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ARM Exec Says 90% of PC Market Could Be Netbooks 307

Posted by timothy
from the invested-interest dept.
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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ARM Exec Says 90% of PC Market Could Be Netbooks

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:35AM (#31009444)

    whether it's true or not is another thing

    • by MrNaz (730548) * on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:37AM (#31009496) Homepage

      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. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TrisexualPuppy (976893) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:46AM (#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!
        • by Anonymous Coward

          My kingdom for a modpoint

        • Re:Absolutely not. (Score:4, Informative)

          by duguk (589689) <dug&frag,co,uk> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:55AM (#31009750) Homepage Journal

          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.

          • by dc29A (636871) *

            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. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:01AM (#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. (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:11AM (#31009998) Journal
          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.

        • by stiggle (649614)

          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

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          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. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sznupi (719324) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:26PM (#31011106) Homepage

            You greatly overestimate the prevalence of "gaming PCs"; the proportions you suggest are pretty much reversed, compared to reality.

            Valve Steam is probably the most popular service of this kind. Now, current version of Steam Survey doesn't give absolute values anymore; but on the previous one (up to around year ago), it was clear from the numbers that there's not even 1.5 million participating subscribers. Out of those who do participate, hardly anyone has Intel GFX, which has biggest share of the general market. People usually simply don't play games on PCs; or at least not what you'd call "real" games, preferring Peggle, Solitaire or flashgames. Atom or fast ARM is fine for most of them.

            • Re:Absolutely not. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:19PM (#31012818)

              Not quite true. Steam is big, yes, but Steam is hardly the whole market. What are the 11 million WoW players using, for instance. What are EQ and UO players using? What are players of original non-Steam iD games using? How about those EA games? Maxis games? The runaway ridiculously best-selling The Sims runs on gaming PCs, not cell phones.

              Are there a whole lot of so-called "casual" gamers? Yes. Are there a lot more "real" gamers than is represented by Steam? Definitely.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Albanach (527650)

          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 cont

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by iamhassi (659463)
          "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 o
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by cayenne8 (626475)
            "Who watches DVDs anymore? "

            I'd guess MOST people still do...at least in the US.

        • Absolutely yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by elnyka (803306) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:54AM (#31010568) Homepage

          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!

          After spending a while in Japan (and observing their net/electronic pattern usages), combined with purely anecdotal observations on communication and usage patterns of people here in the US and in my beloved 3rd world country of origin, it is fair to say most people are fine with a device that lets them e-mail and twitter and upload pictures on facebook, google for stuff, read the news and job sites, maybe run MS Office or Google Apps, and for the savvyy video conference with skype (which is how my grandma who lives in a little town up in the mountains got to see my newborn baby for the first time after getting Internet over dial-up.) Shit, even some of the Xingu people up in the Amazon have internet access now!!!! Anyways, go back to the topic...

          The average electronics consumer WILL NOT use that type of device to run DVDs (there are super-cheapo portable DVDs for that) or run gcc, Mathematica or a LAMP. They don't need a super-duper CPU and the latest and greatest graphics card.

          We, what we call "powerusers") certainly want a mighty gadget that can run everything we want in one device. But we do not represent the average electronic consumer.

          Typical people, the average electronics consumer of 2010, whether here or Japan or south of the border, on the other hand will be happy to have an iPhone/BlackBerry, the smallest possible laptop/netbook that can do the job without much jitters and a portable DVD player (comes handy for entertaining your kids while you are busy with your laptop/netbook while having breakfast at Panera or wherever they sell breakfast with free wifi).

          Warren East is re-stating the obvious (and inflating stock values), but that's his job. What we are missing here, is our ability to objectively judge the merits of his claims, not from our point of view as l33t hax0rs, but from the shoes of the average consumer - they are the ones that constitute the market (and the opportunities therein), not us.

      • Or *New* market (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DrYak (748999) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:35AM (#31010304) Homepage

        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.

    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@[ ]mail.com ['hot' in gap]> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:42AM (#31009562) Journal
      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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

        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 ever

        • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:11AM (#31010002) Homepage Journal

          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: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by iamhassi (659463)
            "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."

            Not exactly. Xbox 360 is far ahead in the media center game [digitaltrends.com], which is what people want, the days of a $300 gaming only system are over. Only thing PS3 still has going for it is the built-in blu-ray drive, but to do something as simple as stream Netflix requires a Netflix disc [csmonitor.com] tha
        • by miknix (1047580) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:32AM (#31010262) Homepage

          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.

  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:36AM (#31009466) Homepage Journal

    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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MrNaz (730548) *

      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*.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        "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.

        • 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... ;)

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            Very simple you stated that users don't like the iPhone OS.
            Well some people do not but a huge numbers of people do and it has changed the mobile phone market.
            I can tell you that a lot more people don't like WinMO than iPhoneOS. Frankly a lot more WinMo users hate WinMo. Most are stuck because of some app they must have and are hopping that WinMO7 doesn't suck.
            Taskmanager? I have not needed on on my iPod Touch. Now on my Android phone I do. I will not get an iPhone because of AT&T. But a phone shouldn't

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by whisper_jeff (680366)

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

        Back up your claim with fact.

        Sorry, what's that? You can't? Thought so.

        Important lesson all slashdot readers should learn - we are not the norm. We do not represent the majority of users. Not by a long shot. What we like/dislike often has absolutely zero bearing on what the vast majority of people like/dislike.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jgagnon (1663075)

      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/ubu [canonical.com]

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by dmacleod808 (729707)
        I run OSX on my MSI U100... it works great... and i can play video and light gaming...
    • by tjwhaynes (114792) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:48AM (#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

      • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jeffmeden (135043)

          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 mul

      • 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

    • by theJML (911853)

      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 the

    • 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.)

    • by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:47AM (#31010450) Homepage Journal

      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...

      I bought one a year ago - a Dell Mini 9 with a 1.6GHz dual core Atom processor, 2Gb RAM, and a solid state device in place of disk. My desktop machine which I use for development is a dual processor Athlon 1.6GHz with 2.5Gb or RAM and a SCSI raid array. Both run Ubuntu 9.10. Which is faster? Well, for jobs like compiling, the netbook tends to be, because the SSD is a lot faster than physical disk. For everything else except 3d graphics, they're about equal. The ATI graphics card on the desktop does 3d better and faster than the Intel on board graphics chip on the netbook.

      But the only places the desktop really has it over the netbook are graphics and disk capacity. The netbook has it over the desktop in terms of noise, size, weight, power consumption, portability.

      Now, OK, mine's an Atom, not an ARM. But there really isn't that big a difference in performance between a dual core 1.6Ghz Atom and a dual core 1.2GHz ARM, and a four core 1.2GHz ARM will scare the pants off it. These days, a netbook really can give you all the compute power you need, and five plus hours battery life.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Jokes aside, a co-worker of mine recently received a Dell netbook for his at-work duties. Small form factor but it had a full-size laptop keyboard.

      Great for him, but too bad for me. Laptop keyboards are a nightmare for my giantfolk hands.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Locutus (9039)
      FYI, the platform is currently restricted to a maximum of a 10.1" display as per Microsoft and vendors tied in any way to Microsoft must abide by that. Did you not read about the ASUS executive apologizing for showing a non Windows netbook last year with Microsoft on stage?

      If Microsoft can't continue to threaten the manufacturers of these devices and they finally start hitting the market, you will start seeing 12", 15" and larger devices running multi-core ARM processors. That is a big _if_ because Micros
  • by JSBiff (87824) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:39AM (#31009528) Journal

    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.

    • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:45AM (#31009610) Homepage Journal

      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.

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:54AM (#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?

        • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by julesh (229690)

          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 W

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tepples (727027)

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

          Windows 7 ARM Edition would run existing third-party apps designed for early CE netbooks [wikipedia.org], Windows Mobile PDAs, and Windows Mobile smartphones, as I thought I explained in grandparent.

          The only reason I use Windows on any of my computers is to run closed-source applications that only run on Windows

          I'm in a different situation. Much of my workflow is based on free software, but I stuck with Windows so long because of closed-source drivers without a counterpart in the Linux world. Fortunately, those won't be as necessary on an ARM netbook, as OEM Windows distributions include drivers for all included hardware and anything

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Zerth (26112)

          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?

          My company doesn't even need IE, Word or Powerpoint. All they need is a good terminal client and(unfortunately) a spreadsheet bug-compatible with Excel.

          If it weren't for that second requirement, we'd have gone linux whole hog already. If Microsoft ported Office to ARM, I'd toss every non-server X86 box that didn't belong to accounting out in a second.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        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.

        • If the netbook market becomes large enough, Intel will simply make whatever investment is necessary to outcompete ARM in the netbook sector.

          Intel already sold XScale to Marvell, and as I understand it, Atom already has much of its die area dedicated to x86 compatibility cruft.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Phics (934282)

      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.

      • by JSBiff (87824)

        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 l

    • by godrik (1287354)

      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.

      • 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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      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.
    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        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.

        • 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.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        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: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Frosty Piss (770223)

          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.

          • by hitmark (640295)

            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?

    • by thaig (415462) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:59AM (#31009808) Homepage

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Mashdar (876825)
      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 year
    • 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 b
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      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 th

  • 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.
    • A netbook is not a replacement for a fully-powered computer. It is a supplement to such a computer. Netbook processors can't do games, rich media (like full-screen flash video) or a lot of other things many people do with their computers these days. When you're not at your computer, they're great. But if your only computer were a netbook, you would go mad with frustration.

  • 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.

    • 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

    • by hitmark (640295)

      unreal 3 engine running on tegra2?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYtLBh4lPMk [youtube.com]

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:49AM (#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.

  • by east coast (590680) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:04AM (#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.
    • by hitmark (640295)

      modern US culture perhaps, but then again, hollywood is doing a hell of a job exporting said culture to the rest of the world...

  • Netbook? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:08AM (#31009950) Homepage Journal
    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)

  • by AP31R0N (723649)

    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.

  • Yeah right. Two people in my office have Netbooks and both complain about how they aren't powerful enough to do what they need. To top that, the only time they use them is when they travel so they can get mail, access Google docs, read PDF documents, and use IM.

    I purchased one for my 11 year old daughter for Christmas cause she wanted one. All she does is complain about how slow it is and how much trouble she has watching videos and voice chatting with her friends. I tried to install a Canon Pixima iP6

  • ...otherwise hardware vendors would fail. By us here I mean the folks who assemble computers from individual parts because the stuff sold pre-assembled is garbage hardware with garbage bloatware pre-installed. So I don't see how 90% of the PC market will ever be portable platforms, let alone netbooks.

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