Notebook makers are releasing notebooks (and netbooks) with instant-on that lets you boot into a special Linux environment when you just need to jump in quickly. The ability to bypass Windows forgoes the long boot process when you’re in a hurry. Most of these OEM solutions require special handling of the firmware so adding this option is not something the end-user can attempt. A Windows-based program called Presto changes that for just $20.
Presto is installed like any other Windows program but it creates an Xandros-based boot environment that works just like the hardware versions. Users can thus get email, surf the web and do many other tasks within a few seconds of powering on the dead computer. The producers of Presto also have an application store that offers programs to add to the Presto environment.
There is a trial version (7 days) available to see if you think Presto is worth the $20 license fee. You can continue to use Presto after the trial period expires but only for 10-minute sessions.
Full press release after the jump.
Windows users get online fast to browse the Web, send email, chat, Skype, access Windows files, and download applications or play music and video – without starting Windows
NEW YORK, NY – April 21, 2009 – Xandros today announced that Presto, a rich, convenient ‘instant on’ utility to power up laptops within seconds, is now available as a consumer download. Windows users can install Presto on almost any PC and no longer have to buy selected high-end laptops to enjoy “Instant On” features. During the release of its beta version, Presto won the highest “5 COWS” rating from Tucows and became one of the most popular downloads at both Tucows.com and Downloads.com.
Presto allows on-the-fly computing to check email, browse the web, chat with friends, make Skype calls, create documents, download media, apps and games, or enjoy music, videos, and movies stored in a user’s Windows folders. Users no longer have to wait for Windows to boot and for all the system tray applets to start before they can use their machine. Shutdown is quick too – Presto powers off most laptops in 1-2 seconds. Presto is compatible with most Windows Vista or XP laptops and desktops. Unique Presto features include an online Presto Application Store to access additional software, games, multimedia and web applications. Presto includes the integrated RealPlayer for Netbooks, which supports playback of most popular media formats including RealMedia, Windows Media, MP3, MPEG4, AAC, H.264 and QuickTime. Other best-of-breed applications include a full-featured office suite that lets users view and edit Microsoft Office documents, and save them in folders on their Windows drives. Presto connects to networks over WiFi, 3G, xDSL, LAN and cable.
Presto is a Windows software utility (.exe) that installs and uninstalls easily like any other Windows program. It does not require special chipsets or BIOS modifications to enable fast booting and therefore is especially useful for bringing new life to old laptop and desktop PCs. Presto employs Moblin 2 enhancements and Xandros’ technical expertise gained in working with Intel and ASUS in creating the Eee PC, a product that powers up in seconds. Presto installs on top of Windows XP or Vista. Windows 7 will be supported in a future version.
“Presto provides Windows users with remarkably quick access to audio and video content that is either streamed on the Web or played back locally from disk,” said Scott Nelson, Director, Global Business Development from RealNetworks. “We are very excited to work with Xandros on opening this innovative new pathway to a rich media experience.”
“By combining leading applications such as RealPlayer for Netbooks with our own fast-boot technical recipe, we were able to bring a rich, ‘Instant On’ user experience to general Windows-based laptops and PCs,” said Andreas Typaldos, CEO of Xandros. “Presto is a creative new tool for road warriors who don’t want to only rely on their Blackberry or iPhone while traveling. Those on the go often need to quickly send emails, check the web, or make free international Skype-to-Skype calls from a taxi or when awaiting their flight – or, if time permits, they may want to relax with music or videos from their personal play list. They want access to their Windows laptop with a large screen and a full keyboard, but without the wait for Windows to boot, or even worse, to wait for it to shut down when their plane is about to take off.”
*Available for Immediate Download*
The Presto consumer download for US$19.95 and a free trial version are available to the public at www.prestomypc.com <http://www.prestomypc.com/>. OEMs seeking to speed up their laptops, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>. For more information on Xandros Presto, please visit www.prestomypc.com<http://www.prestomypc.com/>.