Samsung Signs Deal For Instant-On Laptops

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The quest for the quickest booting laptop or netbook continues apace after Phoenix agreed to supply Samsung with its pre-boot technology

Samsung Electronics has signed a deal with Phoenix Technologies to equip its range of laptops and netbooks with an instant on-off capability.

Samsung and Phoenix Technologies said they are planning to work together to deliver notebooks and netbooks with instant on-off capabilities, which will extend battery life and create a more secure user experience.

Recently, Acer and Hewlett-Packard offered comparable capabilities.

“All-day, instant-on and always-available mobile computing is the very foundation of our P.C. 3.0 vision,” Phoenix CEO Woody Hobbs wrote in a statement. “Consumers expect their notebooks and netbooks to perform with the speed and agility of smartphones, and Phoenix is very pleased to be working with Samsung to offer this user experience across all of Samsung’s notebook and netbook product line.”

Analyst Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies, explains that Phoenix is a BIOS company. The BIOS alternative environment has been used to run before the operating system to make sure a system is free of bugs and that all’s well.

“It enumerates the hardware and then calls up the operating system,” Kay told eWEEK.

Samsung and Phoenix could be planning to offer dual-boot devices that use BIOS to offer instant-on capabilities, or it could offer a version of the BIOS environment on its own for light devices intended for surfing the web and checking web-based email.

They haven’t come out and said that’s what they’re planning, but it’s possible,” said Kay, who explains that, less than delighted with Windows Vista, OEMs were looking for alternative environments. However, he adds, “the dynamics are going to change with the arrival of Windows 7. The pressure for other environments is going to decrease.”

In their joint statement, Samsung and Phoenix point out that netbook shipments are “exploding” and expected to reach 25 million units by the end of the year, according to Gartner.

Should the pair offer a netbook-like device with a unique environment, that’s “a strange beast people don’t recognize, and people will avoid it,” said Kay. Alternately, he went on, should it be positioned as an inexpensive device for light emailing and surfing, Samsung might makes its first significant contact with consumer PC owners in the United States.

Last week, Acer introduced the Aspire One AO250 netbook, which features two operating systems, Windows XP Home and the open-source Android. Acer attributed to Android the ability to equip the netbook with instant-on Internet capability.

Hewlett-Packard’s thin-and-light 5310m is set to arrive on the debut of Microsoft’s Windows 7, similarly offers QuickLook3, which offers 10 seconds of email capabilities on a powered-down notebook, and QuickWeb, for 20 seconds of browsing. These instant-on tools can be used without fear of viruses, HP has noted, since they run separate from the operating system.

“As the world’s fastest-growing vendor in the ultra-mobile computing market, Samsung is committed to bring to market innovative technology solutions that simplify consumers’ lives,” offered Samsung in the joint statement. “Working with Phoenix, we plan to deliver to our mobile consumers innovative and intuitive next-generation mobile computing devices that fit their emerging needs and desires.”


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