Asus Laptops to Offer Linux-Based Instant-On Features

by Ostatic Staff - May. 30, 2008

Asus, which has seen healthy and growing sales of its inexpensive, mostly Linux-based, Eee PC laptops, announced five new laptop models on Thursday designed to use DeviceVM's Slashtop instant-on software. The announcement came at the Computex show in Taipei. The Asus M70T, M50V, M51T, F8Va, and F8Vr laptops will all include Slashtop, thought it will go by the name Express Gate on the systems. Slashtop, if you're not familiar with it, is an embedded Linux OS including both the Firefox browser and Skype. Here's what's really cool about these systems.

Asus is licensing Slashtop's technology and rebranding it as Express Gate (see the photo here). While the company's adoption of Slashtop is not brand new (it was first introduced last fall on a single Asus motherboard and is now offered on several of them), Asus' plans to include them on a number of laptops weren't known until yesterday. In addition to the first five laptops that will offer the instant-on capability, Asus plans to offer more in coming months.

Splashtop starts a system from a Flash chip on a motherboard, so that boot time takes only seconds. Windows users, who are used to extremely long boot times, will be especially surprised by how quickly this works.Take a look at the Splashtop video here to get a feel for it.

Also note that Splashtop doesn't have to replace Windows on a machine; instead, it can exist side-by-side with it, so that if you want to look something up quickly, hop into e-mail, send an instant message, or place a VoIP call, you don't have to wait for a bloated operating system to load. One other Splashtop advantage is that it draws very little power, so users could, say, surf the web while drawing minimal power, and then work in more power-intensive applications as needed.

In today's world of bloat-code and gigantic operating systems, this functionality is welcome. Microsoft has been promising instant-on features for years, but has never delivered. It's nice to see Linux driving a solution here, albeit a partial one.