Researcher: Chrome to boost Atom to ARM switch in netbooks -

Researcher: Chrome to boost Atom to ARM switch in netbooks

LONDON — Technology changes, including the introudction of the Chrome OS, will undermine Atom’s grip on the netbook market during a recessionary time when people don’t want, and can’t afford, a second laptop just to carry around say market researchers, The Information Network.

While Intel’s Atom holds more than an 80 percent share of the 23.5-million netbooks sold in 2009 the ARM processor will to gain a 55 percent market share of the 96.0 million netbooks sold in 2012, according to researchers.

“We see two technology factors converging with the poor macroeconomic situation that will create a market for ARM – the release of the Cortex-9 microarchitecture and the emergence of cloud computing,” said Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network (New Tripoli, PA). “Chrome OS is the first operating system built with cloud computing in mind.”

The researchers point out that ARM runs under the Linux operating system. Linux is free, whereas Microsoft charges a licensing fee up to $35 on each netbook. Linux systems have struggled against Windows in the netbooks market because of the lack of adequate productivity software that is familiar to consumers, particularly Office-based solutions running on ARM-based platforms.

Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS offers an improved suite of productivity applications, which will influence netbook purchasers toward the ARM system.

In addition, says The Information Network, to further keep costs down near the originally intended $100 price point of a netbook, enter cloud computing. Cloud computing is a web-based service that resides on the web, and is much cheaper than software packages that are purchased and stored on a netbook’s hard drive or solid state drive. Eliminating a drive will reduce the price of a netbook a further $55.

Along with the growing competition among software service providers, The Information Network pointed out in March 2009 that a new infrastructure would take hold, modeled after Hewlett-Packard (cheap printer, expensive ink) and the mobile service providers (cheap cellphone, expensive monthly wireless charge). This subsidized bundle model will grow the ARM netbook to greater market shares. This strategy is now underway according to the researchers.

As cloud computing becomes more sophisticated, we will see an Internet Protocol-based convergence of audio, video, productivity applications, and IT data run on ARM-based netbooks.

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
No. of netbooks (millions)

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