I stopped by a panel discussion at the CEA Line Show today moderated by Laptop Magazine‘s Mark Spoonauer. The panel included executives from Samsung, HP, Verizon, and Intel talking about the current state of netbooks as well as the future. Afterward, I got a chance to catch up with
Intel General Manager for nettops and netbooks Noury Al-Khaledy to ask him about a recent report that Intel hadn’t yet validated Windows 7 Home Premium for Intel Atom processors.
You can see his complete response in the video after the break. But in a nutshell, nope, the company sure hasn’t. The thinking is that the usage scenerio for netbooks is light computing, which can be done with Windows 7 Starter Edition. But Intel may decide later to give the Home Premium version some more rigorous testing. In the meantime, Microsoft has clearly tested all versions of Windows 7 on low power netbooks with Intel Atom and similar processors, and it seems to run just fine. Intel just isn’t going to make any guarantees.
In other news, Al-Khaledy doesn’t seem too worried about so-called “smartbooks” based on ARM processors. He says they won’t be able to do the things that people are used to doing with netbooks today, so while they may fill a new niche, he doesn’t expect them to eat into the x86 netbook market tooo much. What do you think? Is there room for both smartbooks and netbooks? I somehow doubt a single person will decide to pick up a cellphone, smartbook, netbook, and full sized computer. But maybe smartbooks will appeal to people who don’t see the point in netbooks, and vice versa?