The other week I mentioned Splashtop, a quick-booting Linux-based environment that can be embedded into flash memory on a PC motherboard (among other things). Yesterday I took time out to talk with the company, and learned more about what they have in mind for the future.
At the other end of the line were David Speiser, Splashtop's Director of Business Development, and Sol Lipman, company evangelist and editor of Splashtop's official blog. They underscored three major thing they wanted Splashtop to be: a complement to existing OSes (both Linux and Windows); a way to get users online and working as fast as possible with their favorite web apps; and a way to enhance the eco-friendliness of any given PC.
Complementing an existing OS: In my eyes, Splashtop was perfect for two things that fit into this category -- data recovery, and getting online to obtain things like device drivers for an operating system installation. The bad news: Splashtop can't deal with external storage. Not yet, but they're adding that early next year for both existing and new users. They cited security as being one of the reasons they initially left this out: it would be a bad idea if someone were to get access to your hard drive by simply turning your PC on, so they wanted to tackle that issue before allowing storage access.
Fast access: Even the fastest machines still take minutes on end to boot and get online; Splashtop lets you get connected and working in seconds. For instance, if you just want to get up and running long enough to check your Gmail account (or call someone in Skype), you no longer have to boot the whole machine to do this. Which goes hand in hand with...
Eco-friendliness: No longer do you need to leave a PC on to have ready access to things. Granted, people who can use the S3 power-saving state on their PCs don't have this issue, but not every machine out there supports it properly (mine doesn't).
We also talked a little about what else they're planning to do with Splashtop, such as use it as the core for a subnotebook computer like the ASUS Eee. (It's a possibility, but they're tightlipped for now about any definite plans.) They're also planning on offering an SDK to allow people to create their own Splashtop apps, and creating a downloadable version of Splashtop that people can use on their own -- for instance, by installing it on a bootable USB flash drive.
I'll be following the development of Splashtop pretty eagerly, both as an OEM product and as something that folks can tinker with on their own.