First a little background on why laptops are so important. What started
off as an expensive niche is now the fastest growing sector of the PC
business with more than 30 million laptops sold last year. Laptops used
to regularly run $2,000 - $3,000, but over the last few years prices
have dropped dramatically. In addition, WiFi has made them more
practical then ever by allowing for wireless net connectivity. Together
these factors have pushed the laptop business in dollar terms to rival
the desktop business (since laptops typically cost considerably more
Up until now, shortcomings in Linux have made it a poor
choice for this growing population of mobile users. Primarily the issue
circles around power management...or the lack thereof.
When you close the computer's lid, or it runs low on power or sits idle
with inactivity, you expect your laptop to go into energy conservation
-- more commonly referred to as "sleep." Then you expect to click a key
and have it awaken and resume where you left off. This is a tricky
computational task and requires close participation between the
software and the hardware manufacturers -- something Linux has been
slow to develop.
Some months ago I traveled to Taipei to meet with the leading laptop
manufacturers to discuss this problem. Since that time we've been
working closely with many of them on their next generation of
value-priced laptops (typically under $1000) to ensure that we could
provide a Linux solution. LindowsOS Laptop Edition
is that product. It provides basic power management functionality and
support for internal WiFi cards for a new class of low cost laptops
ready to hit the market. Today we're making available our Laptop
Edition to computer manufacturers and end-users for use on their laptop computers. If you've been thinking about getting a laptop, you can expect to see a host of new Linux-driven laptops hitting the store shelves soon.
The first machines running LindowsOS Laptop Edition (LE) are available immediately in more than 50 PC Club stores. A range of laptops to suit every budget and need are available starting at just $899 for a powerful 5.9 lb model. (If you're looking for an affordable laptop for the holiday season, this may be it.)
This is a vital development for Linux because it challenges Microsoft in
the last PC sector in which they've faced no competition -- laptops.
Because LindowsOS LE is available to system builders and resellers for
less than a tenth of the cost of Microsoft Windows XP, you will see a
flurry of more affordable laptop computers in the months to come. That
should put some smiles on the faces of a certain 40%.