phoenix logoThere’s been a lot of talk over the last year or so about “instant on” operating systems for netbooks and laptops. The idea is that instead of using the sleep and resume functions on a full operating system like Windows, you can boot a quick-start environment like Splashtop or Hyperspace in just a few seconds to get online, surf the web, make Skype calls, or listen to music.

The problem is that just a few seconds usually means 15-20 seconds or longer. Since it doesn’t take much longer than that to boot Windows, and takes even less time to resume from suspend mode, I don’t really see much use in these quick start operating systems. But Phoenix has a new technology that could change things… a bit. It’s a quick-booting BIOS.

The idea is that part of the reason it takes a while for any computer operating system to do a cold boot is because the BIOS takes at least a few seconds to load before you even start loading the operating system. Phoenix has a new Instant Boot BIOS that Laptop Magazine says can load in just 1 second on supported hardware. That’s 5 to 10 times faster than most BIOS boot times.

You can watch a video of the Phoenix Instant Boot BIOS at Laptop Magazine. Just make sure not to blink.

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2 replies on “Forget instant-on operating systems, what about instant-on BIOS files?”

  1. Fair enough… but why stop there…

    What about OS in rom (ok so CE and even older RISC OS) used to do this…

    Has a lot of advantages (lower boot time, resistance to virus taking out the OS etc. etc.)

    ROM is cheap these days so why havn’t we seen things move to this setup except in embeded devices. Add a quick booting Bios specifically designed for OS in ROM and the OS it’self and I am willing to bet we could have full OS booting to desktop in 2 or 3 seconds.

    John

    1. “except in embedded devices” ???
      That is the definition of an embedded device – OS in ROM.

      But I get the point, just ship the devices with a larger Flash ROM chip;
      Large enough for the end-user or reseller to flash the OS of choice into it.
      The ROM devices exist today, they just aren’t being soldered onto the m.b.

      Why? Because of slow device read speeds. But you might be able to do
      this in twice your goal (5 to 6 seconds).

      To get a better feel for this, check out: openWRT.org –
      Which started out life as a project to put a full OS on appliance devices.
      (At least ones with enough Flash and RAM included on them.)

      Note that we have already seen mentioned here NetBooks that are shipping
      with systems based on Kamikaze 8.x

      So there are systems now that are close (closer for the hacker) to your vision.
      If Gdium would change that USB key slot to CF card. . .

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