The dominant mobile phone chip designer Arm has announced an alliance with Ubuntu open source software, the BBC reports.
The deal will produce a version of the operating system for netbooks that should hit the market mid-2009.
The devices will be based around the Arm7 architecture and, in particular, the Cortex A8 and A9 processors.
The netbooks are likely to have screens up to 25cm (10in) across and be able to run good quality video, web browsers and Open Office programs, said Rob Coombs, director of mobile marketing at ARM.
He told the BBC that the netbook devices would also enjoy the same long battery as many mobiles.