Splashtop makes light weight, quick-boot software that you can run alongside Windows or other full-fledged operating systems. The idea is that instead of waiting up to a minute or two for Windows to fully load, you can choose Splashtop at the boot screen and get to a working web browser in as little as 10 or 15 seconds.
The Splashtop software comes preloaded on a number of laptops and notebooks from companies including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Then last fall the company released Splashtop OS as a free download — but the software only officially supported a handful of HP computers. Now Splashtop 1.0 is available, and it should work with most computers with x86 processors.
Earlier versions of Splashtop OS came with a number of apps preinstalled including Skype and photo, video, and music apps. But the latest versions of Splashtop basically run one app: a web browser based on the open source Google Chromium browser.
When you boot into Splashtop you’ll see a search bar front and center, as well as shortcuts to web apps. You can customize those shortcuts by visiting the Google Chrome Web Store. In fact, Splashtop seems a lot like Google Chrome OS — which is also an operating system designed to run a web browser and little else. The key difference is that Chrome OS is designed to be a standalone operating system while Splashtop is meant as a secondary boot option, allowing you to choose between Windows and Splashtop at boot. In fact, when you’re running Splashtop you can load Windows simply by pressing the Windows icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.
Splashtop 1.0 is available as a free download.
I still have to wonder though — does anybody actually want or need this kind of quick boot operating system? While the idea of an OS that lets me get online and start surfing the web in under 20 seconds is certainly appealing, the truth of the matter is Windows already offers that if you just put your computer into sleep or hibernation mode instead of shutting the PC down between uses. I probably have to wait a full 45 to 60 seconds for my computer to boot maybe once or twice a week. I’m not sure if or when I would ever use Splashtop.
What about you? Are you interested in quick boot operating systems?