May 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm
We should start to see a number of ARM-powered netbooks hit retail as the year ends. As ARM chips are not x86 (unlike Intel Atom), it means currently they cannot support Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. More than likely we’ll see these ARM netbooks running on Linux-variants such as Google’s Android OS. However, ARM’s CEO is hinting that Windows 7 support may be on the cards at some point in the future.
ARM recently reported its first quarter results and during the analyst conference call, ARM’s CEO, Warren East, said “Microsoft will continue to play an important part in this [netbook] space. If there was Windows support for the ARM processor today clearly it would be a very different marketplace. Perhaps there will be support in future but that’s really for Microsoft to comment on and not for us to comment on, I’m afraid.”
The claim seems somewhat dubious in our view. Even if somehow Windows 7 is ported to ARM chips, you still will have the conundrum of getting Microsoft’s software packages to work, such as Office, as well as third party software. ARM chips are meant to provide a cheaper package with increased power efficiency. Surely, tagging on Windows would just make the overall proposition more expensive? Personally, I can’t see this happening any time soon and I certainly wouldn’t suggest anyone waits for an ARM/Windows combo in the near future.