I wonder how many of us have found cause to grumble at the long boot times on our various PC systems; Vista's increased size and minimum specs have made it a particular culprit. What we really want is a way to get your favourite applications running without enjoying the next renaissance between powering on your PC and getting logged in. Well, ubiquitous BIOS makers Phoenix Technologies have the solution in the form of the fantastically named HyperSpace, which promises to allow just that.
While similar solutions do already exist, notably SpashTop Linux as seen on the Asus P5E3 Deluxe, Phoenix's solution will be embedded far more tightly into the BIOS system and offer a more streamlined experience. So while SpashTop offers a second, fast-booting OS, HyperSpace allows the user's programs to run in a mini-OS, while Windows (or OSX and Linux we presume) boots in the background.
The system will allow manufacturers and developers to create their own application to embed into HyperSpace, which could range from programs for watching DVDs to instant messaging. There is also the possibility of using HyperSpace to run programs alongside Windows without affecting the OS, in effect allowing Alt-Tabbing without the inevitable crash-to-desktop it entails. Obviously the technology needs a bit of refinement before systems are made available, but Phoenix is suggesting that we should be making the jump to HyperSpace by the second half of next year.