Microsoft doesn’t seem keen on making Windows run smoothly on netbook PCs, so it’s no shock to find PC vendors, such as Dell, investigating the viability of Google’s Chrome OS as an operating system for low-cost, web-centric mobile computers.
Google isn’t the only vendor to target netbooks with a web-optimized operating system. Dell and others have shown interest in Moblin — short for “mobile Linux” — an operating system that Intel bequeathed to the Linux Foundation. Other Linux variants, tuned for resource-challenged netbooks, also have been advanced for web-based computing.
Not everybody likes netbooks — Dell and other PC vendors would prefer to live in a world where consumers bought nothing but high-end notebooks for mobile computing — but the low-cost systems will be with us for a while. While they have found particular favor in the developing world, they’re not without buyers in developed economies.
Vendors that can actually get them to become more useful figure to benefit. That explains the experimentation with operating systems other than Windows, even by vendors that made their names and their fortunes as Microsoft licensees in bygone eras.