People still do not realize that The Year of GNU/Linux on the Desktop has already happened. In 2009 almost everyone in the world had seen or heard about GNU/Linux on the desktop. The netbooks made sure of that. Now it is only a matter of time. The smart-thingies also are introducing GNU/Linux to the masses but it is almost superfluous. People see great performance at a good price and recognize it.
I read this article which has the thesis that the smart-thingies may eventually lead to GNU/Linux on the desktop but not otherwise. The truth is GNU/Linux is already on many millions of desktop, notebooks, netbooks, smart-thingies and it is growing much faster than that other OS which has already bored most of the planet to tears. That other OS is losing share and GNU/Linux is taking it. It’s just a matter of time before you will find it everywhere.
Between now and when XP finally dies GNU/Linux will have a decent share of the desktop as well as the other spaces. I don’t know what that share will be. There is no telling the choices people will make. Some will like the price, flexibility, freedom, efficiency, configurabilty of it but they will know they have a choice and make it in the next few years. Soon the retail dam will crack wide open and there will be a flood of products running GNU/Linux on everything in retail. That could happen any time now. It is happening now in emerging markets in Asia, Africa and South America. North America is no longer a leader in IT and will take a year or two more to make the changes needed to give consumers wide access.
One other force that could cause rapid exposure at retail is anti-trust/anti-competition law. GNU/Linux is so successful that there are businesses whose growth is stifled not by product acceptance by consumers but by the retail road-block. There is already such a suit in British Columbia.