Splashtop on Tuesday released the beta of Splashtop OS, a browser-based operating system for notebooks and netbooks, along with an agreement with Microsoft to make Bing its default search engine across all Splashtop products.
Designed to co-exist with Windows, Splashtop is designed to turn on within 5 seconds, according to the developer. Users can search, locate an address, check email, or go into their social networks without booting Windows or launching a web browser, Splashtop said. Core plug-ins such as Adobe Flash come pre-installed, and the OS automatically imports critical settings including region, language, time and date, Wi-Fi networks, and browser bookmarks from Windows to streamline setup, according to the developer.
The free OS, which is based on open source Chromium, includes a locked-down Linux core. Unlike prior iterations, which were white-labeled, pre-installed and distributed on PCs from original equipment vendors such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and LG, the latest version is Splashtop-branded, and consumers can download it directly from the developer's website.
"Through our OEM-branded instant-on products, we've already got millions of PC users hooked on Splashtop speed. With our downloadable product, we're aiming to reach the rest of the population. And now, together with Microsoft, we're going to put some zing into web search," said Mark Lee, CEO and co-founder of Splashtop.
Through the partnership with Microsoft, Splashtop will directly boot to a Bing-powered search box in seconds, according to the companies.
"Our two companies share a vision for instantly available, search-centric computing experiences. We think Bing is a natural addition to the Splashtop OS providing the perfect way for users to more quickly find the information they need to complete complex tasks and make better decisions," said Jon Tinter, general manager at Bing.
An instant-on, browser-centric OS allows users to quickly get to the content that matters to them. Users can do a quick search, find an address, check email or update their status on Facebook or Twitter without having to boot into Windows and launch a web browser. In contrast to Google's Chrome OS, expected to reach the market before the end of the year, Splashtop OS is intended to complement -- not replace -- Windows as the primary desktop operating system.