Tomorrow DeviceVM's SplashTop product will be officially unveiled but since posting our original article on this technology (ASUS Motherboard Ships With Embedded Linux, Web Browser) and later an ASUS update, we have learned some new details about this instant-on Linux desktop environment. Specifically, yesterday a private briefing was held with David Speiser (DeviceVM's VP of Marketing), Thomas Deng (DeviceVM's CTO), and Andrew Kippen (Stage Two Consulting), where new details were shed on the technical workings of SplashTop and its future.
To no real surprise, ASUS will be expanding their selection of Express Gate (SplashTop) motherboards. ASUS will be looking to roll out this feature on more of their upcoming motherboards, so stay tuned to Phoronix to find out more. DeviceVM is also in talks with other hardware device vendors to differing degrees. DeviceVM isn't talking to only motherboard OEMs but also other device manufacturers. In the first quarter of next year, SplashTop will appear on notebooks and desktops from at least one major OEM. DeviceVM hadn't elaborated on this, but it would be no surprise if Dell is the first company adopting SplashTop after their growing Linux presence. In addition to the Eee PC, ASUS does sell high-end gaming notebooks, which is another possible outlet.
One detail that was also shed during yesterday's briefing was word that the current SplashTop product is based upon the Linux 2.6.20 kernel. Right now, the source-code for SplashTop isn't available for download; however, complying with the terms of the GNU GPL license, developers that email DeviceVM for the source-code can have a CD mailed to them. In the coming months the source-code will be publicly available on the Internet.
Aside from being able to update SplashTop when already running within SplashTop, DeviceVM is going to be gauging the feedback of its customers and the development community to know which programs to officially offer in the future. Though it is clear that ASUS will be allowing you to update your BIOS from within SplashTop (Express Gate) and check on other motherboard vitals, while a DVD/media player and the ability to mount external storage devices are also on the roadmap.
DeviceVM looks at SplashTop as not only offering a convenient way to quickly check your web-based enail or to make a quick VoIP phone call using Skype, but another way to make the Earth a bit greener. On SplashTop-loaded devices, DeviceVM would hope that instead of leaving them on overnight or when away for extended periods of time in your traditional operating system that you would just leave the device off. If you're in a hurry when you return, you can just boot into SplashTop and use the Internet or then continue into your traditional operating system. SplashTop should also consume less power than when running a traditional operating system off a hard drive.
Below are a few more of the ASUS slides we had referenced yesterday.
With the information we've been exposed to and our testing of SplashTop thus far, we believe that this is the start of a revolution. This is not a revolution for just saving a bit of time when your computer starts up, but for the overhaul of the BIOS architecture and the conventional boot process, increased power savings, and if capitalized right is yet another large opportunity for Linux. We believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg for DeviceVM and look forward to monitoring its progress especially over the next three to nine months.
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