As Windows gets more and more complex, startup times tend to get longer, according to Phoenix Technologies CEO Woody Hobbs, but he says there's no reason you should be waiting the three-plus minutes it can take to boot up your computer. To that end, the company is designing Hyperspace, a Linux-based virtualization platform that that sits on top of the BIOS, enabling instant-on booting that bypasses Windows so you can quickly access frequently used applications.

Essentially, frequently used applications for tasks such as instant messaging, e-mail, web browsing, or word processing can be embedded into new computers by system vendors for quick access. In addition, Phoenix claims that software run in Hyperspace will consume fewer system resources, and hence less battery life, as well as be more secure from hackers.

HyperSpace options are expected to start appearing on computers from the end of next year. Meanwhile, a company called DeviceVM already launched its own instant-on Linux desktop environment early last month, dubbed Splashtop, which saw its debut on the P5E3 Deluxe Motherboards from Asus - although it's limited to run a stripped-down version of Firefox and Skype for now.