ASUS N10Jc, A Performance Netbook

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ExpressGate & Software

The ASUS N10 is equipped with their ExpressGate embedded OS. We have seen ExpressGate in action in the past on several ASUS motherboards like the P5E3 Premium and the P5Q Deluxe. ExpressGate also made an appearance on the Eee Box, but is not available on any other ASUS netbooks.

ExpressGate is ASUS' custom version of the Splashtop Linux distribution, developed by DeviceVM. Splashtop and its derivatives are designed to be run from read-only memory embedded on motherboards and in this case, a notebook. Since it is run from read-only memory, the Splashtop OS isn't quite a full-function Linux distro and has some limitations, similar to a LiveCD.

ASUS ExpressGate Instant-boot Embedded OS

ASUS' ExpressGate derivative of the Splashtop OS features six seperate applications; Web, Music, Online Games, Photo, Chat and Skype. The Web application is a full-screen web browser based on Mozilla Firefox 2.0 with support for flash so you can watch YouTube videos to your heart's content. The Photo application is a simple photo browser and viewer while the Music application is an audio player with basic playlist support. The Chat application is based on the open source Pidgin project and supports the AIM, Google Talk, MSN, QQ and Yahoo networks.

The primary advantage of ExpressGate is its ability to boot in about 8 seconds since it boots from read-only memory instead of the hard drive. In this way, you can have "instant-on" internet and basic multimedia functionality without having to wait for Windows to boot. A very handy feature when you need to quickly look up a Wikipedia entry or make a quick call with Skype.

ASUS N10Jc First-boot
Pre-installed Software & Utilities

The N10 comes pre-installed with a bundle of software and utilities, mostly related to the use and management of the N10's various features. Pre-installed software includes:

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 8
  • ASUS DVD (rebranded CyberLink DVD player)
  • ASUS LifeFrame
  • ASUS Live Update
  • ASUS Splendid Utility
  • ASUS Power4 Gear
  • ASUS VirtualCamera
  • ASUS Wireless Console
  • ASUS Zoom In (enables magnification function)
  • Atheros Client Utility
  • CyberLink LabelPrint
  • CyberLink Power2Go
  • LightScribe Direct DIsc Labeling
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable
  • NB Probe
  • Protector Suite QL (fingerprint reader utility)
  • WinFlash v2.24

ASUS N10Jc - Default Desktop Screenshot

This results in a very busy taskbar on first-boot with around 50 processes running according to a quick peek in Windows Task Manager. Most of the pre-installed software has to do with enabling various functionality like the magnification ability (ASUS Zoom In), the power management utility (Power4 Gear), Athros wireless control utility and color profiles (ASUS Splendid Utility). However we question the inclusion of CyberLink software. While having CyberLink DVD player might still make sense despite the N10's lack of an optical drive, the inclusion of LightScribe is a bit puzzling.

Overall, the N10 didn't feel too burdened by the pre-installed software although some would consider much of it, especially the DVD related utilities, to be excess bloat. Thankfully all of these utilities are easily removed should the user desire.

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