Phoenix offers faster boot times for laptops

Phoenix announced availability and pricing for its HyperSpace instant-on software for laptops.

BIOS vendor Phoenix Technologies has launched its HyperSpace "instant on" software, which allows a laptop to boot up in less than 30 seconds for basic tasks like surfing the Web.

HyperSpace is based on a compressed Linux OS that boots up while Windows is starting in the background. It connects automatically to any available network and fires up a Firefox-based Web browser to get users quickly on the Web.

First shown in November 2007, HyperSpace is finally available for purchase on an annual subscription basis, Phoenix announced Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Two editions are offered for download from the HyperSpace Web site. A Hybrid version, priced at US$59.95 per year, allows users to toggle back and forth between Windows and the HyperSpace OS. The Dual version, priced at $39.95 per year, allows only one OS to run at a time.

The Hybrid version is for standard laptops and uses the VT virtualization technology built into some Intel processors, such as the Core 2 Duo. It was shown at CES running on a Lenovo Thinkpad. The Dual version is for netbooks based on Intel's Atom processor, which does not have the virtualization technology, and was shown on Lenovo's IdeaPad netbook.

HyperSpace can't access files or applications in Windows. If a user gets an e-mail with a Word attachment while using HyperSpace, they have to go back to Windows to launch Word and view the attachment. With the Dual version, this means restarting the laptop in Windows mode.

But HyperSpace can still help overcome the frustrating experience of waiting for Windows to start up and shut down. Phoenix plans to release new applications for HyperSpace in the second quarter that will be included in the subscription price, such as programs for playing DVDs and MP3 music files.

It also hopes to cut deals with PC vendors to get the software preinstalled on laptops. But it says its goal is to complement Windows, not replace it.

"If we become a heavyweight operating system like Windows then we'll lose our value proposition -- that we're lightweight and can start up very quickly," said Shauli Chaudhuri, Phoenix vice president of marketing.

Phoenix isn't the first to release such technology. For example, Dell offers an equivalent on some laptops, and a product called Splashtop, from California start-up DeviceVM, is available on several laptops from Asustek.

Phoenix says HyperSpace is different because it has aggressive power management features, made possible by Phoenix's access to the BIOS software. If Windows is kept in sleep mode in the background, HyperSpace can extend the battery life of a laptop by more than 30 percent, according to Phoenix.

NPD analyst Ross Rubin said HyperSpace might appeal to PC makers as a way to distinguish their laptops from competitors. But he wondered if consumers will be willing to pay the annual subscription fee for something non-essential. "This isn't antivirus software," he said.

The software released Tuesday is aimed at consumers, but HyperSpace can also be deployed without the user interface for remote PC management at corporations, according to Chaudhuri. It is already being used in this way on NEC laptops sold in Japan, she said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags notebooksCES

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?