Most people who regularly uses a laptop have wanted to get a look at a file, but didn’t want to boot it up to see it. Or maybe you don’t have the time to wait for it to boot. Worst of all, you have let the battery die and there isn’t enough juice to boot it up. PortalPlayer has a solution – Preface. It’s a small screen that they hope manufacturers will put on the outside of laptops which accesses its own operating software, processor and memory cache and it is always on, so you can access files whenever you need them. Other than running off the same battery it works completely separately from the laptop, so it works without the computer being turned on. It uses a low power processor, so it can run even if your battery is too low to run the computer.
Microsoft and PortalPlayer have combined to test the system on prototypes. PortalPlayer hopes to see it on manufacturers’ production models by 2008. They have used existing mobile phone screen technology to keep cost down. Currently the technology costs $30 to $40 per machine, but the company hopes to reduce that to $20 by 2008.