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New Asus motherboard starts surfing in seconds

By Matthew Sparkes

Posted on 11 Oct 2007 at 17:33

Asus has launched a new range of machines that can boot up and be surfing within 15 seconds, and are theoretically immune to viruses and spyware.

The technology, which Asus is calling Hardware for Webware, is built into a new motherboard which can boot a normal OS, but can also boot from a ROM chip containing a slim-line Linux distribution, called Splashtop.

Splashtop is written by DeviceVM, and is bundled with a slightly cut down version of Skype and Mozilla Firefox. The OS works seamlessly with the input and output devices and can connect over Wi-Fi, but has no access to the hard disks, so there is no danger from spyware, and the user cannot affect any system files.

"Splashtop is a secure web-surfing environment. You can surf the web while staying immune to many of the attacks that plague Windows," says the Splashtop website.

The P5E3 Deluxe is the first in a line of motherboards from Asus which will use the technology. At the moment the motherboard is only available in high-end machines, but with the proliferation of online office tools, there might be a market for a cheap, Splashtop-only device, with no local storage.

Asus has already said that it's planning laptops and cheaper desktops with the feature, and Splashtop is said to be working on adding features to the OS such as optical drive support, as well as working on new devices with other hardware manufacturers.

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