Netbook Musings - Atom 330 and Windows 7

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Shuttle uses Intel’s Atom 330 for a touch screen PC while Microsoft sees netbooks at $200 by year-end.

Pic courtesy Shuttle

Shuttle’s All-In-One PC is notable both for its  CPU – Intel’s dual core Atom 330 – and its price – expected to be about $500.Key features include:

  • Touch Screen 15.6″ LCD 1366 x 768 – no keyboard
  • Webcam – 1.3 megapixels
  • Intel GMA950+ ICH 7
  • 1 GB RAM – 2 GB Supported
  • Windows XP Home – support for Vista Home
  • 1.4 inches depth,  8 pounds
  • 160 GB HD – support to 600 GB
  • Wireless and Ethernet port

This is one of the first Atom 330 PCs to be announced and it’s interesting to see that the OS will be XP – still alive and kicking!

As I look at this product, I think it’s a preview of what’s possible with an Atom 330 netbook using Windows 7. Microsoft’s Mark Croft, Director of OEM Marketing, expects to see netbooks coming to market at a $200 price point. This suggests that emasculated Windows 7 will be priced comparable to XP’s netbook price.

Both Microsoft and netbook manufacturers are looking for consumers upgrades to Windows 7 Home Premium. According to Croft, manufacturers are looking at margins of $0 – $20 on netbooks – nowhere near what laptops have been bringing in. To boost margins, netbooks have to upsell for higher profits.

Windows 7 should be available to OEMs around mid-year, so expect to see more powerful netbooks shipping with Windows 7 available for the Christmas push. It would seem that by using Windows 7, OEMs are less constrained by Microsoft’s netbook-XP policies, although how Intel might respond to the Atom 330 showing up in netbooks is a bit of an unknown.

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