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During the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference the world’s largest software designer Microsoft confirmed a special version of Windows 7 operating system (OS) designed for ultra low-cost personal computers (ULCPCs) with limited performance and capabilities.

Microsoft Windows 7 for netbooks (and nettops) will be able to run on a system equipped with 1GB of random access memory (RAM) and 16GB solid-state drive (SSD), reports Cnet News.com web-site. Representatives for Microsoft also said that more advanced Windows 7-based netbooks will be equipped with up to 160GB hard disk drives and even dual-core Intel Atom microprocessors.

It is unknown whether Windows 7 will actually help netbooks to become more advanced and comfortable to use compared to existing solutions. Netbooks are usually criticized for generally low system performance as well as small screens, something that will not be resolved by a new OS.

Still, makers of netbooks are also interested in making their machines more sophisticated, which is why at least some of them will introduce small form-factor PCs with dual-core Intel Atom processor, such as Intel Atom 330 (1.60GHz, 512KB of cache per core). This will improve performance of netbooks substantially and will even allow them to compete against low-end notebooks, which are based on processors like AMD Sempron or Intel Celeron.

Earlier this year Intel Corp. said that it did not expect Intel Atom chips to cannibalize sales of Celeron central processing units, but since the former consume much lower amount of power and are more suitable for netbooks, the world’s largest chipmaker may reconsider its expectations.

With Microsoft developing a special cut-down version of its Windows 7 OS for netbooks it seems that such small low-cost mobile computers have all chances eventually get popular enough to justify such development. For hardware manufacturers question is whether the popularity of ULCPCs affects popularity of usually typical computers.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Intel

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