The Standard has brought up some interesting questions about the future of netbooks in their recent article about the upcoming release of Windows 7.
The biggest issue at hand is the price point of Windows 7. While we have some preliminary numbers already, it’s unknown what Microsoft will charge manufacturers for their new OS. That fee that will likely trickle down to consumers. This could lead to an increase in netbook prices and the quality of their features, at least according to analyst Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies:
“This is what both Microsoft and hardware companies want. They want to sell ultrathin laptops for $500 rather than netbooks for $300. But users like netbooks.”
There’s no question about that! But even if prices rise for Windows 7 netbooks, what will happen to Windows XP?
Windows XP is currently sold to manufacturers for about $15 a copy, a compromise that Microsoft reluctantly took in light of the fact that Vista is unbearably slow on most netbooks. Microsoft has agreed to license Windows XP for a full year after the October 22 release of Windows 7.
The real debate is whether consumers will accept a price boost in order to get in on Windows 7. Indeed, Kay notes that while “there’s no doubt Windows 7 will be better than XP on netbooks,” it might not be “$100 better when all most people do on netbooks is surf the Web, check e-mail and IM.”