|This article is outdated. (March 2014)|
||This article is incomplete. (March 2014)|
Splashtop Streamer dialog box
|Company / developer||Splashtop Inc. (formerly known as DeviceVM Inc.)|
|Working state||Current (remote control software and instant-on OS)|
220.127.116.11 (August 19, 2011[±])
|Available in||Multiple languages|
|Supported platforms||Windows 8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X 10.6+, iOS, Android, webOS, MeeGo|
|License||Proprietary software, with usage of open-source components|
Splashtop is remote desktop software that allows users to connect to and control their computer from a mobile computing device, such as an iPad, iPhone, webOS, or Android device. The company has evolved from a developer of an embedded "instant-on" commercial Linux distribution (built into the motherboard of PC vendors and other device manufacturers) into a software developer of remote-control and streaming technology. Both Splashtop Remote and Splashtop OS are explained in this article.
Splashtop Remote Technology
Splashtop Remote allows a user to remotely connect to a main computer from another computer or mobile device to access content or run applications. Splashtop Remote Desktop is based on technology that "encodes" the screen pixels of a main computer, transmits them via the Internet, Wi-Fi, or other network protocol to a client device, where it "decodes" the transmitted data and displays it on the screen of a client device. This affords users an experience similar to sitting in front of the remote computer and controlling it. The Remote Desktop iOS client provides two connection modes. One is "sharp mode" for better resolution. The other one is "smooth mode" for better frame rate/latency. A higher fps (frames per second) rate leads to a smoother video watching experience. For latency, a lower value is better because this is the lag between the time an image on the source device shows up on the client device. Splashtop has undertaken technical cooperation with Freescale, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and other chip manufacturers to optimize its software to use graphics processing units (GPUs) for encoding and client specific processors for decoding. These techniques enable the software to stream video at up to 30 frames per second when running in Smooth mode, and lead to low latency performance (quick response), which is at the same level as playing video on a local machine directly.
The core technology — encoding, transmitting, and decoding — is used by several Splashtop Remote variations for different purposes such as remote presentation tools and extended displays. The Splashtop Remote products are a combination of a server, called Splashtop Streamer, and a variety of client products. The basic concept is that a user needs to install the free Splashtop Streamer on the target remote computer, and obtain a client on his/her mobile device.
The Splashtop Streamer works as an agent on the target remote computer. The Streamer fetches the computer's screen content, encodes it, and transmits it to client devices. It also receives actions from client devices and interprets them into the proper commands for the remote computer. Splashtop Remote uses proprietary transmission protocol between its streamer and client, so it is not compatible with other RDP or VNC products.
According to Splashtop Inc., the Splashtop Streamer supports Windows XP, Vista, and 7 (32 and 64 bit versions), and Mac OS X 10.6 and above. Various Splashtop clients are available on different platforms:
- Splashtop Remote Desktop, used on the iPhone, iPad, Android 2.x and 3.x devices, Windows, webOS, and MeeGo; enables users to access and control a remote computer, such as play videos, music, and games; view and edit documents; or run other applications that reside on the remote computer.
- Splashtop Remote Browser, used on iPhone/iPad, connects to a remote computer and launches the remote computer's default browser, letting a user browse the Web on the client device via the remote computer's Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer. In addition, Splashtop Connect is a browser extension for Firefox and Internet Explorer.
- Splashtop Whiteboard turns an iPad into an interactive whiteboard. The output can be displayed to the class using a large screen projector.
- Splashtop XDisplay turns an iPad into a wireless second monitor that works side-by-side with another computer. Splashtop Touchpad enables an iPod Touch or iPhone to act as a remote control or wireless keyboard for a computer.
The connection between Splashtop Streamer and Client relies on TCP/IP protocol. The client is able to find a computer (with the Streamer installed) on the same network. In recent versions, Splashtop Remote supports an Internet Discovery feature, which uses a Google account to link client devices and a computer with the Streamer installed. When passing through some firewalls, the audio/video quality may be decreased.
The original concept of Splashtop was that it was intended to be integrated on a read-only device and shipped with the hardware, rather than installed by the user. It did not prevent the installation of another operating system for dual booting. It was an instant-on commercial Linux distribution targeting PC motherboard vendors and other device manufacturers. The first OEM partner for the original Splashtop was ASUS, and their first joint product was called Express Gate. Later, other computer manufacturers also built Splashtop into certain models and re-branded it under different names. The data below detailing these events is retained verbatim from past articles for historical reference.
Support for Splashtop OS has been withdrawn and downloads of Splashtop OS have been disabled on the Splashtop website.
Features and Usage
Splashtop features a graphical user interface, a web browser based on Mozilla Firefox 3.0, a Skype VoIP client and a chat client based on Pidgin. It also includes Adobe Flash Player 10.
Splashtop OS (beta) version 0.9.8.1 uses Microsoft Bing as search engine, a Chromium-based web browser with Adobe Flash Player plug-in preinstalled. Existing Windows bookmarks and Wi-Fi settings can be imported from Windows. 
Most versions of Asus motherboards no longer come with Splashtop preinstalled, as the manufacturer now limits the inclusion of its built-in Express Gate flash drive to "Premium" motherboards such as the P6T Deluxe and P7P55D-E Premium. Other Asus motherboards allow installation of the compact OS via a Windows-only based installer on its support CD. Installation from CD requires a Windows partition to store 500 MB of files, which has to be a SATA drive defined as IDE (no support for AHCI). If one doesn't have a Windows-based machine, it is possible to install Splashtop on a USB hard drive, from the sources.
At present Splashtop, as supplied for Asus motherboards, has no support for add-on wireless hardware such as PCI cards (June 2010).
Splashtop can work with a 512 MB flash memory embedded on the PC motherboard. The flash memory can be also emulated on the Windows C: drive (see below). A proprietary core engine starts at the BIOS boot and loads a specialized Linux distribution called a Virtual Appliance Environment (VAE). While running this VAE, the user can launch Virtual Appliances (VA). Skype is a VA, for instance.
The Sony VAIO versions such as 18.104.22.168 are installed as VAIO Quick Web Access. The installer and the resulting SquashFS files occupy roughly 2×250 MB. The SquashFS files consist of a hidden splash.idx and two hidden folders splash.sys and splash.000 in the Windows C:-partition, where splash.000 corresponds to splash.sys\persist for a DOS file system emulation of an USB flash drive. The MD5 checksums of the various Bootsplash bs-xxxx.sqx and Virtual Appliance va-xxxx.sqx files (including a special Firefox configuration) are noted in splash.sys\version for a simple integrity check at the Splashtop start. VAIO laptops offer special buttons ASSIST, WEB, or VAIO depending on the model. The power button on these laptops triggers an ordinary PC boot process, the WEB button starts Splashtop. If a Windows-version configured for VAIO is already running the WEB button only starts the default browser.
Motherboards featuring Splashtop
- P5E3 Deluxe/WiFi AP @n
- P5E3 Premium/WiFi AP @n
- M3N-HT Deluxe/Mempipe
- M3N-HT Deluxe/HDMI
- M3A79-T Deluxe
- M4N78 Pro
- M4A78LT-M LE
- M4A785TD-M EVO
- M4A785TD-V EVO
- M4A79XTD EVO
- M4A88TD-V EVO-USB3
- P5N64 WS Professional
- P5Q family (P5QC, P5Q Deluxe, P5Q-WS, P5Q Pro, P5Q3 Deluxe, P5Q-E, P5Q-EM, P5QL-E, P5QL Pro, P5Q SE/R)
- P6T family
- P6X58D Premium
- Asus Eee Box motherboard
In May 2008 ASUS announced they want to eventually use Splashtop across their entire motherboard product portfolio. Various Splashtop-enabled motherboards, desktops, and laptops are available internationally since 2008.
Other products featuring Splashtop
ASUS rebrands Splashtop as "Express Gate" or "My Cloud" for its other products (such as motherboards) as well.
- ASUS Eee PC
- ASUS EeeBox PC
- ASUS Transformer Prime
- ASUS Notebook PCs:
- Acer Aspire Revo
- VoodooPC Envy 133 
- Lenovo IdeaPad S9e, S10, S10e, S10-2, S10-3, S10-3t, S12,S10-3s, which rebrand Splashtop as "Lenovo Quick Start".
- LG X120, X130 and X140, which rebrands Splashtop as "LG Smart On".
- Sony VAIO NW  and the newer Core i3/i5-based E series, which have a Web button that launches Splashtop.
- HP Pavilion dv4 series, Pavilion dv6 series, dm1-1103eo, dm3 series, ProBook 5310m, ELITEBOOK 8740w, ELITEBOOK 8540w, ELITEBOOK 8440w, ELITEBOOK 8440p, Envy 13 and Envy 15 
- HP Mini 110 (and other models) - "HP QuickWeb"
- Acer Aspire One Pro netbooks
- Dell Latitude notebooks (Latitude On Reader, and Latitude On Flash)
- Latitude ON - another 'instant-on' OS from Dell available on Dell Latitude E and Z series laptops.
- coreboot - another 'instant-on' computing concept
- Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) and Unified EFI (UEFI)
- Open Firmware
- http://www.splashtop.com/press_releases_detail.php?Id=61 DeviceVM, Inc. officially becomes Splashtop Inc.
- http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=ODczNw Remember SplashTop? Here's An Update On Them
- Splashtop Instant-On Desktop from DeviceVM
- Hachman, Mark (2011-01-06). "Splashtop Expands Remote PC Control to Android". PC Magazine.
- [Phoronix] ASUS Motherboard Ships With Embedded Linux, Web Browser
- Problem with Linux based machines
- Installing splashtop on USB key (article in French)
- SplashTop's Instant-On Linux Desktop | Geek.com
- "VAIO Quick Web Access". Sony VAIO. 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
- "Hacking Express gate (Asus Splashtop)". Phoronix forum. 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
- Benjamin Pannell. "DVM-version.exe". ExpressGate. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
- "Using the Internet without Starting Windows (Quick Web Access)(the Web button)". Sony VAIO. 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
- "Open Source & Developers". Splashtop OS Credits. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
- Have we launched? Is this thing on? | On Top of Splashtop
- Asus gives Linux another boost
- AnandTech: ASUS Eee Box Preview & Intel's Atom Benchmarked
- "Splashtop to Ship on Millions of ASUS Motherboards, Starting with P5Q Family" (Press release). 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- Now your PC can boot-up faster
- Instant Boot-Up
- A hands-on look at the Splashtop instant-on Linux environment
- Asus to embed Linux on all motherboards
- Asus to offer Linux on all motherboards
- The 25 Most Innovative Products of the Year
- Asus P5E3 Deluxe/Wi-Fi-AP Review
- New laptops leap hurdles to booting up quickly
- In Age of Impatience, Cutting PC Start Time
- Computer-makers shaking up their booting