Several sites have been talking about Windows 7 Starter Edition, its limitations, and its possible applications. For the first time since Microsoft released Windows XP Starter Edition and Vista Starter Edition, the company is now making Windows 7 Started Edition available to OEMs in developed countries for installation on ultra low-cost PCs.
While this might seem like an easy, cheap way to get Windows on inexpensive computers in schools, in reality, the limitations are such that educators should look elsewhere (like to Linux). According to Daily Tech,
Windows 7 Starter Edition will continue in the same vein for OEMs that build low cost small netbook PCs, but Windows 7 Starter Edition will now be available in developed markets for the first time. However, Microsoft would like consumers who are not cost sensitive to go with Windows 7 Home Premium, which Microsoft promises will "let you get the most out of your digital media and easily connect with other PCs".
ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes quotes PC Pro,
The company announced last week that it was launching Windows 7 Starter Edition as a low-cost option designed specifically for netbooks.
However, the company’s decision to impose a three-app limit could force many manufacturers to opt for the more expensive Home Premium.
The three-app rule includes applications running in the background, meaning that a user running Windows Messenger and Skype, for example, could only use one further application on their machine. Antivirus software is excluded from the app count.
Microsoft says the restriction is designed to ensure that users get the best possible performance from limited netbook hardware. However, it admits it will encourage netbook manufacturers to install the unrestricted Home Premium in the UK.
If you want to run Windows, run Windows. Even the cheapest of netbooks seems to be doing a passable job of running Windows 7; similarly, most users will bump up against that limit pretty frequently, even on low-RAM machines.
If cost is an issue, Linux is your friend. Just don't look at Windows 7 Starter Edition as a panacea for the Windows tax on cheap computers.