We've seen a lot of reports going back and forth about whether or not Linux is doing well in the netbook space. As it turns out, research firm ABI Research as well as Dell say about one third of their machines ship with Linux pre-installed - which is pretty darn impressive.
According to ABI Research, out of the 35 million netbooks that will ship this year (I'm assuming that's worldwide), 11 million will ship with Linux pre-installed. This figure does not include dual-boot netbooks or those that have Windows removed and replaced with Linux - but nor does it include those where Linux is removed in favour of Windows.
This conclusion mirrors the words of Dell's Todd Finch, who in August stated that nearly one-third of Dell's netbooks ship with Linux pre-installed; Dell added that Linux netbooks' return rates are similar to those running Windows XP. This one third figure is a lot more than Microsoft's official figure, which says that about 93% of netbooks ship with Windows.
ABI Research further added that the arrival of ARM netbooks will push Linux in the netbook space to overtake Windows by 2013. Of course, we've been hearing the same heavenly predictions being made about these elusive ARM nebooks for a long time now, and yet here we are, in 2009, with only 4% of netbooks shipping with an ARM processor. ABI Research's Jeffrey Orr now claims 2010 will be the year of the ARM netbook.
"This year, ARM-based netbooks will only represent about four percent of total units. We estimate that the Intel Atom will ship in 90 percent of netbooks sold this year, and the remaining six percent are based on other x86 processors, such as Via's chips," Orr states, "Yet, next year there will be a lot of netbooks shipping on ARM Cortex-A8-based processors, and by that we're including the nVidia Tegra and Qualcomm Snapdragon, which are essentially Cortex-A8 architectures."
Well, I certainly do hope these unicorn-powered ARM netbooks arrive, because we've been hearing promises for a long time now. They sound like little dream machines, HD capable, with long battery lives and good performance.
Then again, Orr did add this: "I think Microsoft really should consider porting a version of Windows 7 to ARM." That kind of makes me question his qualifications.
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