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Phoenix software allows pre-boot access to Outlook data

Milpitas (CA) - BIOS manufacturer Phoenix announced a new software which enables users of notebook PCs to access their Outlook data without booting a PC. FirstWare Assistant is an example how the company wants to extend the features of the traditional BIOS and replace it with its Core System Software (CSS) in the future.

Phoenix believes that there is more to the space between hardware and operating system than we see today. Rather than serving just to the operating system, the BIOS of the future might do much more than just recognizing hardware components.

"The BIOS was designed for standalone devices", said Michael Goldgof, senior vice president of marketing for Phoenix. "Today everything is connected. Now there are new requirements. This is why created the Core System Software initiative. We feel that there is lots of room for innovation."

In addition to trusted computing, in which Phoenix is heavily involved, the company plans to build new features in the software which is loaded when a computer system is turned on. CSS, which extends and replaces the BIOS we know today, will serve as a component for network, security, authentication and system management features.

FirstWare Assistant is a simple but very effective tool how CSS in fact can enhance the use of a device, in this case a notebook. Installed as a plug-in for Outlook, the software saves before exiting the email software the most recent status of contacts, calendar and emails in a file which can be accessed in pre-boot state. "Instead of booting the system, users are now able to launch the FirstWare Assistant upon system start and access the file within a few seconds, rather than waiting a few minutes for Windows and Outlook to be ready," explained Goldgof.

According to Goldgof, the current version is a simple application. The company plans to enhance the software, which is basically a viewer right now, with editing features. "An ability to write emails is a feature which we have on the road map and is planned for the next release," he said.

Phoenix will make the software available by the end of March.