Sometimes you want to send a quick e-mail or look something up online but don’t feel like waiting for your computer to boot up. With Splashtop, you can be surfing the Web in seconds. Built into a computer’s basic input-output system–the software that sets up the operating system–Splashtop gives you a choice at startup: you can either boot up normally or load a stripped-down operating system that runs just a few common applications. Circuit boards featuring the system are on the market now; they should turn up in computers within months.
Splashtop’s browser is based on Firefox and comes with Flash preinstalled so that users can watch videos and animations on the Web. Multiple programs can run simultaneously, as we see here: Skype and the Web browser are both open.
Product: Splashtop instant-on desktop
Cost: Circuit board manufacturers generally pay less than $5 per software license, depending on volume and configuration
Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.Subscribe today