I find this thread very interesting indeed, because........
In the 29 years that I've been working on personal computers, I have just recently walked into a retail store and BOUGHT my first, off-the-shelf PC.
After looking at the various offerings available at the local stores, and comparing features vs. price, I settled on the Acer Aspire ONE, Netbook.
The Cobalt Blue one. It matches my car.
It appears that Acer has done some upgrading to the little PC since it was first released, because a friends Acer netbook only has 1 gig of ram, and my unit just purchased at Office Depot has 1.5 gigs. That's the maximum ram that the little PC will take. I think the HD is 160 gig SATA. (Don't quote me) And, the cpu is the Atom.
I have to work on a lot of different PC's and Laptops in my business and this little Netbook is as much of a computer as any I've worked on.
It came with Windows XP Home (not my first choice) and I set it up exactly like I would any XP computer.
NOT having a CD drive was no big deal. I've been loading software on PC's from Flash Drives for several years and I find it actually much faster than using a CD and of course there's NOT the compatibility problem that I've seen with home made CD's.
Making a flash drive bootable and then copying an OS to it doesn't bother me at all. It's practically a "NON-EVENT".
Supplying an OS already set up on a Flash Drive just seems like the next obvious marketing strategy. Why not? Big companies like MS could buy a suitable sized FD for almost nothing in the quantities they would need.
Back to my Acer Aspire ONE, Netbook, it does everything that my main PC (desktop tower) does, but in a smaller package.
I even watch streaming videos of sports events, movies, etc. with no problem at all. In 29 years, this is the first PC that I've ever allowed into my bedroom.
During the initial setup, I set the desktop icon text size to 11 points, just one point larger than I'd normally set up for a standard size laptop. And the Horizontal text box size, to 70 instead of the normal 65.
I've also partitioned the little 160 gig HD to provide me with sufficient storage for non-essential files and Ghost backups of C:.
With a verifiable Ghost Image, "In the can" so to speak, I may try to upgrade the OS to Win-7. (just for grins and giggles)
I'm quite sure the little PC will run it OK.
The only problem I can foresee would be with drivers.
I can foresee NO problem loading Win-7 from a Flash Drive.
That should be a real Cake Walk.