Kyle Thornton, category manager for Business Notebook PCs at HP, has confirmed in an interview to US website Computerworld that the PC giant will be selling its mini netbook line with up to 3 different Windows 7 operating systems.
The company will be providing Professional, Home Premium and Starter Edition although it is highly likely that HP (and many other manufacturers) will choose to bypass the restricted Windows 7 starter version altogether.
HP is already offering Windows XP Professional, Vista Business and Novell SUSE Entreprise Linux on the Mini Note 2140 it launched last month.
The latter will only allow up to three applications to run (although that excludes security applications running in the background); Windows 7 has already been tested on a number of netbooks and low-power computers and has proved to be less of a power hog compared to Windows Vista.
Current netbooks are already powerful enough to run Windows 7 with Aero features switched on and by the time Windows 7 is officially launched, most netbooks on sale are expected to have at least 1GB memory, 16GB SSD and an updated, more powerful Intel Atom processor (or similar).
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Even Windows 7 Ultimate versions have been tested on netbooks that came out last year. Windows 7 will also bring in extended support for touchscreen which means that touchscreen netbooks (like the Kindle) could be launched later this year. As for Windows 7 Starter, one way of bypassing its three-software limitations could be to use a web-based service (e.g. using Google Apps rather than Microsoft Office).