Asus to embed Linux into all motherboards

The company has put the 'instant-on' Splashtop distro into some motherboards since last year, and is to extend the tie-in across its whole range
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Asus is to embed a lightweight, instant-on version of Linux called "Splashtop" into all its motherboards, following good feedback from customers.

On Wednesday, DeviceVM, the company behind the distribution, said the hardware manufacturer would be putting Splashtop — which Asus calls "Express Gate" — into a million motherboards a month. Splashtop includes a Firefox-derived browser and the Skype internet-telephony application.

Splashtop is described by DeviceVM as a "secure web-surfing environment", and is embedded on motherboards so that it can be booted within seconds, as an alternative to booting up a full operating system. It first appeared on high-end Asus motherboards in October 2007 and has since been put onto the more mainstream M3 series, but, according to Joe Hsieh, general manager of Asus' motherboard business unit, it will now be extended to the entire range.

"In response to great user feedback, our plan is to proliferate Express Gate across our entire motherboard-product portfolio, starting with over one million motherboards per month," Hsieh said. "Consumers want to turn their PCs on and off like any other appliance, and Express Gate has made that possible."

DeviceVM head Mark Lee said Asus was "actively improving the entire PC consumer experience through software". Everybody at the company was "excited to jointly drive the market innovation with Asus", he added.

Four new motherboards carrying Splashtop/Express Gate will appear this quarter: the P5Q Deluxe, P5Q-WS, P5Q3 Deluxe and P5Q-E. DeviceVM hopes to have "numerous Splashtop-enabled motherboards, desktops and laptops available internationally in 2008", the company said.

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