by February 1, 2009 0 comments

In the month of Jan 09, Phoenix Technologies (a company mostly known for
manufacturing BIOS) relaunched Hyperspace OS. Phoenix likes to call it ‘Instant
OS’ and it has also been touted as ’emergency OS’ and an add-on to Windows.
‘Instant On’ is not a new concept, with the most popular one being Splashtop OS.
However, that only comes bundled with notebooks from Asus, Lenovo, etc while
HyperSpace can be downloaded and used with any supported laptop.

It is currently available in two versions: HyperSpace Dual and HyperSpace
Hybrid. We had a chance to check out HyperSpace Dual. Installing it is easy as
the initial download is a small executable file, which tests whether HyperSpace
can run on a laptop or not. Then it asks for the the partition where HyperSpace
shall be installed. It automatically partitions the drive and starts downloading
HyperSpace. However, it didn’t show the size of data being downloaded or the
time remaining. And if the download somehow gets interrupted, it starts from
scratch, which is a bit annoying. Also the partition created by HyperSpace was
2.89 GB in size. Once installed, we found the boot time to be really quick. It
took only 30 seconds to boot into the OS and launch HyperSpace browser. During
startup, it also gives the option to boot Windows by pressing F4. Once inside,
we found the HyperSpace interface to be neat and simple. Its web browser is
based on Firefox 3, but what I didn’t like is that you cannot move or resize the
browser window. The left of the screen has a menu bar, which has shortcuts for
Gmail, Facebook, You tube, Meebo, etc. But you cannot create your own shortcuts.
However, users can save files, bookmark web pages, etc.For power management it
has three profiles: optimized, presentation and advanced (which can be

Key advantages
HyperSpace provides a few basic advantages like longer battery life, secure
environment and instant boot. Since it’s a stripped down OS, many power hungry
applications like Bluetooth are not present which automatically means longer
battery life. The power consumed by the laptop when running HyperSpace is 10 %
less than what is consumed while running Windows. We tested HyperSpace OS on a
Chirag C 18 laptop, which was reviewed in our laptop shootout last year. It gave
a battery backup of 2 hours 21 minutes with Windows XP, but while browsing web
on HyperSpace, it gave a back up of 2 hours 43 minutes. On the flip side, lack
of customization options is a big let down. And USB or DVD ROM drives don’t work
with the OS either. And even though it allows you to download and save files
from Internet or bookmark your websites, but to see those files you need to go
back to Windows or some other OS.

Price: $39.95 a year
Meant For: Notebook users
Key Specs: Instant On, secure environment
Pros: Longer battery life
Cons: Costly, cannot be customized.
SMS Buy 130292 to 56677


Once you boot HyperSpace, it
automatically detects the network connected and launches its browser. The
menu bar on the left is used to navigate through files and folders.

Bottomline: If you frequently need to use your laptop
while traveling or for just a few crucial tasks such as web browsing or for
checking mail, then HyperSpace is a good choice. However, it does seem costly
given the limited functionality it provides.

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