Samsung says that its netbook hardware could handle the more ‘premium’ versions of Windows 7.
Right now, the mainstream operating system of choice for netbooks is Windows XP. Its demands on the system are light and it offers the common user a familiar environment for computing. But with Windows 7 looming on the horizon, Microsoft isn’t about to let an OS that’s two generations old continue to proliferate on the fast-growing computer segment.
Microsoft will release a version of Windows 7 called Starter Edition that’s meant for low-cost, entry-level PCs--including netbooks. Starter Edition is to be a lightweight version of the OS, but it’ll also be handicapped at running just three applications at a time. Microsoft also hopes that users will pony up the cash to upgrade to a more capable version of Windows 7.
When Samsung was asked by TechRadar if it was developing Windows 7-based netbooks, company marketing head Kyu Uhm replied affirmative and said, "Currently Microsoft provides Windows XP for netbooks. For Windows 7 they would like to give us Windows 7 Starter Edition for netbooks. That's the current plan. ... [Different versions are a] matter of how much we need to pay to Microsoft. It is an open issue. So we can ship other Windows 7 versions, but it is a matter of royalties."
While Microsoft has not revealed its pricing structure for the different levels of Windows 7, the Starter Edition will surely be one that’ll have the least impact on price -- the largest deciding factor in the budget segment -- making it the logical choice for system makers.
Those testing the Windows 7 beta on current netbooks report that the full, uncrippled version of the OS works well even on the modest hardware. With the performance tweaked in the final version, performance on a netbook will be even better. Users will undoubtedly prefer to run Windows 7 Home Premium on their netbooks -- but now we’ll just have to wait and see how many OEMs choose to ship their products with it.