ASUS Shows Faith in Splashtop

by Rob Williams on May 14, 2008 in Editorials & Interviews, Software

DeviceVM’s Splashtop embedded Linux environment looks to be sticking around a while, thanks to ASUS’ decision to make the technology available on all of their upcoming motherboards. To find out what’s new, we are taking a look at the latest version, as seen on the upcoming P5Q Deluxe.

Photo Editor, Chat, Final Thoughts

The most notable new application is the photo viewer, which I assume is a home brewed application, as it doesn’t look familiar at all. The idea is straight-forward. It allows you to boot up and check photos fast. This would be more useful on a notebook, as you could be sitting beside someone on the bus and decide to show them your collection to pass the time.

One oddity is that while NTFS and FAT is supported, ext3 is not. The reason I find this odd is that Splashtop is Linux, and ext3 is a default file system in Linux. Admittedly, it’s easy to see how supporting Linux would not be a huge concern, but given how simple it would be to add the functionality, it would be nice to see.

All NTFS and FAT folders will be viewable without any configuration, so you can get right to browsing the machine and looking through your collection.

You can choose different view modes, such as the one above and the other below, or list view, if you happen to have a massive collection.

Those who plan on using Splashtop often can create different albums, all of which will require the pictures to remain where they are on the source hard drive. If they are removed, the album will show up empty.

Finally, you can take any photo and upload to Flickr with a few clicks of the mouse.

Skype once again makes a return, as well as Pidgin, which has simply been renamed Chat. It supports AIM, Google Talk, MSN, QQ and Yahoo!.

Like earlier versions of Splashtop, you again have a simple range of configuration options, including the ability to change the resolution, alter the input, tweak the network configuration and take care of other usual tasks.

The last feature I stumbled on was the EZ Backup and Super Speed, however these are unique to the ASUS P5Q family, and likely others if it proves to be a popular feature. It’s essentially a layman’s RAID setup, allowing you to either back up an entire drive (similar to RAID 1) or enable “Super Speed” (RAID 0).

I have yet to test this out, but will do so for our P5Q Deluxe review, which will be posted next week. The interesting thing about it, though, is that you do not have to go into Windows to change the configuration. Though Windows software is available to accomplish the same thing, the ability to do it sans an OS is a nice option.

Final Thoughts

When we first learned of Splashtop late last year, I think many wondered (including me) if the technology would be a “one-hit wonder”, so to speak. One that not many people would find interest in, and then as a result, would vape.

With the latest announcement from DeviceVM, we can see that’s far from being the case. Splashtop is here, and according to ASUS, it’s here to stay. It shows the confidence ASUS has in the technology if they are to crank up production to 1,000,000 motherboards a month, and because of that dedication, those who have access to it will grow in numbers fast.

As we saw with the latest version on the P5Q Deluxe, Splashtop is on the right path. It’s still not perfect, but that all depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking to chat online and browse the web, then you are covered. If you are looking to do a little more, then upcoming revisions should take care of that.

At CES earlier this year, ASUS had a notebook on display with a robust version of Splashtop that was in its alpha stage. On top of what we saw here today, that software allowed the ability to watch DVDs or videos and also listen to music. Once these features come to fruition, people will have a far greater reason to use it, especially if on a notebook.

Like a computer BIOS, Splashtop can be upgraded without much of a hassle. Included on the P5Q disc was software for updating the environment, although it asks you for a downloaded file, rather than searching online itself for one. Who you will get the update file from is up in the air. It would likely be ASUS themselves, unless the environment is designed to work on all motherboards with a given chipset, which could be the case.

Once again, Splashtop looks good, and I’m excited to see where it’s headed. DeviceVM will be cuddling up with ASUS at next month’s Computex, so if anything new is unveiled there, you can be sure I’ll post about it.

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Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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