Instant-on maker Splashtop goes corporate, adds virtual desktops

Splashtop for Business enables secure server connections without booting Windows

DeviceVM Inc. is creating a new version of its instant-on Linux environment, Splashtop, aimed at laptop computers bought and managed by enterprise IT managers.

Splashtop for Business can enable laptops to securely connect to corporate servers using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology compatible with those from Citrix Systems Inc. and VMware Inc., said Steve Rokov, senior director of enterprise marketing for the company.

Splashtop also includes components letting IT managers remotely set user policies and push out software updates, as well as delete user accounts or wipe data if the laptop is lost or stolen.

"This is a very locked-down environment," Rokov said.

Splashtop for Business can also let users open and edit Microsoft Office documents using the Zoho office suite, read Adobe PDF documents, and read and write Outlook e-mails that are then sent when the user loads up their main Windows environment the next time.

Splashtop for Business is shipping on Hewlett-Packard's recently-announced ProBook 5310m under the QuickWeb name.

Splashtop for Business will also come on Dell Latitude business netbooks.

Dell already offers two instant-on solutions, the software-only Latitude-ON Reader (PDF document), and Latitude-ON, an ARM-based secondary motherboard inside high-end Dell notebooks that offers a similar instant-on environment that is more energy-efficient and thus can extend battery life.

Splashtop's instant-on system will also come on business laptops from Acer Inc. by the end of the year, Rokov said.

While HP is offering QuickWeb for free, it's possible that PC makers that include IT management or VDI features into their own version of Splashtop will charge enterprise IT customers, Rokov said.

The consumer version of Splashtop has been shipped on 15 million PCs to date, said Rokov, making DeviceVM the apparent market leader.

Other instant-on vendors include Phoenix Technologies Inc., and Google's ChromeOS, when it arrives.

Phoenix, which offers the HyperSpace environment, last month demonstrated a new BIOS that loads in about a second, versus a conventional BIOS, which cab take between 5 and 10 seconds to load before the operating system can start to boot.

Phoenix's new BIOS, based on UEFI technology, will help HyperSpace boot faster. But it could also help instances of Splashtop to load up more quickly, too, Rokov noted.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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