I’m not sure how many netbooks will come with Microsoft Windows 7 Starter Edition after October 22, but I do know how much it will cost to upgrade those devices to higher editions of the operating system. The Windows 7 Team Blog offers up the details for just such a situation, using the Windows Anytime Upgrade option. The cost to move from the Starter Edition (or Home Basic) to Home Premium is $79.99. The upgrade nets you Aero Peek, taskbar previews, customizable desktop themes, and remote streaming, to name a few of the features.
I’ve personally beta-tested the Windows Anytime Upgrade feature, and it performed very well for me. In under 10 minutes, my “transaction” was processed and the new features were installed and unlocked. So I don’t foresee major upgrade issues for netbook owners running Microsoft Windows 7 Starter Edition. The question is one of value for the upgrade features. Microsoft did drop the concurrent three-app limitation from Starter, but there are still quite a few restrictions.
I suspect that most companies selling netbooks will build in at least a $50 to $60 premium for a netbook running Home Premium over Starter Edition — if the price difference is less than the $80 upgrade cost, it will make sense to order the Home Premium option at point of purchase.
By the way, you can use Windows Anytime Upgrade to get Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate Edition, as well. Upgrade costs from Windows 7 Home Premium are pggged at $89.99 and $139.99, respectively. And the Windows 7 Family Edition is now official as well. $149.99 gets you three licenses of Windows 7 Home Premium for use in the same household.