and an OS so crippled that users don't even like it when it's on a *phone*.

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010042)

"and an OS so crippled that users don't even like it when it's on a *phone*."
Many million people disagree with you on that statment.

If the iPad doesn't offer some kind of multitasking I think it struggle. But frankly the iPhone OS is actually really well liked by the vast majority of it's users.

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010180)

Many million also think that Obama is black Hitler. What’s your point? (Protip: Ad populum [wikipedia.org] .)

I had a task manager, and a mark-button (like shift on the computer) on my phone, back in 2003. How is Apple unable to do it in 2010??
Next you tell me they got no keyboard. Or no camera. Or no removable battery. Or no ability to install whatever you want. Or no real GPS but WiFi triangulation.
Oh wait... ;)

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31010088)

and an OS so crippled that users don't even like it when it's on a *phone*.

So that's why they've sold almost 43 million combined units? I think instead of "users" you actually mean to say "irrelevant slashdot neckbeards".

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (2, Informative)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009578)

I have one and I have to say I'm very happy with it (Asus 1000HA, Atom based). It came with XP and now dual-boots Linux (Ubuntu Netbook Remix). I'm happy with the performance in both operating systems as far as the basics go, but there are times I wish it had a bit more power to it. It runs Open Office just fine as well as Firefox, Python, and a few other apps I use regularly. I even tried putting Lord of the Rings Online on it and it worked... with about 3 FPS.

UNR: http://www.canonical.com/projects/ubuntu/unr [canonical.com]

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (2, Interesting)

dmacleod808 (729707) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010124)

I run OSX on my MSI U100... it works great... and i can play video and light gaming...

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (3, Interesting)

tjwhaynes (114792) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009642)

I wonder how long I will go on musing for, before I break down and buy one...

For myself, I'd give it another 6-12 months to see what shakes out of the market. The Cortex-A9 quad core looks like it is the perfect chip for high performance, low power consumption tasks, and the Tegra 2 SoC looks like it will provide a moderate-performance GPU on top of that. There are a number of different form factors that look like they will hit the shelves over the next year, from single screen netbooks, dual-screen touchscreen folding books, a mix of tablets and tablets with removable keyboards. Hey - even Google is supposedly building a tablet based on this sort of tech.

The iPad is likely to find its niche suddenly becomes a crowded space by the end of 2010.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010012)

I'm really a bit puzzled about what the extra cores are good for, except for very specific, parallelized tasks (video processing, file encoding...). All other tests I see seem to favor fewer cores at higher speeds ? For general use (office/internet, media consumption as opposed to creation, even games), my take is that 2 cores are plenty ?

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (2, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010156)

The benefit to more cores is you can completely turn off the cores that are unneeded, instead of simply slowing the clock speed of one big honking core that may not be nearly as efficient at that lower clock rate. It appears (although I am no expert) that this scales well in low power applications, since many chipmakers are favoring higher core counts for their performance lineup. As far as making use of them, it's up to the OS and application authors to code things that behave well (i.e. are properly multithreaded) on many cores. This is a field that is improving constantly.

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010064)

One form factor I'm hoping for is just a plain Motherboard, perhaps something Mini-ITX sized. Most of my personal servers are using old CPU's (Best is a PIII 500MHz), and I would not mind replacing them with some low power ARM systems.

Problem is almost all the cheap computers are in netbook format. If I just want the motherboard, or a box without a screen, they assume you're in the embedded/industrial market, with prices to match (Assuming they are even willing to sell them to you individually).

Is there somewhere that would be selling this form-factor for less than £100?

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (1)

theJML (911853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010056)

or you could just get a used laptop... I have an x40. it's 12.1" and because of this is the same or smaller than the new ASUS netbooks. It's plenty powerful doing about everything but playing HD Video (which is fine because I don't really see much point in that), runs for hours, has built in wireless, 2GB of RAM and a fairly powerful Pentium M. And I paid $100 for it a year or so ago.

I don't really see the point to Netbooks. They're in an awkward position in size and power. Esp now that they keep making them bigger. Back when they were in 7" and 8" varieties it made a bit more sense, much smaller and it'd be a palm top. But really now it's just a laptop with a slower proc. And it's getting to be about the same price as a laptop anyway.

Either they need to go back to 7" $200 netbooks, or just get rid of the darn class already, it's truely pointless IMHO. Though sadly enough, I'd even pass then as I can do 80% of what I'd do on one of those with my iPhone (seriously, SSH, VNC, RDP, E-mail, Web, facebook, IM, IRC). And for the other 80%, I just bust out the x40.

Re:But Steve Jobs said... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010108)

He also said there is no point in Java. So the iPhone is the only one without Java.
Which means, Java apps/games, which are so dominant that they are sometimes not even labeled as Java anymore, will work on every single mobile phone out there... except the iPhone.
I’d call that a FAIL. ^

(Of course the real reason was lock-in.)

Key message, "No operational barrier" (0, Flamebait)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009504)

What it means is, "If Microsoft is willing to buy, we are ready to sell out."

Re:Key message, "No operational barrier" (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009596)

Sell out? Not sure what you mean by this. ARM sells (designs for) chips that can run Darwin, Linux, *BSD, RiscOS, Wince, Symbian, NewtonOS, and a host of others. If Microsoft chose to port Windows 7 to ARM, why would you regard this as ARM selling out?

Re:Key message, "No operational barrier" (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009764)

Sell out? Not sure what you mean by this. ARM sells (designs for) chips that can run Darwin, Linux, *BSD, RiscOS, Wince, Symbian, NewtonOS, and a host of others. If Microsoft chose to port Windows 7 to ARM, why would you regard this as ARM selling out?

Microsoft wont just agree to support ARM as is. It will have conditions attached to it. It won't be something so explicit as a requirement to stop supporting the other systems. It will be more insidious. One tack will be to nullify the advantage of other OSes. By requiring a cache large enough for Windows or memory requirement that will nullify cost advantage of Linux. Another tack would be to create a small variant of ARM that is incompatible with the others. Then due to the market dominance and/or shady undisclosed deals and pay backs, the window only version of ARM chips will be subsidized from the monopoly windfall in the MSOffice franchise.

Eventually everyone will be able to say, "we tried, but the market wants Microsoft. It is all free market you see!", while conveniently forgetting the backroom deals and tilting of the playing field done in smoke filled back rooms. The MsOffice franchise that is churning up some 25 billion dollars a year in profit, flowing through secret contracts wrapped inside non disclosure agreements, distorts the free-market continuum just like a black hole warps the space-time fabric.

Remember the original 150$ Linux netbook. How Microsoft suddenly extended the WinXP life by 10 years and strong armed Asus. How the one lap top per child project suddenly decided to add a 2GB memory chip, raised the price and foundered completely. Microsoft is not a 800 lb gorilla in the jungle clearing. It is a supermassive blackhole that influences everything in the galaxy.

Re:Key message, "No operational barrier" (2, Funny)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009986)

conveniently forgetting the backroom deals and tilting of the playing field done in smoke filled back rooms.

That is the usual place to carry out backroom deals though, so it's hardly surprising that people forget about it. What would be memorable is if they carried out these backroom deals through the medium of skywriting. Or perhaps interpretative dance...

Re:Key message, "No operational barrier" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31010036)

Is this how MS worked with Intel?

I don't think so, seeing as there is no Windows only version of Intel chips.

ARM has already proven it can be successful without MS, even if only at a small market share in the netbook market.

Re:Key message, "No operational barrier" (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010092)

Wow...
I don't think that expanding the Cache and ram on the ARM would hurt Linux or OS/X at all.
ARM doesn't make chips. So yes Microsoft could buy the right to make ARM CPUs and make their own flavor of ARM just like Apple, nVidia, TI, and Marvell have.
I think your fears are a bit miss placed at this point. Also since Microsoft has been floundering in the Mobile market for years I don't their is all that much to fear from them.

Re:Key message, "No operational barrier" (1)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010136)

I think you are confusing chip manufacturers with computer makers. MS got Asus, not Intel, to sell Windows XP on their netbooks. Intel, OTOH, designed a chip (the Atom) that could not support the current MS offering (the exact opposite of what your post would suggest they'd do). Now, MS has supported XP long beyond its life expectancy. I can assure you, it is not easy or cheap for them to do this; software development costs typically follow a bathtub curve and XP got out of the tub long ago. All this whole XP on netbooks deal proved was that people didn't mind paying an extra $50 for the same ol' familiar OS. And, as much as I'd hate to say it, people didn't want netbooks. They wanted a small laptop. Also, Intel have been fantastic contributors to Linux.

Re:Key message, "No operational barrier" (1)

pete-wilko (628329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009612)

um.... how? microsoft may get their act together and support the arm architecture. how does that involve arm selling out?

Re:Key message, "No operational barrier" (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009702)

"Sell out"? I'm no Microsoft enthusiast; but last I checked, it was pretty standard for chipmakers(or, in this case, ISA designers who licence to chipmakers) to cheer on pretty much any attempt, by any party, to run more software on their hardware. In this case, though, I think that Mr. ARM executive can just keep dreaming.

Microsoft's overwhelming strength, and considerable burden, is backwards compatibility. The market, especially the business market, is rotten with gross little bespoke applications(as well as big serious expensive applications, shrinkwrap and bespoke) that are win32 only and likely to remain so for years to decades. Microsoft's customers scream at them every time some change breaks something(and not just the little home users, whose whining is of limited consequence, the big thousands-of-seats guys). Even their move to 64 bit X86, once both AMD and intel had given it their stamp of approval and its future was basically assured, but with full 32bit compatibility, was slow and arduous. It isn't even past tense, really, the move is still happening.

If it were just a matter of porting the NT kernel and Windows components to ARM, I suspect that that would be in the realm of doable. It'd have to be worth their while; but doable. Dragging the third party ecosystem, which is a huge percentage of the value of Windows as a package, though would be an epic nightmare. Especially since, unlike 64 bit X86, this wouldn't be a one-way move. They'd have to be pushing for parallel offerings, ARM and X86 from all relevant vendors, for the indefinite future. Welcome to hell.

Re:Key message, "No operational barrier" (1)

Phics (934282) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009706)

What it means is, "If Microsoft is willing to buy, we are ready to sell out."

Of course. It's their job to 'sell', and if Microsoft stepped in and said, 'Hey, let's get this OS working on ARM chips,' why would any manufacturer in their right mind say no? It's only a betrayal if your mission in life was to promote the Linux platform. And whilst on that topic, this is actually BETTER for Linux than simply a company trying to flog Linux because of some mission to hurt Microsoft or make Linux the new desktop. It's someone saying about Linux what most manufacturers have been saying all along about Windows. "It's good enough for us, why worry about the competition?" That is REALLY the place that Linux fanboys want Linux to be in.

Re:Key message, "No operational barrier" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009722)

What the fuck are you talking about?

Even if Microsoft ports Windows 7 to ARM, there are still going to be many thousands of existing native x86-32 and x86-64 applications that just won't work on it. Even if they get .NET ported and adequately support those apps, many of Microsoft's own existing applications wouldn't work since they're native apps.

Sure, they could try to emulate an x86 or x86-64 CPU on ARM, but it won't go well. Performance is shitty enough on modern x86-64 systems, even when using the various features they offer to ease virtualization.

It'd take at least 2 to 5 years before a useful ARM-compatible base of Windows software built up. That's an awfully long time to wait. By that time, people will just use whatever Apple is offering, and maybe even Google's Chrome OS, for fuck's sake.

We don't need Microsoft (1)

Foske (144771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009516)

Ouch... that's a statement I wouldn't be happy about if I were a Microsoft engineer: We don't need you guys anymore to grow in this market. "They can jump in if they like, but hey, we got Linux, so we don't care." If I were Steve Ballmer, this would feel as a punch on the nose (Oh, and I wouldn't waste my time posting on Slashdot)

Re:We don't need Microsoft (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009812)

(Oh, and I wouldn't waste my time posting on Slashdot)

No, you would be too busy responding with a well-aimed chair.

Irrational exuberance, anyone? (4, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009528)

Does anyone seriously think that 90% of the PC market will ditch MS Windows, and all the applications it has, in 3 years? I don't have any reason to doubt the Arm-Linux netbook space will grow (although, even that isn't necessarily a given, but it seems reasonable, anyhow), but 90% sounds like a bunch of marketing BS from a guy who can't possibly deliver the goods.

Microsoft could jump in with Windows 7 Mobile (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009610)

Does anyone seriously think that 90% of the PC market will ditch MS Windows, and all the applications it has, in 3 years?

When Linux netbooks based on x86 were gaining market share, Microsoft embraced the netbook by first keeping Windows XP Home Edition available throughout the Vista era and then optimizing Windows 7 for such ultra-low-cost PCs. Likewise, Microsoft could decide at any time to embrace ARM by porting Windows 7 to the architecture and making a thunk layer for existing CE apps, just like NT for x86 has a "WOWExec" thunk layer for 16-bit Windows apps and NT for x86-64 (XP 64, Vista 64, 7 64) has a "WOW64" thunk layer for Win32 apps.

Re:Microsoft could jump in with Windows 7 Mobile (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009734)

Likewise, Microsoft could decide at any time to embrace ARM by porting Windows 7 to the architecture and making a thunk layer for existing CE apps, just like NT for x86 has a "WOWExec" thunk layer for 16-bit Windows apps and NT for x86-64 (XP 64, Vista 64, 7 64) has a "WOW64" thunk layer for Win32 apps.

But what would be the point when there are no applications for ARM Windows 7?

The only reason I use Windows on any of my computers is to run closed-source applications that only run on Windows; and they won't run on ARM Windows. Eventually companies might start selling ARM versions of their software, but that will take a long time unless Microsoft force them to.

Sure, Microsoft could release ARM versions of Word, etc, but if all you can run on your netbook is IE, Word and Powerpoint, why not run Linux instead?

Re:Microsoft could jump in with Windows 7 Mobile (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010034)

If Microsoft ships an ARM emulator and cross-build tools with Visual Studio, you can expect that a lot of those closed-source apps will be ported. Sure, you'll probably have to buy them again for the new architecture, but that's what you expect when you go with proprietary software.

Re:Microsoft could jump in with Windows 7 Mobile (2, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010130)

Sure, Microsoft could release ARM versions of Word, etc, but if all you can run on your netbook is IE, Word and Powerpoint, why not run Linux instead?

Well, IE and Word are the killer apps for many people. Lets face it: you're not going to get a netbook to run photoshop on, so what else would most people want to run?

Also note that there would be plenty of third party apps available in the situation described by the OP: he would have a WinCE thunk layer and therefore you would be able to execute WinCE (aka Windows Mobile) apps, and as a large proportion of the devices running this OS are already based on ARM chips, you'd have little trouble getting hold of the apps.

Re:Microsoft could jump in with Windows 7 Mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009846)

Microsoft could decide at any time to embrace ARM by porting Windows 7 to the architecture and making a thunk layer for existing CE apps

Except you are forgetting the part that you CANNOT through all the crap into a ARM processor and expect it to run. Look at latest Windows Mobile for instance, how can such tiny operating system lag so much on the CPU? I tell you why, because Windows Mobile is compiled for the (very old) ARMv4 instruction set. If Microsoft is not even able to do this on Windows Mobile, forget Windows 7.

Don't believe me? Dump the Windows Mobile kernel from any recent HTC phone and check the instructions.

Re:Microsoft could jump in with Windows 7 Mobile (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010086)

Why would Microsoft want or need to embrace ARM anyways? If the netbook market becomes large enough, Intel will simply make whatever investment is necessary to outcompete ARM in the netbook sector.

In other words, ARM is better off for netbooks to remain a small niche, one that doesn't attract too much attention from the big boys.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (2, Insightful)

Phics (934282) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009620)

Does anyone seriously think that 90% of the PC market will ditch MS Windows, and all the applications it has, in 3 years? I don't have any reason to doubt the Arm-Linux netbook space will grow (although, even that isn't necessarily a given, but it seems reasonable, anyhow), but 90% sounds like a bunch of marketing BS from a guy who can't possibly deliver the goods.

Erm, he's talking about netbooks in general, not ARM netbooks specifically. But E for effort.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010348)

A couple quotes from TFA:

"Although netbooks are small today - maybe 10% of the PC market at most - we believe over the next several years that could completely change around and that could be 90% of the PC market," said East. "We see those products as an area for a lot of innovation and we want that innovation to be happening around the ARM architecture."

I think it's only a matter of time for ARM to gain market share with or without Microsoft.

While you are technically correct that these are two seperate statements, they definitely form a unified logical thesis for the article: the ARM guy is claiming that he thinks netbooks will be 90% of the PC market AND a very large portion of that market will be running ARM CPUs *even without Windows* (although he does concede that having Windows, he thinks, would make that easier/faster).

Don't get me wrong - I'd love to have an ARM-based cheap, small, long-battery life, netbook or laptop, running some flavor of Linux or maybe even one of the BSD spinoffs. But I think claiming 90%, even with Windows on Atom or AMD, seems like complete nonsense. Making the jump to say 90% of PC market as netbooks, large percentage as ARM running Linux, just doesn't sound remotely plausible. But hey, I hope the guy proves me wrong.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009638)

Well, I guess it depends how you count. 90% of the PC market certainly not. 90% of the laptop market seems a little bit too much. But 90% of the netbook definitively seems reasonnable. If each teenager get one of those because they are cheap, the arm netbook will be arm or nothing.

After that point, the question will be, will arm conquer the desktop market. I don't think it will be done in the next 3 years.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1)

Steve Max (1235710) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010186)

I say 100%. 100% of netbook market will be netbooks.

In other words, he never said that 90% of any market would be ARM; he said that 90% of the PCmarket would be netbooks, no matter if they run on ARM, x86, x86-64, or whatever processors; and that he hoped that ARM could be a real player on that market, not an "also-ran" in a virtual Intel monopoly.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (2, Interesting)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009654)

I agree 90% is pie in the sky, but I think netbooks will become even more huge as time progresses. Computers have become a commodity item, and with so many people on the move they want their stuff with them. City wide wifi, huge storage capabilities, the cloud, Chromium, iPad (although I think it won't really be crazy good) and smart phones are all pointing to one thing. The end of the desktop is nigh, and once you leave the desktop the game gets *REALLY* wide open.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009752)

Does anyone seriously think that 90% of the PC market will ditch MS Windows, and all the applications it has, in 3 years?

And this is the issue. The hassle with application installation management has largely been solved with things like Apt-Get and Yum. But there are still very few professional grade apps for the average user. OpenOffice is marginally acceptable, but with very few games, no Photoshop (sorry, Gimp doesn't cut it), very few consumer toys... Not going to happen in 3 years.

I believe that if Adobe jumped in with their image suite, others would follow suit.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009928)

I think industry-specific proprietary apps are missing, but you can do image editing, audio mixing, video editing, etc. all on Linux just fine.

Gimp approximates 90% of Photoshop's features, and most users only use that subset of features.

Apps like Skrooge and KMyMoney are making great progress on finance software for Linux these days.

I do keep Windows for gaming. But I probably could spend all of my free time playing Linux games and never play them all.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010230)

Gimp approximates 90% of Photoshop's features, and most users only use that subset of features.

I'm sorry, but this simply isn't true. As well, the "work flow" is certainly not as polished.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010006)

Photoshop?

Are you kidding? What consumer wants to spend $300 on Photoshop?

Photoshop is irrelevant here. There are far cheaper and better "workalikes" for the vast majority of consumers.

The fixation with "being DOS compatable" in terms of office documents will be what stymies the growth of any alternate platform. (Macs suffer equally from this)

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010280)

Photoshop is irrelevant here. There are far cheaper and better "workalikes" for the vast majority of consumers.

This is exactly the attitude that will ultimatly keep Linux from serving the needs of most consumers.

Gimp *is not* an acceptable substitute for Photoshop. But seeting that app aside, people - consumers - *DON'T WANT* substitutes. They want the application they know to work on the platform they use. Thus, if the major commercial Windows apps do not port to Linux, neither will the average consumer.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010432)

i think the question is, how many people have copied photoshop from somewhere, just to remove red eyes from photos of their kids or pets?

No - 90% of the new and bigger market. (4, Insightful)

thaig (415462) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009808)

i.e. including all those people who don't have PCs yet in this world of 6 billion people.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (2, Interesting)

Mashdar (876825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009900)

I took a step back the other day to consider the progress of Linux as a user-friendly OS. Comparing a 2002 copy of Mandrake to modern Ubuntu (argued the most user friendly mainstream distros/flavors of their day), the rapid improvement is marked. Looking at Windows 7 compared to Windows XP, the progress has not been anywhere near as impressive. Granted part of the difference is that Linux is still maturing as a non-tech-person OS, but I doubt that Microsoft will be able to keep up. I don't know about 3 years, but 20 years I might give you.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009926)

What I find curious is the notion that netbooks will ever reach 90%. Netbooks are great, I have one. Quite useful, cheap, light. However, I have good eyes, slim fingers, and a desktop with a good-sized screen for when I want to get big things done.

Especially with the recent flood of CULV based "thin-and-light" notebooks, which are netbookesque in that they ditch the optical drive and some of the power in exchange for cheapness and portability, I just don't see a compelling case for 90% of the PC market being devices with little tiny screens and keyboards.

If he means "netbook" in the very general sense of "Yeah, the performance wars are over, the vast bulk of machines shipped are bottom of the barrel specs, increasingly they are cheap laptops, and they are increasingly used for internet-related stuff" He is completely right; but only in the trivial sense of being able to observe what has already happened. I could even see a plausible near-future scenario where many of those machines aren't wintels. If he means "netbook" in the specific sense of "cheap, light, 8-12 inch laptop, typically without optical drive" though, that seems absurd. If you can make a netbook for $X, you can always make a thin-and-light with a larger keyboard and screen that will appeal to people with poorer eyes, larger hands, or an enthusiasm for movies for just a bit more than $X. For corporate use, you'll always be able to take the mainboard from your netbook and put it in a box without a screen or battery, and sell it as a cheap desktop for ~ $.5X. For home users, you'll be able to take the same mainboard and slap a 20+ inch panel and a 3.5inch HDD into it and have yourself a cheap and friendly consumer all-in-one for not that much more.

I would be wholly unsurprised to see an ever increasing proportion of PCs being built around what are basically netbook motherboards(either quite literally, to save on design costs, or merely similar in size, power, and spec); but the netbook form-factor itself is intrinsically niche.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1)

xactuary (746078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010146)

M$ being strong arm-ed? Payback is a bitch!

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010150)

Maybe. Honestly the only software that I have to boot into Windows for is FSX, Left4Dead, and SolidWorks.
For the stuff I do at home the vast majority of it is done on Linux or my Cell.
I think the resistance to moving to a new platform is going down day by day. There will probably always be people that must have Windows but that number can drop very fast.
For my wife the only programs she must have Windows for are Photoshop Elements and Lightroom. She does use GIMP and she loves it but there are somethings that Elements does better. If Adobe ported Elements and Lightroom the only time she would need Windows is for Tax time.

Re:Irrational exuberance, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31010308)

Does anyone seriously think that 90% of the PC market will ditch MS Windows, and all the applications it has, in 3 years?

Actually, yes, I think it could happen.

- Apple will succeed in selling lots of iPads. This will get people used to the idea of a non-windows platform with its own applications.
- Nokia / SonyEricsson / HTC / whoeverelse will want some of that market share. Competing pads will be released running Android (and maybe other OSes too). These will also have their own applications.
- Users will snap up these gadgets in large numbers, but for a lot of uses there is still a need for a keyboard, so some of them will be released with a keyboard, which in effect makes them into a netbook. (maybe a slide-out keyboard like some phones now, but it'll still be the same effect).
- Virtually all of these devices will run on ARM chips.

If Microsoft gets its act together it can have a piece of this action, but the reality is that the app-store model is a killer feature for end user convenience (even if it is closed and makes /. users angry). Windows doesn't have an app store model, and isn't likely to get one because it's just too much of a leap for most existing windows software suppliers to make.

Could be but I think it won't be (2, Insightful)

GhigoRenzulli (1687590) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009564)

People still need processor power, big storage, large monitors, confortable keyboards and mice. Netbooks may be great for some users, but many other users just find them almost useless. I can't think of myself watching/recompressing/editing full hd video on a netbook. Programming of mostly any kind would also be a pain. One point: they're usually cute, and people buy them. In these cases, "buy" doesn't mean "use".

Re:Could be but I think it won't be (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010054)

Processor speed? Possibly, but I know a lot of non-geeks that stopped bothering to upgrade when processors hit around 1GHz. If they got new computers after that it was because they wanted a laptop or because someone else had a spare computer that they didn't need. Big storage? Maybe, but do they need to carry it with them or would they be better off with a consumer-grade NAS box in their house somewhere? Large monitors? Modern HDTVs support HDMI. Just plug your little computer into your TV when you're at home and use it with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

Re:Could be but I think it won't be (2, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010154)

90% of PC users don't write code, compile, edit or recompress HD or any other video, render 3D anything, nor compose pages for publishing.

90% of PC users surf the Web, read and compose mail as text, watch video and tolerate sub-HD quality, and occasionally flip through their digital photographs. Rarely they use some Web service to make albums, remove red-eye, order Christmas cards and replacement checks every two years, and play Flash games. Web services rule. Banking, social interaction, news, pr0n, it's all in the Web. Microsoft has already lost this battle. Bing is their last gasp to be relevant in Webspace. Microsoft buying Yahoo! would just kill two birds with one stone.

Flash is the most demanding application most users bother to use, and many don't even realize it. Their browser is second, and they complain about how slow their machine is when their IE instance grows to >300MB and they can't get from one corner of their plot to another instantly in Farmville. They think it's their computer being slow when Facebook takes a moment to show them something cool.

Put Flash on their netbook, and any OS out there is adequate. YouTube has its own deal. If you can put Netflix on it, you're home free. Microsoft Works would be overkill. GMail is all the editor they need.

Microsoft has to fight netbooks, and especially ARM-based netbooks, since they lose any hope of selling Office 2007+ to these users. Unless they make Windows 7 Mobile on ARM a subscription model, and you need a credit card to activate. The billing starts in a year and continues until your bank fails or you upgrade, and maybe even past that.

Ubuntu or any Linux on ARM looks better and better. I suspect ASUS and others could do some nice work with Linux distros for a fraction of the cost of licensing Windows, deliver their customers some serious value, and be free of Microsoft. That last benefit may be the most powerful of all.

But the Empire will strike back. Even Adobe has a huge stake in this. If HTML5 succeeds in replacing Flash, it will be Acrobat that saves Adobe. Oh, wait...

And if they succeed, and Microsoft loses netbook share, expect Linux to suffer security exploits as never before. We haven't seen corporate espionage yet. The Microsoft v. Novell/Lotus/WordPerfect battles were nothing compared to this war. If^H^Hwhen it starts, the carnage will be worldwide, and both sides will suffer. I'm not sure any of the Chinese^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hbot farmers have really exerted all their ability to own Windows. We ain't see nothing yet.

Me? I bailed on the netbokk thing and bought a 12" Thinkpad. I just needed the screen space. A Pentium M anything is fast enough for my portable machine. Those were too good.

Re:Could be but I think it won't be (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010362)

Personally, I would adore to have something just big enough for an optical drive, decent battery, and solid state storage that was powerful enough to run a effects-light Ubuntu so I could cart it round uni all day and do stats with R,use LyX during lectures, and not worry too much about it. Bigger than the stupidly small ones, but still small enough to go in the backpack with books, notebooks, stats tables, and the Yellow Book of actuarial maths.

I see the appeal (1)

Rog-Mahal (1164607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009568)

90% seems a bit optimistic, but with the dropping prices and improving performance of SSD technology and more energy efficient batteries/hardware, I could see the netbook become a small, rugged moderately disposable form of computing. I will definitely get one once my current computer dies because I love the Linux-friendly hardware and low cost.

Under one condition (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009576)

Excluding gamers on the go (or anyone else that needs a lot of computing power on the go), I could foresee netbooks replacing conventional laptops over the next decade or so. It would be nice if more of them were designed as convertible tablets, but meh...can't have everything.

Alienware's new m11x [alienware.com] will help bridge the gap between full size notebooks and netbooks, but the price will have to come down while keeping the upgraded power for netbooks to really take over.

It sort of already has for me... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009712)

I could foresee netbooks replacing conventional laptops over the next decade or so.

My main laptop died this last summer, and I've been using my Netbook as my only computer since then (well, at least for work and some entertainment purposes).

As someone else pointed out, there are times I wish it had a bit more power, usually only when I go to Hulu or some such place, but other than that, it does everything I need it to do.

Hell, I even run Virtualbox with a WinXP instance on it for the rare instance I need to use a Win program and have no trouble with it.

Low footprint netbooks (3, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009656)

Laptops are pretty crude these days. Spinning drives, spinning fans, bulky operating systems originally designed for desktops that were adapted for the laptop instead of purpose-built.

The Palm OS stuff years back really made me wonder, especially when I got an external keyboard for my palm -- could you upscale something like this into a computer? It has more horsepower than my first desktop, the fancier palms could get on the net with wifi. What if you made a bigger screen and stuck the palm guts in that? At the time I figured the problem was cost and performance. Screens are half the price of a laptop so why would anyone want to spend several hundred bucks for a gimped device when they could spend a few more and get a full-featured laptop? But the iPhone had the right idea. Stripped down, customized OS for the phone. Leave the whole desktop OS design behind.

The hardware really has come a long way and basic user needs haven't become that much crazier. Putting an mp3 player in a car used to involve putting a freakin' PC in the car, now you either have an mp3/cd player in the dashboard or a line in for your standalone player. You used to need a pretty beefy machine for the time just to get online and read your mail. Cell phones have enough power for that now. And storage capacity? It's crazy.

There will always be a need for as much crazy power as possible in a portable format but that will be a smaller niche of the market.

Re:Low footprint netbooks (0, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009680)

My favorite part about my Dell Mini 9 is that, excluding the keyboard, the lid hinge, and the trackpad buttons...it has zero moving parts.

No internal optical drive + SSD hard drive = made of win.

I want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009672)

...some of whatever he's smoking: ""ARM chief executive Warren East has claimed that netbooks could dominate the PC market..."

They're really too slow to be useful in a number of applications, and it's only a little more to the same price for a netbook with a more mainstream CPU arch in it, esp. if you're considering mobile AMD parts and mobile Intel parts aren't that much more. While the rest of the *book specs being similar (integrated or lowend dedicated GPU) that increase in CPU horsepower is worth it unless you ABSOLUTELY need more battery life over anything else. (Size looks to be about equal with current trends as netbooks are rapidly becoming the size of standard notebooks.)

That said, I can't see much benefit for ARM in all of this as the VAST majority of notebooks ship with an Intel CPU & AMD is attempting their own, and with an x86 CPU it makes life simpler, much simpler rather than dealing with an ARM CPU that likely won't be running Windows and wouldn't be able to run many of the apps that people would probably want unless they're the c. 1.5% that use linux. (I multi-boot between different OSes, and having spent years with ppc(even though I would liked to have seen it go somewhere beyond the embedded, consoles, & workstations) I now greatly appreciate having x86 CPUs if for nothing else than wine useability under linux for those apps that have no linux/*NIX/etc. equivalent or ones that just aren't good enough.

As to phones/PDAs/etc, yeah, any old CPU is fine as I really don't expect to do alot with them other than use their intended features. Sure it's nice to be able to do a few other things but given I/O and screen displays it's still not entirely desireable. Possibly if actually useful headmounted or other type of displays were available along with enhanced I/O that might change, but I can't really say that I see that any more today than I did 10y or so ago.

Ah, I love earnings seasons, when CEOs pull crap out of their bottom that may sound plausible on the surface is nothing more than shareholder cheerleading to make it appear as if they're REALLY doing something.

Re:I want... (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009940)

That said, I can't see much benefit for ARM in all of this as the VAST majority of notebooks ship with an Intel CPU & AMD is attempting their own, and with an x86 CPU it makes life simpler, much simpler rather than dealing with an ARM CPU that likely won't be running Windows and wouldn't be able to run many of the apps that people would probably want unless they're the c. 1.5% that use linux.

What he said in the article was that it doesn't really matter whether ARM is used for the application process because there are already several ARM-based microcontrollers running the wi-fi, hard drive, camera, etc. The application processor is an opportunity for more growth, but the overall growth of the netbook market benefits ARM no matter what.

I don't see how 90% of PCs are going to be replaced by netbooks with tiny portable screens, though. Those are totally unusable for stuff like sustained office work. Maybe we'll all just use docking stations, but wasn't a key feature of netbooks the lack of peripheral complexity?

This time its for real... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009766)

Year of the linux notebook, Seriously guys!

Computing Power? (1)

AtomicOrange (1667101) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009790)

What about the gamers, graphics designers, and other people who need higher power computers?

You're not going to get top performance from a netbook, you're not going to render, or edit high megapixel drawings/photos.

Don't get me wrong, I love my netbook, but there's not a remote chance that I'd ever only have a netbook. I always plan to have my high power comp, and then likely some sort of media PC for the living room. 90% seems lofty. A life with only one low-powered computer? Never!

Re:Computing Power? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009954)

three words : ndvida cloud based rendering

Stop talking and start delivering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009880)

I've been waiting for an ARM netbook that I can buy for about a year. Owning the Nokia N810 tablet has convinced me that I don't need x86 compatibility. But my current ultra-portable is getting old and I'm getting desperate for a replacement.

Come-on ARM, give me an excuse to give you my money. I'd love a sub-1kg ultraportable with great battery life. Bonus since I don't have to pay the Windows tax. Install whatever is needed to make it work commercially (eg Android, Moblin, Ubuntu Remix), just let me install the full Ubuntu desktop.

It's not about if it can do the job... (2, Interesting)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009898)

It's a question of if people want it.

Just look around you, my Subaru is more than what most people need but it's one of the smaller cars on the road on average. Most people should be able to get away with eating 2200 calories or less a day but look at our fat asses and tell me that it's happening. Most people should be able to get by on a handful of TV channels and a modest collection of DVDs but we have hundreds of channels, On Demand, more DVDs in our homes than books... etc etc etc.

Modern culture likes comfort, modern culture likes the big is better lifestyle. Most people aren't going to adapt well to the next step up from the Speak and Spell. Even those who do begrudgingly adopt to it aren't really going to want it and, if they can afford a little better, will reject it with whatever bullshit logic they need to use to justify something a little more luxurious.

People have this obsession with hording and with being able to show that their possessions are bigger, stronger and faster than anyone else on the block. Computers are part of this culture of possession and no amount of benchmarks and proof of concept are going to change that.

Netbook? (3, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009950)

Most could have a portable internet device in the next few years. But its shape could end not being the netbook one. Cellphones, and tablets also want a share in that space, and probably will be a mix of all. Cellphones are getting into shape to be good enough internet devices, and if you want larger screens,tablets with keyboards, hybrids (like Asus T91 [engadget.com] , cheaper, more powerful and with far more battery life), should be the most popular kind.

This will require fast, cheap and energy efficient cpus, and if well could not be netbooks, ARM and other non-intel (i.e. TI's OMAP4 [gizmodo.com] ) cpus should have a good portion of the market in that scenario,and probably a lot will be somewhat linux based (android, moblin, maemo,etc)

Meh (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#31010132)

i didn't get into laptops because they are too small. My fiance has a netbook which was handy on vacation a few times, but it's still too small and underpowered for me use as anything but a browser. For that i have an iPhone which is much, much smaller.

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