If you’ve been excited about the next wave of Windows 8 tablets and netbooks, then you need to look no further than the Clover Trail Atom processor. You may already be familiar with the Atom family of processors, as they’ve been in netbooks practically since netbooks were invented. Clover Trail is the next generation of the Atom processor and one that Microsoft will be happily placing inside many of their future releases.
Unfortunately, there’s a big difference between Clover Trail and prior iterations of the Atom. That big difference is that the new chips will not be compatible with Linux. This means if you’re one of those people who like to buy a netbook and then put Linux on it, you probably won’t be too excited about the stuff that’s about to come out. Of course, if you’re a fan of Windows –specifically Windows 8– then you shouldn’t have any problems adapting to the new chip set.
So what does Clover Trail mean for Android?
Because Android runs on a Linux kernel, that means it’s going to be much more difficult to port Android to devices with the Clover Trail chip set. Since classic Linux distros like Ubuntu, Fedora, and Arch won’t be available, it’s a pretty safe bet that Android won’t be either. Of course, Android developers could surprise everyone and get it running. But given the information on the Clover Trail processors, it isn’t a very likely scenario.
According to Ars Technica, the reason why Clover Trail won’t be Linux compatible is that Intel and Microsoft worked together to give make the new chip set specific functionality with Windows 8 devices. Namely, Windows 8 will have the ability to control Clover Trail’s advanced power management features. While it may mean no Linux, it could actually be pretty awesome for those who actually want it to run Windows 8. For everyone else, there’s always a virtual box or Bluestacks.
With more hardware being locked down, it could chase away some potential customers who like the hardware but don’t want Windows. Is Clover Trail’s Windows-only premise a deal breaker for you? Let us know in the comments.