A number of industry heavyweights - including Samsung, Toshiba, Acer and Asus - are reportedly prepping ARM-powered notebooks for the mainstream PC market.
According to DigiTimes, systems running on ARM-based architecture could hit the market by the end of 2011 - although a 2012 launch date for Windows 8 devices seems much more likely (ChromeBooks could theoretically arrive earlier).
As you may recall, ARM systems loaded with Google's Android OS were launched under a nascent "smartbook" brand some two years ago.
However, the devices were eventually phased out of the hyper-competitive market due to less than stellar demand.
Nevertheless, ARM (along with numerous analysts) believe quad-core notebooks running operating systems other than Android are likely to claim significant market share.
To be sure, ARM CEO Tudor Brown recently stated that power-conscious ARM chips paired with a RISC-friendly version of Windows 8 were capable of capturing approximately 40% of the lucrative notebook market by 2015.
Brown added that ARM's partnership with Microsoft will enable both corporations to create a "brand new demand driver," while allowing his company to successfully break into the notebook market.
It should be noted that several vendors are planning to launch ARM-based notebooks with price points lower than $299.
Processor choices apparently include Nvidia's Tegra, Qualcomm's Snapdragon and various SoCs from Texas Instruments (TI).