Some improvements, some disappointments.
Microsoft may have restored some good will with its Windows 7 Starter edition changes yesterday, but netbook fans aren’t likely to be thrilled by this latest development…
The Redmond giant has formally announced the new maximum specifications for netbooks shipping with Windows 7 and they represent very little improvement on the hardware currently enforced upon those with XP.
The most notable restriction is the very surprising decision to once again limit netbooks to just 1GB RAM, a remarkable choice considering how much better machines with 2GB run and just how cheaply this upgrade can be made. Other disappointments include a restriction to ”single core” processors that have a 15W thermal design (read: Atom or VIA Nano) though their clock rate has been increased to 2GHz.
The maximum screen size has been cut to 10.2 inches from 12.1in as well but by way of compensation eligible HDD and SSD capacities are boosted to 250GB and 64GB respectively while there is no limitation on the choice of graphics and capacitive touchscreens are now allowed. Of course manufacturers can ignore these spec limitations altogether if they ship netbooks with Windows 7 Home edition or above, but then the greatly reduced license charge won’t be available and that means higher prices.
Personally, I’d pay that bit more to have a netbook which isn’t forcibly capped to 1GB RAM and I suspect so would many others. Consequently, it will be interesting to see if the (s)dull(/s) uniform machine specs that accompanied XP based netbooks will be as prevalent this time around…