Microsoft Windows may not be available for ARM-based processors (yet), but that doesn’t mean you can’t run other operating systems on laptop or desktop computers with ARM chips. We’ve already seen a number of Android-based netbooks, and in years past I’ve seen plenty of mini-laptops with low power ARM chips and light weight Linux distributions or Windows CE. I suspect that we’ll see plenty of additional ARM-based laptops once Microsoft follows through on its promise to launch a version of its OS for ARM.

In the meantime, as ARM chips get more and more powerful, it’s likely that we’ll see a growing number of Android and Linux-based netbooks that can handle tasks from pumping out 1080p HD video over an HDMI connection to running desktop office software.

A company called Nufront demonstrated a new 10 inch laptop at CES this week which paints a pretty good picture of just what’s possible in this space. The computer has a 2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor and runs Ubuntu Linux. It has VGA and HDMI output, an SD card slot and 2 USB ports.

The laptop looks thin and light, has a decent sized touchpad and keyboard, and should get pretty good battery life thanks to the low power chipset, even with a 3 cell, 24Whr battery.

The Nufront machine is still just a prototype and it’s not clear if or when it will come to market or where it will be available. My guess is that we won’t see a lot of Linux-based systems sold in the US. But it’s good to see what’s possible.

You can check out two hands-on videos after the break, thanks toNetbook News and ARMDevices.

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9 replies on “Nufront unveils 10 inch ARM-powered netbook”

  1. Eventual Windows port or no, I don’t know why they keep showing these things at CES when it’s been amply demonstrated that there’s no US market for non-Intel-based laptops above about $100.

    1. “no US market for no-Intel-based laptops above about $100”

      Well, I’m sure AMD should just give up then?

      Thing to realize is Intel is finally getting real competition. The problem was that ARM processors are only now reaching the point that they can run a full OS properly instead of only more basic OS’es like CE, iOS, and Android.

      Motorola for example gave a pretty good demonstration with their upcoming Atrix 4G Smart Phone that can be used with a notebook dock and is powerful enough to run Windows 7 from a remote PC. While Linux and customized distros like Meego are offering valid alternatives while we wait for a Windows port.

      Such capability is set to revolutionize what is possible with portable devices. So I wouldn’t go by how the market has been the last few years for the way it will look like in the next two.

      1. “Well, I’m sure AMD should just give up then?”

        Hee! It’s funny ’cause you’re pedantic.

        1. There would be a lot less confusion and misinformation on the web if everyone was a little more pedantic and actually payed attention to the details.

          Also it demonstrated sarcasm can go both ways 😛

    2. I dunno, I run linux anyway and I’ve been holding off getting a netbook until there’s finally a decent arm-based one. Should be cheaper, lighter, longer battery life, and probably even perform better than the Atoms.

      1. I run Linux too, and my next machine will likely be ARM-based, whether or not it has a keyboard. But people like you and me don’t make up the bulk of the US market.

  2. Funny how it still has the windows key.
    Can’t wait for windows to be ARM compatible so laptops can get long battery life even with small batteries.

    1. No, its a meta-key. linux uses it too.

      I run ubuntu with compiz, and the “window” key does all sorts of crazy things.

      Of COURSE there is intrest for ARM based laptops in the US. Stop repeating MS FUD. Serious.

      1. I see. Not need to bash me.
        Just because u love linux doesn’t mean I am not entitled to my opinion.

Comments are closed.