To run Ubuntu Linux only, by all accounts.
Intel may need to watch its back because ARM, makers of the processors powering countless phones and other small devices, is set to launch its own CPU designed for netbooks and MIDs. If any potential rival was positioned to take on Intel in the netbook and MID market, ARM is almost certainly it.
ARM has teamed up with a company called Canonical to see a version of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution compiled for the ARMv7 architecture. That isn’t expected to be available until April next year, so presumably we’ll be waiting until then to actually see systems sporting ARM’s processor.
Speaking to Laptop magazine, ARM’s Director of Strategic Software Alliances, Kerry McGuire, commented that “Our platform can provide not only high performance but all-day battery life and advanced video functionality.” Continuing, “we can provide maximum power saving“
McGuire also apparently suggested that ARM would be able to offer superior performance to Atom in the area of high definition video, a particular weak point of Intel’s platform.
ARM’s biggest problem, as I see it, is that Intel already has the netbook market pretty much sewn up. Unless ARM can find an OEM that has yet to enter the market, or persuade a current Atom user to defect, it won’t matter how good its CPU is.