As we enter the so- called "Nettop/Netbook" era, the possibilities for the open platform are growing. Last year, we saw the G-PC, from Everex. It offered a system running G-OS, based off of Ubuntu Linux. (See Review Here-Space, not Rocket) The cool part for some people- It was cheap, without a monitor- only $200. It was sold at Walmart. Now, Walmart sells the G-PC2, the gBook, and the Cloudbook. They are not sold in stores, but they are low-power internet use machines. The Cloudbook was the first large competitior to the ASUS EeePC. Both offering small 2 poound notebooks with 7" screens. They were found to be great running Linux.
Intel's Atom is now set to compete with VIA's C7/Nano processors. AMD still seems to be left out of the crowd. Intel is developing Motherboards for the processors, as with VIA. The first Atom product has appeared on Newegg, its a motherboard with soldered Atom 230 (1.6Ghz) and a 945GC chipset. The board supports SATAII, IDE, and many other standards on the awesome and small Mini-ITX platform.
The small Atom platform is priced at only $72.99, that is awesome. Pair it with a 512MB stick of memory and an 80GB hard drive, it would pack a punch for a very small price. It may not make a gaming machine, but it sure does make an internet machine. This may also be the next thing I experiment with. Who knows, it just would be cool to have one running, maybe a decent 24/7 web/ftp server, a file server for a home network, It can have up to 1TB of space if some sort of RAID is used, and 2TB if not on SATA. You could also use it as a router, a firewall, maybe a lightweight HTPC. The downsides of this on the desktop are what they used for the chipset, the old and somewhat hot-running and power hungry 945 is used. It actually uses the active cooling, and if you actually look at the board- here, the CPU is under the small heat sink.
The race between OS'es for this platform is also getting stronger. There is the OS that is on the EeePC, The Ubuntu team is developing a remix for it, and there is a ton of others, which one will be the best candidate for the Linux Netbook/top platform? We won't know until there are systems that are actually doing this type of thing, so I guess we will have to wait.