UEFI on track to replace PC BIOS by 2011
The relatively slow PC boot-up sequence is expected to receive a welcome boost with the mass adoption of a new spec known as UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) in 2011.
As UEFI Forum head Mark Doran notes, elements of the conventional BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) employed by current-gen PCs have been "kicking around" since at least 1979.
"The creators of the original BIOS only expected it to have a lifetime of about 250,000 machines - a figure that has long been surpassed," Doran told the BBC.
"They are as amazed as anyone else that now it is still alive and well in a lot of systems. [Obviously], it was never really designed to be extensible over time."
According to Doran, the backwards compatible UEFI is already capable of reducing the standard 25-30 seconds of boot time to "under a handful of seconds."
"[No], we're not at instant-on yet, but it is [certainly] a lot better than conventional BIOS can manage - and we're getting closer to that every day."
He added that UEFI would allow future machines to more easily support alternative input devices, such as soft keyboards and advanced touchscreen interfaces.
"[Yes], 2011 [is the] year that sales of UEFI machines [will] start to dominate...[And] I would say we are at the edge of the tipping point right now."