Splashtop OS is a free, Linux based operating system that allows fast startup and access to the internet. I equate it to Chrome OS. It is based on Chromium, the same system Chrome is based on, and actually looks similar too.
It is pre-installed on many netbooks from Acer, Asus, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more as a quick start OS that can run as a dual-boot option with Windows.
The download is only 2MB, but then when you run that file it downloads a 350MB file and then runs the installer. I installed it on my Acer Aspire One Netbook last night. Once it installed, I restarted the computer and after the start screen for the Bios, it gives me the option to start Windows or Splashtop OS. I selected Splashtop OS and it finished the install and started. The first start was a bit slower, but the second startup of Splashtop OS was much, much faster than starting Windows (took about 90 sec to start up completely. Windows takes much longer.)
It looks very similar to Chrome OS. It opens to a browser window. It defaults to Bing search, but you can change that to Google, Yahoo, and a few others. I changed mine to Google.
The start page and browser are just like Chrome. The omnibox is there, as are extensions and the new tab page has a link to Chrome apps and extensions, shows recent and most visited pages, and has a search box. Adobe Flash is pre-nstalled and works well. I was able to access all of the websites that I wanted to last night. I will continue testing and using it and update any issues.
It doesn't affect any of your Windows settings or files either. Downloaded files while in Splashtop OS
You can import your existing Windows bookmarks and Wi-Fi settings from Windows into Splashtop OS. There is a status bar that allows you to check the status of network connections, battery and power supply, volume, and the configuration panel. You can also quickly exit Splashtop and boot to Windows at any time.
I love Chrome OS because it is so fast and Splashtop OS offers the same fast start up and operation. This is definitely useful on any computer, especially a notebook or netbook, for fast access to the internet. As more and more people work in the cloud, they only need access to the internet. Splashtop OS allows you to have quick access to the internet without waiting for Windows to boot up.
This would also be a great option for schools (just like Chrome OS is). Students can quickly start up a computer and get online. They can use all of the great Web 2.0 tools and not affect the computer itself. Their files and work are all in the cloud, all of the apps they need are free, and there is no software or other installs needed. It makes startup and shutdown of the computers faster, leaving more time for students to actually use the computers for learning. It can also be used on older computers as it runs faster than Windows, making the older computers seem newer.
Check it out.