By David Ponce

This isn’t exactly new, but now that I’ve seen it work in person, I think y’all should know about this technology. It’s called HyperSpace, and it’s made by Phoenix, the people behind the BIOS of a good chunk of the PCs out there. What it does, in a nutshell, is allow you to use your PC without having to wait for it to boot. You’re about to board a plane and only have two minutes to shoot off an email, waiting for Windows to go through its rigmarole can be a pain. HyperSpace steps in with near instant-on capability, immediately finds the strongest free WiFi around and allows you to launch a limited number of programs. Should you actually want to run Windows, you can press a button and properly launch it.

It accomplishes this through virtualization, and though the company insists on calling it an “alternate computing environment”, it’s really a stripped down OS that piggybacks on Windows and exists solely to help you bypass boot ups. It is quite useful… but it’s far from free. Here comes the negative.

It comes in two flavors, one of which is pretty much useless in my opinion. And it only works on a subscription type basis. The full HyperSpace Hybrid (the version that can virtualize) costs $60 a year, or $150 for three years. The HyperSpace Dual costs $40 a year… but is not as useful since it can only be used independently of Windows. Should you want to boot Windows, you have to restart and select Windows through a dual-boot menu, hence the name.

Full release after the jump.

MILPITAS, Calif. January 6, 2009 — Phoenix Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: PTEC), the leader in PC 3.0TM products, services and embedded technologies, today introduced HyperSpace? for consumers, a revolutionary new instant-on and always-connected computing environment that makes operating a mobile PC as efficient, fun and easy, as operating a cell phone. HyperSpace dramatically simplifies and improves the mobile experience by allowing users to instantly launch important web-based applications (before Windows® even boots), automatically connect to the best available network, extend battery life, and achieve new levels of uptime and security protection. HyperSpace is immediately available for download at www.hyperspace.com

HyperSpace will also be available for download and on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from Jan 8-11 2009, at Phoenix booth# 9014 Central Hall.

Solution for Mobile Computer Users:
HyperSpace directly addresses the top frustrations of today’s mobile computer users. In a recent survey, Get Vocal About Mobile, which was conducted by the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience and its Reinvent Mobile initiative (www.reinventmobile.com), 1,300 mobile PC consumers listed their greatest frustrations as:

1) Running out of power too quickly
2) Finding a reliable wireless connection and,
3) Waiting too long to boot up and shut down of systems

“Stop waiting for Windows to boot or worrying about finding the best wireless connection. Instant-on computing with HyperSpace transforms the mobile experience by providing cell phone-like connectivity, ease-of-use and efficiency for key applications,” said Woody Hobbs, president and CEO of Phoenix Technologies. “In less than a few seconds, you’re up and running – browsing the Internet, emailing, instant messaging, and using other important applications. There’s no more waiting for Windows to boot or worrying about finding the best wireless connection. And by utilizing the power of virtualization technology, HyperSpace can run side-by-side with Windows Vista® on certain systems, making your computer far more power efficient, secure and frustration-free.”

Phoenix has been working with the world’s leading silicon and software vendors to create an ecosystem for HyperSpace. HyperSpace is optimized for web applications like Google Apps and will include shortcuts to those applications so that consumers can easily access their favorite Internet sites. Phoenix Technologies is also working with Yahoo’s Zimbra division on an advanced email application for HyperSpace.

Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo processors and Intel(R) vPro(TM) processor technology enable the development of more secure and better performing virtualization infrastructure,” said Gregory Bryant, Vice President and General Manager for Intel’s Digital Office Platform Division. “Intel is pleased to see Phoenix embracing Intel’s technologies to deliver innovative products for PC clients.”

“Laptop and Netbook users typically surf the Web 90% of the time: instant access to the Internet, current information and online applications makes their time online more fun and productive. For over a decade many companies have tried to make virtualization ready for mainstream consumption. Phoenix Technologies has succeeded, and the consumer is the ultimate beneficiary,” added consumer PC guru, Tim Bajarin, of Creative Strategies.

Availability and Pricing:
The HyperSpace instant-on/instant-off experience for the consumer is immediately available for download in two versions at www.hyperspace.com. Consumers can check their laptop while logged into hyperspace.com to determine which version to use.

o HyperSpace Hybrid™
o $59.95 annual license or $149.95 for three years, includes updates and free Website support.
o Utilizes the power of virtual technology in many Intel and AMD microprocessors.
o Users can toggle back and forth between the two operating system environments, reducing battery consumption by more than 25% when in HyperSpace.
o HyperSpace Dual™
o $39.95 annual license or $99.95 for three years, includes updates and free Website support.
o Designed for both Windows Vista and Windows XP systems that do not have virtualization enabled at the chipset level by Intel and AMD.
o Delivers the same instant-on/instant-off experience with battery savings, however users can bein HyperSpace only when Windows is shut down or in Windows when HyperSpace is shut down.

PC OEM Partners:
HyperSpace will be an embedded or customized option on many next-generation notebooks and Netbooks. Leading OEMs such as Asustek have become go-to-market enablement partners for HyperSpace. In addition, Phoenix has also launched a version of HyperSpace for the quickly exploding netbook market. HyperSpace Netbook™, on display at CES, is a low-cost, efficient and tiny-footprint operating system for Internet access devices, providing instant-on/instant-off ease of use and smart network connectivity.

Key HyperSpace Benefits include:

Instant-on/Instant-off – With HyperSpace, you’re up and running in a few seconds.

Smart connectivity – HyperSpace automatically and seamlessly connects you to the best available wired, WiFi and WAN network. You can easily add and prioritize preferred networks to optimize performance and cost efficiency.

Longer battery life – Using the web in HyperSpace extends battery power by as much as 50% in some systems when compared to computing in Windows. With the right hardware and usage patterns, consumers can experience all day battery-life on certain platforms. A constant and significant increase in the number of platforms supporting all day computing is a high priority for Phoenix development.

Security – HyperSpace is a private operating system that is far more difficult to infect with viruses, rootkits and spyware than operating systems like Windows. Applications are digitally signed and stored in a secure memory store that is locked after execution. Updates and additions to HyperSpace will only be made via a site approved and owned or audited by Phoenix.

Uptime – If Windows Vista™ system fails, HyperSpace is still available and running. Phoenix partners are expected to shortly deliver solutions to maintain and repair the consumer’s system while the user is still working in HyperSpace.

The combination of all these benefits means more productivity and less frustration for the notebook and netbook user.