Feeds

Can I have an email quickie? – Phoenix says, ‘Yes’

Windows is old hat

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Phoenix Technologies this week has kicked off what will prove to be a protracted battle to own the PC before the OS loads with a new version of its FirstWare Assistant software that gives customers easy access to email.

Unveiled at CeBIT, the latest version of FirstWare Assistant lets users check their Microsoft Outlook email, calendar and contacts data without booting Windows XP. By holding down the "F" key, users get instant access to this information - technology thought to be ideal for checking up on appointments, recalling a phone number or pulling up directions while on the road. Phoenix is just one of a number of companies including Intel that is trying to beat Windows to the punch.

"Users typically spend several minutes to boot up their machine and then boot up Outlook," said Michael Goldgof, senior vice president of marketing at Phoenix. "Now, they can turn on their machine and a screen comes up that gives them immediate access to information that is synched up."

Older versions of FirstWare Assistant, currently shipping in some HP Tablet PCs, did not give customers access to their email. With the Outlook function added in, Phoenix is hoping a number of OEMs will bundle the software with their laptops or make it available as a download. Computers with the software should start appearing before mid-year, although Goldgof declined to name any specific PC vendor.

Phoenix's approach differs to that of Intel and its partner Insyde Software. The two companies have developed a second LCD screen that sits on the outside of a laptop and shows available Wi-Fi networks and the same mail, calendar and contact information.

The first company to pick up the technology developed by Intel and Insyde will be Lenovo - the Western brand name of Chinese PC giant Legend, which will roll out a laptop with the external LCD screen later this year.

Phoenix's technology has some advantages in that it doesn't require any additional parts to function well. It's simply cutting out the middleman to give quick access to pretty key data. With Windows XP running, users can configure the FirstWare software to save X days of calendar or email data. In addition, the software will not tax a laptop's battery life as the system is only on for a few moments, as the user finds needed information.

By contrast, Intel's Extended Mobile Access (EMA) technology keeps the laptop in a half-power state. This will eat up more battery life, but it also keeps a users' information truly up-to-date by downloading new data via a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections. With the Phoenix software, you are only getting information downloaded during the last sync.

Over time, Intel believes it can operate the second LCD using only one-tenth of the power needed to run a notebook.

Both Phoenix and Intel have long-term visions for this type of technology. In the next couple of years, consumers will be able to start up music players, games and other software without Windows' help.

In the meantime, Phoenix is simply billing its software as a tool for eliminating the PDA. Why carry both a laptop and handheld around when you get instant access to the same data on the notebook?

This is a nice move for Phoenix as it tries to move beyond its BIOS roots. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
Was ist das? Eine neue Suse Linux Enterprise? Ausgezeichnet!
Version 12 first major-number Suse release since 2009
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.