ARM boss forecasts mass migration to netbooks
Desktops, laptops out - small, cheap computers in
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. ®
Re: Photo Editing
Don't know about yours, but my netbook has an external monitor connection.
Once they all move from VGA to HDMI you'll even be able to use an HD telly as a 1920x1080 monitor. At that netbook could quite realistically replace the home PC for a massive percentage of the population.
When will they actually arrive?
Been waiting pretty much since the first x86 netbooks were released for ARM versions. Despite repeated encouraging noises from ARM and various manufacturers and plenty of demos at shows there aren't any useful units you can actually buy.
Apple look to be the first to enter the market with a sensible ARM CPU. Just a shame it has that awful iPhone OS on it (yes, I have an iPod Touch, yes I've used it, yes I still think it's awful and I won't be able to change it on the iPad which kills any usefulness in the device for me).
I use my netbook a whole lot- in fact for someone who has been using computers a lot over the last ten years it is good enough for loads of stuff because I have quite a bit of old software - i even use it to play the games that I never got around to finishing back when my regular desktop PC was a similar power to the Atom in my netbook. Obviously, being a proper geek I run linux on it, but wine has consistently impressed me with it's ability to run windows software smoothly.
You may not want it for clever photo editing, but for basic stuff and typing while you veg out in front of the telly or sit by the fire netbooks are absolutely great and you can always use them for the basic processing and chuck data across to a real computer on a USB hard drive or whatever. Lately my netbook has seen a lot more use than my desktop...
It's interesting to note that all the sites we I have read about this story always mention that if you need to do heavey lifting ie whatching HD vide etc etc imply that it's simply not possible unless you have an X86 chipset.
This is clearly tosh and poppy cock. At last years MWC Texas demoed HD played from their beagle board.
As for games I don't hear much mention of people complaining that they wish they had an x86 chip in their iphones because the 3d games are so rubbish.
Anyway, keep up the good work
If deivices in netbook size get more powerful, you won't want anything more. Many users already don't want to do any more computing than the netbook format allows. Playing videos... they may not even think of doing that. Anyway, sans DVD, my own Fizzbook Spin is still a pretty satisfactory video player. My other wish is speech recognition but I bought Windows XP...
When Microsoft launched Windows CE which became PocketPC which became Windows Mobile, it may have looked at first as though they didn't get it. Palm was in the market with monochrome stylus screen and good battery lifetime, Microsoft's product was clumsily graphical, in colour, processor hungry, would go maybe through lunch break away from the charge station. But hardware advances predictably would make Microsoft's portable platform tolerable and affordable, erase most of those disadvantages. Palm's line looked doomed and was, even before considering Microsoft's advertising budget, the power of the misapplied Windows name, andsSome Palm goofs customer-satisfaction-wise.
So likewise, netbooks are gonna grow up without having to grow big. And with touchscreen and speech, bye-bye keyboard. Who wants spend all that time to learn how to give yourself RSI over a working career? And also at home? Should I stick my neck out and predict that in my time, schoolkids won't even learn to write, they'll just dictate into electronic lipreading devices? Maybe not, we did still teach Latin in the UK for about 1500 years after the Roman legions went home... maybe not.