Most netbooks today use Intel or VIA processors. But that could change soon, as a slew of ARM-based mini-computers are set to hit the market. But there’s one thing that ARM based netbooks can’t do: Run Windows… yet.
While Windows CE, Linux, Google Android, and other operating systems can run on low power ARM CPUs, Microsoft has never released a desktop version of Windows that runs on ARM. But that could be changing. While nobody’s come out and said that Microsoft is working on a version of Windows 7 that could run on ARM chips, the company has gone out of its way to highlight the fact that Windows 7 doesn’t need blazing fast hardware to perform well.
And ARM Holdings CEO Warren East recently implied that Microsoft could port Windows 7 to work with ARM chips in the future. Of course, his comments might mean nothing. And since we’ve never seen a full blown version of Windows running on an ARM processor it’s tough to say how well the processor and operating system would play together, or whether this is a development worth waiting for. But ARM is well known for offering decent performance chips for devices like cellphones that have stellar battery life when compared to full sized computers.