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ARM boss forecasts mass migration to netbooks

Desktops, laptops out - small, cheap computers in

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ARM CEO Warren East believes that netbooks will come to dominate the PC market - and it won't be that long before it happens.

"Although netbooks are small today – maybe ten per cent of the PC market at most – we believe over the next several years that could completely change around and that could be 90 per cent of the PC market," PC Pro says he says.

Alas, the magazine doesn't quote East explaining why he believes we all - well, 90 per cent of us - will be buying netbooks a couple of years or so down the line.

There's certainly plenty of room for growth. Netbooks are cheap and easier to carry or simply to stash in a handy place for quick on-sofa access than your average notebook.

We're willing to bet that a large number of laptop owners use their machines solely for internet activities, and for many of them, the advantages that netbooks offer will compensate for the machines' limitations - the small screen resolution, primarily.

We can see lots of folk downsizing to smaller computers - maybe even a majority will. Even assuming East actually meant 90 per cent of the mobile PC market, that total seems awfully high. Anyone who needs to do any real processing - how about gaming, or video transcoding - will need a machine with a bit more welly, and there are plenty of people out there who do.

East, meanwhile, appears unconcerned that many of these will be based on Intel's Atom platform - there are plenty of other opportunities for ARM chippery in netbooks: wireless adaptors, storage units and so on, many of which already incorporate ARM-based controller chips. ®

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