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Phoenix HyperSpace: An Instant-On Linux Environment?

Michael Larabel

Published on 6 January 2009
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 7 - 8 Comments

Fifteen months ago we exclusively showed off SplashTop from DeviceVM, which was an instant-on Linux environment embedded into ASUS motherboards and since then it has worked its way into products from other OEMs (including notebooks). DeviceVM continues to work on further refining SplashTop by adding in virtualization support and other features, along with a promised developer SDK. Phoenix Technologies, the company producing the BIOSes for many of the motherboards on the market, is today introducing their SplashTop competitor. HyperSpace is the Phoenix Technologies product being unveiled this morning with several distinct differences from SplashTop.

We have had a netbook and notebook for the past few weeks loaded up with a near-final copy of HyperSpace and today we are delivering our full run-down on this instant-on Linux environment. Phoenix Technologies sent out a Lenovo ThinkPad T400 and Lenovo IdeaPad S10 for testing with HyperSpace Hybrid and HyperSpace Dual, respectively. HyperSpace Hybrid supports AMD and Intel virtualization technology for switching between the host operating system and the lightweight HyperSpace OS in real-time. The operating system between HyperSpace Dual and HyperSpace Hybrid are similar and like what you will find with SplashTop.

First off, here is the Phoenix Technologies description of HyperSpace:

"Phoenix HyperSpace is a compact and secure application environment on the PC that runs side-by-side with a traditional OS such as Microsoft Windows Vista. This new environment enables PC users to benefit by having key productivity and lifestyle applications available instant-on in a very predictable fashion, while at the same time being able to run all of their Windows applications at full performance.

Potential applications for HyperSpace include Web browsers, instant on multi-media players, IP soft phones, email and instant messaging, remote system maintenance, repair, and embedded security."

The key HyperSpace features are an instant-on environment, purpose-built applications, secure, reliable, low-power consumption, enables 24x7 user-controlled management, and is enabled by a lightweight virtualization engine.

One of the fundamental differences between SplashTop and HyperSpace is that the latter is not limited to a particular vendor or selection of products. HyperSpace will be offered on several netbooks and notebooks from different vendors, but end-users can also purchase HyperSpace Hybrid or HyperSpace Dual to install on their own system. The price though for buying a HyperSpace license is a bit expensive, but we will discuss that later.

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