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Published on Oct 30, 2008
A look at how the QNX Neutrino RTOS allows x86 systems based on the Intel Atom to boot in 1 second or less. According to QNX:
"QNX fastboot technology... eliminates the need for a BIOS on x86 platforms, including those that support Intel Atom processors, thereby reducing hardware costs and dramatically improving instant-on performance. Systems designers can use QNX fastboot technology to improve startup times for a wide variety of automotive, medical, industrial, military, and consumer products."
This video compares boot times with and without a BIOS. With a BIOS, the system takes 17 seconds to boot. With QNX fastboot technology, which eliminates the need for a BIOS, the system boots and launches an OpenGL ES application in 1 second. The software (QNX Neutrino RTOS, OpenGL ES application, etc.) is the same in both cases.
Fast boot times like these can, in some cases, eliminate the need for low-power modes. For instance, if a device is used only intermittently, the user could simply power it down when not in use -- there's no need to use a low-power mode to ensure a relatively fast wakeup. The result is longer battery life.