Random Thought. With the rise of chip level virtualization form Intel and AMD and the sudden interest in Netbooks (just enough computer), is the need for a full blown OS required any longer?
Phoenix Technologies may have the right idea with their BIOS level Virtualization technology. Phoenix envisions multiple light weight apps running inside the BIOS, enabled by its Xen based HyperCore hypervisor. According to the company, you can check your email, browse the Web or launch a media player without burning through your battery life because the core application componets site directly on the CPU. Phoenix is banking on software vendors seeing the market potential and developing HyperSpace-friendly offerings, I'd imagine complete with a Iphone style app store in the works. Imagine an iphone style netbook.
Also Phoenix has made a strong move in embedded security, including firmware to leverage the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to provide pre-boot device authentication. This will be paricularly important in secured and auditable cloud computing.
Another interesting opportunity is using a light cloud centric OS such as Googles Android on a NetBook PC or Server. The concept is just enough OS (jeOS) with the majority of the heavy lifting done offsite, or in the cloud. My question, is this the future of personal computing?