Are Instant-On OSes Useless?
This weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with some of YouTube’s most renowned contributors. Among them was Tony of Projblogsphere who had recently purchased a Lenovo IdeaPad S10e. Tony is a techie that can hang with the best of us; he upgraded the RAM on his S10e to 2GB, but the instant-on QuickStart operating system (a version of Splashtop) that came with the netbook in his words is “useless.” It took him 20 seconds or more to get into the basic interface and by the time he was there he wanted more capabilities. For instance the version of Skype that comes with Lenovo’s QuickStart is two generations behind the current 4.0 version, and the browser is limited and can’t be upgraded. Hardware-wise the QuickStart OS doesn’t recognize his Bluetooth USB adapter which he uses to tether his Windows Mobile phone (to Tony’s credit he is waiting for the Palm Pre!) to the netbook. In Tony’s opinion ”a mobile device can perform the same tasks as the instant on applications.” Something tells me Tony isn’t alone. When we have reviewed netbooks or notebooks with Splashtop’s instant-on operating systems, like ASUS’ ExpressGate or Lenovo’s Quick Start, we have been impressed with the graphical interface of the Linux based OS but at times peeved at the speed of boot and then the limit of the browser’s capabilities. Is there a point of actually entering this OS when you can wait 25 more seconds and be in a full fledged OS like XP or Vista? Phoenix’s Hyperspace fights a similar problem, but is unique in the fact that, with the “Hybrid” version, you can continue to run the Hyperspace environment parallel to your Windows OS. A handful of notebooks on the market have instant-on OSes, including the Voodoo Envy 133, a number of ASUS notebooks, the Lenovo IdeaPad S10e and the the Sony VAIO P. If you are the proud owner of any of these notebooks, do you use the instant-on OS on your laptop or netbook? Why or why not?