Anyone putting off purchasing a netbook until the next-generation Atom processor, the N450, arrives in October, should expect to pay a premium thanks to the extra cost of Windows 7.
Netbook makers are currently lobbying Microsoft to reduce the price of its upcoming operating system revision, which, DigiTimes reports, is currently priced at $45-55 a pop, depending on the vendor's negotiating skills and the size of its order.
By contrast, Windows XP costs $25-30, so insiders are planning to stick with Windows XP unless Redmond relents and reduces Windows 7's pricing - which, we suspect, wouldn't bode well for anyone hoping the entry level 7 won't be feature-limited after all.
But here's the thing: DigiTimes mentions that vendors are nonetheless looking at tying their upcoming N450-based offerings to Windows 7 - they'll just use XP for current N270- and N280-based machines.
So buyers will be paying a premium for the new CPU and chipset, which will surely be priced above the current products, and the extra $20 or so (plus mark-up) for Windows 7. That probably means a price of at least £400 over here.
Of course, competition may force them to swallow the cost and price Windows 7-equipped N450 machines at current netbook prices, which are high enough, or just put them out with XP.
We'd suggest the even cheaper option: Ubuntu. ®