We can all breathe a huge sigh of relief, as those pesky hardware limits that have kept Windows XP-based netbooks down for so long won't apply when Windows 7 hits the scene. If you've manage to keep up with the steady stream of XP-based netbook releases, you'll notice that most of them have an Atom N270 or N280 CPU, 1GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive and no optical drive. Despite times changing and designs morphing, the actual hardware within has remained essentially the same.
Now, it sure sounds like those limits are being removed. Microsoft has reportedly confirmed that PC makers will be able to install any version of Win7 they want on netbooks, and we suspect that Win7 Ultimate machines will need more potent hardware to really keep up. Furthermore, the "3-app limit" on Windows 7 Starter has been removed, ensuring that all versions of Win7 will at least have full (but basic) OS capabilities.
"OEMs and ODMs have the choice to install any version of Windows on a netbook," said a Microsoft UK spokesperson. "[But] Starter is an entry version and doesn’t have many of the consumer or business features. The three application limit isn’t there anymore."The spokesperson didn't specifically say that hardware changes would be more likely now, but all signs are pointing to that. Now, if only Intel would pop out a revamped Atom, we'd be pleased as punch.