Netbook Drama: Arm Might Surpass Intel by 2012

There’s nothing like an analyst report to create drama: Robert Castellano (The Information Network) believes that the future of Netbooks lies with ARM and its Cortex-A9 architecture. According to him, ARM’s processor will be much cheaper than Intel’s offering – cheap enough to sway swaths of netbook makers to ARM’s side. For this to happen, Mr. Castellano is betting on two things:

  • Massive adoption of Linux, as Microsoft does not intent to build an ARM version
  • Dominance of Cloud computing that would “eliminate” the need for local storage

First, predicting the future is a difficult business and Robert Castellano might be right, but in my opinion, he’s most likely very wrong.

For one, the current Netbooks trend points to the fact that Netbooks are getting bigger (10″, 12″, 13″) and feature more storage (160GB+) because custgomers are willing to pay a bit more for comfort. Secondly, and more importantly, there no indication that Linux will be the operating system (OS) of choice for users, regardless if cloud computing becomes ubiquitous or not. Finally, whether or not cloud computing will “eliminate” the need for local storage is very questionable.

The software aspect of things is largely left out of this analysis, which is a mistake. In the end, the question is: will Windows dominate the Netbook market? If yes, then Intel will win. If not,ARM might stand a chance. As of late,some love Linux (because they hate Windows?)while mostdo prefer Windows, because they want to use applications they are familiar with.

In the meantime, we can all write about a fictitious drama in a field currently largely dominated by Intel… The bottom-line is: we don’t know, there are too many variables.

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