March 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm
Whilst Microsoft may hold the dominant market share for netbooks, there’s no certainty that it will remain the leader. There a number of Linux-based operating systems being tailored for netbook use from a number of different parties. ARM, who design low-cost, low-power processors, is knocking on the door of the netbook world and its CEO expects at least ten ARM-based netbooks this year. As it does not make x86 processors, using Windows for these netbooks is not an option. While many have talked about Google’s Android as being the most natural Linux-saviour, Laptop Mag’s Mark Spoonauer argues that it is in fact Palm’s Web Operating System that could make waves in the netbook market.
With the recent news of Dell’s attempt at a smartphone, Spoonauer reasons that Dell, or any other computer manufacturer would be smart to acquire webOS to use on their netbooks, or to buy Palm outright. Palm’s webOS is a customized version of Linux, specially made for low power processor devices (such as the ARM chips in the Pre) and is also easily the most consumer friendly flavour of Linux. Palm’s webOS’ light footprint, ability to run more than 3 applications at once (I’m looking at you, Windows 7 Starter edition), support of Flash, and compatibility with the increasingly popular ARM processors make it a great choice to run on new netbooks.
Palm’s WebOS is also touch-friendly, which could provide a great alternative to the unproven Windows 7. Palm also has a built-in app store for touch friendly apps, which W7 won’t have as far as I know. Also, Palm’s WebOS is integrated with the cloud. It means data can (contacts, calendars) be constantly synced with the web, which is ideal for netbooks with mobile broadband. The article brings up some great points, and I suggest you read the thing yourself, and don’t be surprised if we see a partnership between Palm and a netbook manufacturer at some point in the future.