Netbooks and Windows 7 Beta

January 12, 2009 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Netbooks, Twynham School, Windows 7 

At the start of the week we were talking about the use of remote applications and rolling out laptops to students at Twynham School. As yet we haven’t gone beyond trialling laptops due to a number of key factors. Firstly price is the greatest issue as I would like to create a sustainable system where parental contribution and pump priming by the school can create a self financing system.

Looking at the state of the market in August while on holiday in New York, I was excited to see the maturation of netbooks with much greater range due to the arrival of big players such as Dell. In addition size and spec has increased significantly with many models now offering a 10 inch laptop, full or near full keyboard size and 1GB RAM. For me this development has been essential and makes a netbook a viable first machine for students. Any smaller and screen size, keyboard and power become an issue for many of the applications we want to use with students who will be using the devices for many hours a day.

What about the OS? Well we would prefer to use Windows and this has been a real issue. Most machined come with XP loaded if you want to go the windows route. This is a two pronged issue as XP is now 7 years old and the home version prevents connection to a domain. In truth the real issue has been the difficulty of loading Vista on the netbooks we have, For us the compromise in performance was too great and in November we took the decision that we needed to wait and see what happens with Windows 7 and notebook launches at CES.

I am pleased to say that on both counts we have good news. Already a number of people have loaded Windows 7 Beta onto their netbooks and they are impressed with the stability and performance. With less than half of the RAM used by the OS and a much smaller footprint in terms of hard drive all the signs are that Windows 7 will be our roll out point for netbooks. Take a look at this video

As for netbooks, there have been quite a few launched at CES and I am really interested in the new ASUS T101H. With a touch screen and tablet functionality this could well be the answer to schools that want pc access everywhere but still want to see regular hand writing alongside this.

My own opinion is that we will see both a maturation and convergence between low end laptops and netbooks to create a perfect solution for education in the next three years. I think that this ideal machine will have the following specs:

12 inch screen

Full size keyboard

Windows 7 OS


1KG weight

8 hour battery life

£200 price point

Of course there are more elements to this but these 7 features are likely to produce a cost effective powerful machine that is mobile enough for students. I think this development will take 18 months-3 years but what would I choose if I was rolling our netbooks to students this year? I will discuss this tomorrow.


3 Responses to “Netbooks and Windows 7 Beta”
  1. Anon says:

    One question. What’s wrong with having a linux based operating system on a netbook? Will save lots of money, and will perform well.

  2. admin says:

    The idea that it would be cheaper certainly seems true but the evidence seems to suggest that Microsoft are selling XP for as little as $5 to netbook manufacturers and in some cases they may even be giving it away. Some bloggers have even suggested that Microsoft are paying some netbook manufacturers to put XP on. Thinking beyond this we survey our students a lot and know that almost all of them have a windows environment and want us to provide a windows environment at school and beyond. Is there anything wrong with it. I think that Windows 7 is going to be a fantastic OS and it is performing brilliantly on our Samsung NC10.

  3. admin says:

    Hi there Arorie. I was surprised the name hadnt already gone when I started thinking about blogging a few months ago. Hopefully it will be easy to find for people interested in the topic. Thanks.

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