At Splashtop, we have a long history of shipping a range of customized versions of our lightweight Splashtop OS embedded in myriad devices from the leading PC OEMs. But back at the end of November, we released something groundbreaking for the company – a downloadable version of Splashtop OS. While this initial release was greeted with positive fanfare from the tech press, it was still just a “beta” that supported a fairly narrow set of HP hardware platforms. Our intent has always been to broaden support, build on user feedback, and release a stable version 1.0.
Well, today’s the day – introducing Splashtop OS 1.0, available for download now.
What is it? Splashtop OS is a lightweight, web-centric operating system optimized for notebooks and netbooks, that can be installed on virtually any Windows-based PC. Rather than trying to replace Windows as a stand-alone operating system, we like to think of Splashtop OS as an ideal Windows ‘companion’ – it’s there super-fast whenever you just need to get to the web, while Windows remains intact for those other times when you want a full desktop computing environment.
Splashtop OS 1.0 takes advantage of all the insights and technical advancements we’ve made over the years in developing instant-on solutions. For example, we often times bundled multiple applications along with the OS, such as a photo viewer or music player, but have learned over time that the core application that drives the vast majority of usage is – no surprise –the browser. So with Splashtop OS, we focused on making the browsing experience really great. In fact, the browser is the UI, so right away
it looks and feels completely familiar and intuitive. Within seconds of powering up, the web search box that all of us use almost daily pops up front-and-center. (We default to Bing search, our worldwide search partner announced last November.)
Allow me to also highlight a few new things you’ll notice since the beta was introduced. Most noticeably we have moved to a newer version of Chromium, the open source browser shepherded by Google. Now users can take full advantage of Chrome Web Store to discover and download a range of web apps, games, utilities, extensions, and themes – most of them free! In using Splashtop OS over recent weeks, this already feels like a great addition.
Another big effort is one we hope you’ll notice first hand – support for a much wider array of platforms. Many users who saw our beta release announcement came to the site from around the world to download Splashtop OS, only to learn that their system was not supported – yet. Well, we think we’ve come up with a solution to allow more and more users to successfully install and run Splashtop OS and urge you to give it a go today.
On the technical front, we picked a Linux kernel version to achieve good hardware compatibility with majority of the PCs from the past few years. 2.6.32 isn’t the latest and greatest but is an ideal platform to make both new and old Wi-Fi chips, audio codecs, and other PC peripherals work. We make use of the SquashFS filesystem and special X11 architecture to cut down on the boot time. However, our biggest engineering focus is on the simplicity and intuitiveness of the user experience.
Lastly, we would like to extend an extra special thanks all the developers who contributed in so many ways to Splashtop and to Linux and to the many Splashtop OS users who downloaded, successfully installed, and shared your thoughts and issues with our development team. Your feedback was great and helped us make a good product even better, with more stability, better support for native drivers and Wi-Fi configurations, and even faster boot-time performance. We hope you like it!
Please, tell us what you think.
Phil Sheu, CTO