June 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm
Intel was accused of colluding with Microsoft from some quarters when supposed maximum specifications for Windows 7 Starter Edition were revealed. These specs relate to being able to stick Windows 7 Starter Edition on a netbook, which is likely to be a much cheaper proposition than using more expensive Windows 7 SKUs such as Home Premium.
Whilst most of the specs were very similar to that seen currently (for XP), there was one significant change. To get a discounted Windows XP licence, a netbook can be no bigger than 12.1-inches, however to qualify for Windows 7 Starter Edition license this screen size requirement has been reduced to just 10.2-inches. Some say that this has been done to limit cannibalisation of notebooks, which have been hit hard from the growth of the netbook segment.
“They are not so much constraints. We are trying to frame the category that we’re trying to encourage,” said Mooly Eden, VP of Intel’s mobility group. “If you use a netbook with a bigger screen, people expect a standard notebook. The responsive of the system might be disappointing,” Eden said.
“You saw some people trying to experiment with Atom and a bigger screen and stuff like this. Try to open the system, open more windows. Try to open some more demanding applications, and I believe you will see the responsiveness is not what we were planning for,” Eden said.
This leaves the doors open to rivals such as AMD and VIA to power ‘netbook’ models in the 11.6-inch and 12.1-inch segment. Samsung already uses a VIA processor for its 12-inch NC20 mini-notebook, whilst HP uses the AMD Neo CPU for its Pavilion dv2 model.
However, Intel feels that by pushing screen sizes, the battery life will be hampered. “It’s not magic. If you want to get more performance, you will pay with more transistors, you will pay with more leakage, you will pay with more power. You will end up with [the netbook] being slightly thicker with lower battery life,” Eden said.