Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Booting Your PC in 5-10 Seconds

Phoenix Technologies Ltd. is developing a product called HyperSpace, which according to an article last week at EE Times, is a basic application environment for mobile systems intended to be a kind of complement to Windows. Here’s more from the EE Times piece:

HyperSpace aims to provide access to simplified versions of applications at times when Windows is not available because the system is booting, in a deep sleep mode or stalled. It will include a simplified Web browser, media player and e-mail client as well as systems management and security utilities.

While Windows can take as long as 45 seconds to boot, the HyperSpace environment should be ready in as little as 5-10 seconds. "No matter what Windows is doing you can access programs in HyperSpace," said Gaurav Banga, chief technology officer and senior vice president of engineering at Phoenix.

HyperSpace will include basic applications like a web browser, media player, email client and some management and security applications.

These quick launch, Linux based products have been quietly sneaking up on us. Recently Insyde Software launched a product called FlashMate that runs a a flash module made by Silicon Storage Technology, Inc (SST). SST has a great technology brief, press release and presentation on FlashMate linked here. Here’s a of piece from the SST press release:

FlashMate technology utilizes a fully integrated hardware, firmware and software architecture to provide alternative hybrid-drive functionality to notebooks and total access to hard disk drive content even while the CPU is off. By managing the peripherals, FlashMate enables a wide range of new applications while the main system is either in pre-boot, standby, hibernate or completely shut down. FlashMate technology provides benefits beyond that of a hybrid-drive by giving users the ability to instantly access the content on the hard disk drive without having to power on the notebook for listening to MP3 files, viewing digital pictures, accessing email and more.

FlashMate uses a hard drive with a flash drive data cache. Caching is an excellent way to minimize hard drive access and save wear and tear on the drive and also reduce the power used to access the drive. Flashmate also gives users access to data on the hard drive and applications retrieved off USB devices.

Splashtop is a similar product that allows you to boot your machine in seconds and access web based content. Spashtop is currently only available on Asus P5E3 Deluxe / WiFi AP motherboards. These boards are sold by most of the major computer retailers. You can get an idea of how these applications work by watching this 2 minute and 39 second video from Splashtop.

I’ve got in the habit of hibernating my Windows machines because they just seem to take an incredible amount of time to boot. I also find myself using web-based applications like Skype and Google Docs frequently - a 5-10 second boot time to these types of applications is very appealing.

1 comment:

Mark Viquesney said...

I like it, I want it. The faster computers get the slower it takes to boot. My one worry that I had while reading about this was malware from infected email. Then again, common sense should always rule - never open attachments from people you do not know or expect. Now to look to see if I like the Asus board specs.