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ARM-Powered Laptops To Increase Linux Market Share 296

Posted by Soulskill
from the year-of-linux-on-the-arm dept.
Charbax writes "Last April, Microsoft argued that it controlled the netbook OS market for devices sold in certain Microsoft-friendly US retail stores, while ABI Research claims that Linux actually has 32% of the worldwide netbook market, and that its market-share is growing. At the recent Netbook World Summit in Paris France, Aaron J. Seigo, Community leader at the KDE Foundation, and Arnaud Laprévote, CTO at Mandriva Linux, give us their estimation for next year's Linux market share (video) in the consumer laptop market. Their estimation is that Linux will dominate in ARM-powered laptops and that those may take over a significant share of the overall laptop market by their significantly cheaper prices (as low as $80), longer battery life (as long as 20-40 hours on a small battery using the Pixel Qi screens), as well as lower size and weight. Running some of the Chromium OS builds for ARM available shortly and having a full browser experience on those cheaper and better ARM-powered Linux laptops could make it a significant mass market success to shake up the Intel and Microsoft consumer PC/laptop monopoly in its boots."
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ARM-Powered Laptops To Increase Linux Market Share

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:31PM (#30415230)

    I've showed a few friends and relatives some of the virtual machine builds of Chromium OS. These are "everyday people". A couple of them are school teachers, one is a doctor, one a pharmacist, and the other a college student. None of them are overly technical.

    Basically, they all said it was shit. They didn't like how they couldn't play their existing games or use their existing apps, for instance.

    Only the college student uses GMail. The rest of them use Outlook or Thunderbird and their ISP's email system, so they didn't see any benefit there.

    One of the teachers already has a MacBook from her school, and says it works perfectly fine at the Starbucks when she gets her morning coffee. Plus she can use all of her other apps.

    None of them said they'd use Chrome OS on a regular basis. It just didn't do anything useful for them.

  • by IANAAC (692242) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:41PM (#30415318)
    I run Linux full time, with an occasional Virtualbox WinXP session running (for one stinking application).

    If I can run everything I currently run on my x86-based netbook/laptop, I'm all for it.

    Unfortunately, I don't think I can run everything I need just yet.

    Forget the "Cloud" - it doesn't interest me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:46PM (#30415366)

    There's no way I'm believing Linux has a 30%+ market share of netbooks right now. You can hardly find any to buy, and people want to run what they're familiar with, meaning they want Windows.

    What I want is something Microsoft doesn't want me to have: an ARM netbook with a high res screen and a 20 GB SSD. So far the screen res is too low on all the netbooks I can find, and for some reason they all have spinning disks. Load it with a distro that doesn't suck, and which effectively supports the gfx chip and wireless network, and I'm there.

  • by omar.sahal (687649) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:48PM (#30415398) Homepage Journal
    This is not hard to believe because 2008 showed that if a computer is cheap enough it will sell regardless of well known OS.
    I would how ever like to warn against complacency. There are warts in Linux that do not get fixed, such as the flickering screen in Ubuntu boot and shut down, despite attention from distro's (others, such as suspending a computer, are only on a minority of chip sets and can be fixed when working with a Manufacturer) It seems that Linux needs a business to focus on it and ensure that the customer experience is fully taken into account (with deference paid to hackers and community organisations such as Gnome, Kde etc).
    One thing to ask your self is would Apple (or other unnamed companies operating in the OS space) allow such a case of the above screen flickering, or would it be dealt with even if the X server had to be replaced (if that is the problem)
  • $80 is a lot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:53PM (#30415448)

    I can just heat some tap water if I want vapor and hot air. Let me know when I can buy a Linux laptop that runs 20 hours on one charge and doesn't cost more than $80.

  • ARM slow (Score:4, Interesting)

    by electrosoccertux (874415) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:53PM (#30415450)

    an ARM guy came to our institute to demo their $150 ARM system, it had Ubuntu on it, and while it could play 1080p HD video, the GUI was remarkably slow for normal tasks. Responsivity matters, and my Atom netbook certainly feels faster than that ARM+Linux.

  • Chrome OS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:53PM (#30415452)
    With all the hype about Chrome OS recently, I think people are forgetting that Ubuntu and Debian also have ARM ports, so you can pretty much run anything on an ARM. Of course, that wouldn't be any different from the current situation, so it probably doesn't really matter.
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @01:04PM (#30415582) Homepage

    My understanding is that Asia accounts for the largest portion of the netbook market. Due to price constraints, Linux comes pre-installed on more netbooks there than in the U.S. and Europe, and that's the source of the 30 percent figures you hear.

    Of course, nobody is bothering to track how many of those Linux installs get wiped and replaced with a pirated copy of Windows five minutes after the boxes are opened.

  • Re:Chrome OS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @01:07PM (#30415608) Homepage

    FWIW, Chrome OS draws code from Ubuntu, among other projects.

  • Re:ARM slow (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, 2009 @01:12PM (#30415662)

    It can be slow(ish) and incompatible with Photoshop, MS Word and Call of Duty. I don't care, as long as it runs a web browser, a terminal and an email client for a full day on one charge (with headroom for an aging battery) and doesn't cost more than $200. Oh, and I have to be able to actually buy it too. That seems to be the primary problem with these things.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @01:36PM (#30415868) Homepage

    Linux is expected to dominate ARM-based netbooks because Windows doesn't run on ARM, full stop.

    The small internet appliance market sort of started in Japan, so it might be worthwhile to look at what's happened to the trend there. The same application and comfort level issues existed there and yet the netbook and appliance market has continued to grow, and continued to poach traditional PC and laptop sales.

    30 years ago I used to hear people ask,"What would I do with a PC?" 15 years ago companies would tell me they get along just fine without the internet and electronic mail. I heard the same thing about iPods and iPhones. So when average users don't see the utility of new technology, that doesn't mean you should close the book on it.

    I've noticed over the years that price and efficiency eventually win out. Every time Linux netbooks break a price barrier, $150 then $100, you'll see more people take an interest.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd o t .org> on Saturday December 12, 2009 @01:54PM (#30416004)

    Also, Linux has tons over tons of apps that run on ARM, as opposed to any other OS out there. I mean my portage repository has 13,628 packages. Nearly all of them run on ARM. And that is only the main repository! (With over 180 smaller ones.)

  • Re:Christ, AGAIN!? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by c41rn (880778) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @02:21PM (#30416194)
    Well, you can't buy this one in BestBuy, but you can buy it in the US. I'm planning to order one after I recover monetarily from christmas. It's an ARM based notebook running Linux, and it converts in to a tablet. http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/touchbook/ [alwaysinnovating.com]
  • Re:Twist your ARM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @02:30PM (#30416298) Homepage

    Maybe you need an ultraportable. I've got a 12.1" HP DV2 (AMD Neo CPU), which is kind of an hybrid between an ultraportable and a netbook. The CPU only has one core, but way faster than most Atoms.

    The main problem is power consumption and therefore battery life. With a TDP of 15W, it lasts way less than a regular netbook.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday December 12, 2009 @02:36PM (#30416352) Journal

    I'd say it'll have a niche, I just wouldn't count on it being a really huge one, or it being their "main" PC by any stretch. I for one would pay less than $100 for one, just to have a little laptop to surf when I'm at the doctor's office, but I doubt I would get on the thing more than an hour a week, if at that. But most guys here seem to act like if the ordinary folks were just exposed to Linux, or that if you can find the perfect "Average Joe" distro, that suddenly Windows would find itself on the ropes. But it ain't the OS, hell working PC repair since the days of Win 3.x I can say that most folks don't know WHAT OS they are running, it is the little programs I call the "gottas".

    You see every average Joe and Jane I've worked for has had 1 or more programs that according to them they "gotta have", period. And they ain't gonna care how pretty or secure your OS is if it can't run the "gotta", well it just ain't gonna be real useful to them. Like the retired graphic artist down the hall, who even though he has a nice new AMD XP box I built, had to be taught by me how to use a KVM switch and have me build him a NOS 1.5GHz Win2K box because his new AMD wouldn't run his "gotta", Macromedia Xres. The girl whose PC I just fixed brought her camera software, which turns out she has carried over through 3 cameras now, because that software is her "gotta".

    So you see it isn't that Linux is bad, or that folks just need to be exposed, it is the "gotta have" software that keeps folks in Windows. A lot of my customers are looking at either sticking with XP or getting Windows 7 Pro simply because their "gotta" won't run on Windows 7 without XP mode, and without their "gotta" it just isn't that useful to them. So while I'm sure it will sell some to guys like me that know what ARM is and just want something cheap, I don't know how well that will translate to Joe and Jane. I have a feeling that they are gonna have to warn folks at retail or have a lot of these things get returned when folks that don't know about anything but Windows, which there is quite a few of those, believe me, try to install their "gotta" and find that Windows x86 don't run on Linux ARM. And if they lock it down with Chrome I don't think even I'd take it. I want to choose what apps I have and have the option to change distro, thanks anyway.

  • Re:Christ, AGAIN!? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, 2009 @02:56PM (#30416578)

    I bought a Touchbook made by Always Innovating. I've had it for a couple of months now. It's ARM-based and it runs Linux. I bought it because I wanted a touch netbook (to complement my tablet PC).

    I bought it over the Internet, not in a store -- but I can assure you it exists.

  • Re:Christ, AGAIN!? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday December 12, 2009 @03:18PM (#30416746) Journal

    Yes please! I would LOVE to pick up a couple of these sub $100 ARM Netbooks that we keep hearing about, if for no other reason to see if I can sell them to the local college kids who would probably like an ultra long battery web box that does note taking. But we hear these stories over AND over AND over again, but the things just never seem to show up? What is this Duke Nukem Forever?

    Please don't get me all hyped up thinking about about profits and then to only find this is another vaporware that will be released "sometime in the future". Hell if we are gonna do the "sometime in the future" I might as well say that sometime in the future I'll have my Alyson Hannigan Sexbot with the Buffy Season 2 Leather Outfit. Of course Alyson Hannigan is a perfect being, on which even the FCC agrees [theonion.com], and therefor replication will take time, but come on! This is a Netbook running a cell phone chip for the love of Pete!

  • by ae1294 (1547521) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @03:45PM (#30417034) Journal

    You've heard the phrase "college kid" have you not? What's wrong, would you not trust your child with a computer to take to college? You must be some kind of idiot. Of course, you sound like you're somewhere in the under fifteen range. If so, I can certainly agree that you shouldn't be trusted with a laptop.

    College kids love to spill beer all over their laptop keyboards or leave them laying about to get stolen because mommy & daddy will have to buy them a new one. They could never do their college work without one! (A total lie)

    And lastly, I'm sorry but your logic really makes no sense. First you question if I have idiot children but then go on to claim I must be 15? Anyway, if I was in fact 15 I would be all for getting an overly expensive piece of tech.

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @04:28PM (#30417398) Homepage

    The small internet appliance market sort of started in Japan, so it might be worthwhile to look at what's happened to the trend there. The same application and comfort level issues existed there and yet the netbook and appliance market has continued to grow, and continued to poach traditional PC and laptop sales.

    That's true, but the Japanese technology market doesn't really run parallel to that of the United States. Products with small form factors have always been more popular with the Japanese than with Americans. Personally, I love small laptops. The idea that you'd go out and buy a "portable" with a 17" screen seems ridiculous to me. But prior to the advent of netbooks, I would have to seek out a Japanese supplier to find something in the form factor I liked (Fujitsu, Sony) and I would have to pay a premium for it.

    On the other hand, I am told mobile phones are now pretty much the primary means of casual Internet access in Japan. That includes not just Web browsing, but if you told someone you needed to send an e-mail and asked if they had a PC you could use, they would look at you strangely. "E-mail" means those little electronic messages you get on your phone. PCs are for games.

    That attitude doesn't sound crazy to me, but my hunch says it will be a long time before Americans give up gMail in favor of doing all their messaging on their phones. Maybe Japanese are just more amenable to working with tiny devices because the high cost of real estate in Japanese cities means they don't have a lot of space store computers, but there might be cultural reasons, too. I was once told that American mobile phone suppliers could make phones as small, thin, and light as the ones you can get in Japan, but those models always test marketed poorly with Americans. Most Americans seem to equate "small, thin, and light" with "flimsy, cheap, and hard to handle."

    I've noticed over the years that price and efficiency eventually win out. Every time Linux netbooks break a price barrier, $150 then $100, you'll see more people take an interest.

    Here I agree completely. And price is what they keep buzzing about. But when the products are finally released, the manufacturers can't deliver. (See JooJoo/CrunchPad.)

    My hunch? While yes, you can get an ARM CPU for a couple bucks, I'm betting the cost of engineering and manufacturing an ultraportable, ultra-micronized electronic device to the quality standards demanded by the U.S. market costs a decent chunk of change. Big manufacturers (as opposed to TechCrunch) have the best chance of success, not just because they are recognized brands, but they have the infrastructure in place to pass UL certification, FCC certification, etc., etc., and still make sure that every fifth device that rolls off the assembly line won't fail QA. It all comes down to economies of scale -- but there's the rub, because it's yet to be proven that there's even a market for these devices. Chicken, ponder egg.

  • Re:ARM slow (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, 2009 @08:13PM (#30418800)

    And nobody will argue, that having the choice is a bad thing.

    Wrong! I will, but only because I'm perpetually wound up about Choice and Competition generally being the end of all problems. There's a flip side of it: Choice is a bad thing if you don't have the resources to deal with increased complexity. More choice means more alternatives, and each alternative - by being an alternative an hence has some degree of uniqueness - come with a need of individual attention at each of its aspects: design, build, maintenance, review, handling, promotion, repair, documentation, etc.

    Lack of choice is a feature. It's called common ground.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @01:24AM (#30420670)

    Eh, you really overestimate your demands. A $300 netbook could run all of that stuff fine, except Eclipse, and even that's doable for small projects if you upgrade RAM.

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