Computers loaded with Splashtop will soon be able to do very quick searches as soon as the pre-boot phase of the machine starts.
Starting in September, notebooks and Netbooks with Splashtop will have instant access to a search bar on the instant-on desktop, Splashtop maker DeviceVM is planning to announce Thursday. In the U.S. and Japan, the default search engine will be Yahoo; in China, Baidu; and in Russia, Yandex.
"Instant on" is essentially a "pre-boot" environment that allows users to get a PC up and running in seconds instead of the minutes it takes to power up and launch a browser with a standard full-featured operating system. DeviceVM makes Splashtop available to hardware manufacturers that embed it in a computer's BIOS. Current customers include Asus, Hewlett-Packard,, Sony, Acer, and LG.
Currently, Splashtop users can get quick access to a dashboard of predetermined local and Web-based apps, but the appeal of instant-on is to get you online quickly. So there are apps like Skype, a Mozilla browser (not Firefox), links to online photo services, and streaming music sites. When the search bar is added in September, it takes one more step out of the process of launching the browser from Splashtop.
The search bar can be customized--if you prefer Google or Bing, you can set that up too--but deals with Yahoo, Baidu, and Yandex include a revenue-sharing agreements with the Splashtop maker, though DeviceVM would not provide details of the arrangement.
The instant-on environment is especially handy for Netbooks, since they're primarily meant to be used for Web-based work anyways. But DeviceVM director of product manager Dave Bottoms said that up to six local applications can also be added to Splashtop. And if enough corporate customer are interested, that one day might include Outlook, he said.