The Windows boot-time backlash is in full effect. BIOS-builder Phoenix Technologies is introducing a mini operating system called HyperSpace that can boot up in seconds in place of Windows, to run e-mail managers, web browsers and other apps. Such a system could prolong battery life by 50%, and would give laptop makers a chance to show off their own personalities, rather than act as mere vessels to the Microsoft experience. There are some catches:
Though the Wired story didn't specifically say it, the applications probably wouldn't be the exact same ones you'd run in Windows. There might be a word processor, but it probably wouldn't be Word.
Lenovos, Dells and Acers of the world can start tailoring computers with HyperSpace functionality to very specific demographics. A student-aimed laptop, for instance, could come with apps like word processing, e-mail and IM preloaded into HyperSpace.
Also, not only is it probably Linux-based, but as one Wired commenter pointed out, it's likely similar to code that experienced software ninjas have been messing around with for years. Some PC makers such as HP and Gateway have offered Windows-free quick-start media players already, though nothing to this degree.
A widespread implementation of HyperSpace across consumer laptops would still be a coup and a half.
Microsoft regards HyperSpace as "outside their sphere of influence," and is not too happy with Phoenix's offering, which adds yet another voice to the already loud chorus of voices complaining about operating-system bloat.
Look out for HyperSpace in laptops starting in mid to late 2008. [Wired Tech Biz]
UPDATE: Here's a link to the press release.