System76 Starling Ubuntu
Less than one week after Canonical debuted Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix edition, System76 is playing an encure by launching an Ubuntu 9.04 netbook. The move had been rumored for several weeks. And it's certainly the first of many Ubuntu netbooks that will hit the market. Here's a bit more about System76's new device.

Known as the Starling NetBook, the System76 device features Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04, a 10.1" LED Widescreen LCD, 1 GB of memory, a 160 GB hard drive, WiFi, a webcam, a 6 cell battery, and a nearly full size keyboard in a 2.6 lb. package, according to System76 President Carl Richell. Default pricing for the system -- when I checked System76's site a few minutes ago -- was (US)$359.00.

Now, I must concede: Many netbooks have disappointed me. We've got one of the older Asus Eee PCs at home, and I found the keyboard far too small for regular typing. Also, I found pointing and clicking difficult/clumsy. More recently, I tried to get my hands on a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Netbook, but a holiday pricing special for the system wasn't working quite right when I tried to order the system.

So I have to admit: System76 has me intrigued. I had good experience recently testing System76's Pangolin Performance laptop. And Ubuntu users seem to like System76's products: The company's revenues (from Ubuntu-oriented systems, of course) grew 61 percent in 1Q 2009 vs. 1Q 2008.

But will System76 deliver another hit with its new Starling NetBook? And are netbooks really a product category that will stick around? I do think small, low-cost notebooks will continue to proliferate the market. I just hope System76 and peer Ubuntu system makers don't sacrifice quality as they strive to build even lower-cost systems.

If you test the Starling Netbook please let me know. I'd welcome your perspectives.

WorksWithU is updated multiple times per week. Don’t miss a single post. Sign up for our RSS and Twitter feeds (available now) and newsletter (coming in 2009).