GPU STARTUP STORY: SPLASHTOP RIDES THE MOBILITY WAVE

by Gary Rainville

Nearly three dozen companies participated in the Emerging Companies Summit, held during NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference in May. Below is one in a series of company profiles showcasing how startups are innovating with GPU technology.

Since its founding five years ago, Splashtop has been delivering quick access to the online world for remote users.

More than 7 million people worldwide use the San Jose, Calif.-based company’s apps on their mobile devices to remotely – and inexpensively – access their PCs or Macs, and associated programs, data, applications, movies and games.

One customer, Orlando Tech’s video department, used Splashtop in their work to fashion an inexpensive yet versatile and portable movie camera using a tablet. Students there filmed an actor in a 3D sensor suit, converted the live action into animation and then edited it with the latest real-time animation software – all using the touch interface of the tablet. What normally would’ve required expensive, cable-connected cameras and sitting at a deskbound workstation was done on the fly and at a fraction of the cost using Splashtop.

Innovations like this helped Splashtop snag a “One to Watch” award at the Emerging Companies Summit 2012. The company is also a two-time “Best of CES” winner. Their apps are consistently highly ranked, even besting Angry Birds download numbers at times, according to Cliff Miller, Splashtop’s chief marketing officer.

When screen-scraping to mobile devices, speed is the name of the game and Splashtop customers using NVIDIA GPUs hold an edge. Visitors to the Splashtop booth at the GPU Technology Conference got a chance to play graphics-intense gaming titles Skyrim and newly released Diablo III.

The demo showed how Splashtop could stream the games – in hi-res and with no lag – from a GeForce GPU-powered PC onto a Tegra 3-based ASUS Transformer Prime tablet via Splashtop’s Gamepad THD app. With smartphones or tablets powered by NVIDIA GPUs, users experience very low latency, so videos play smoothly and touch interfaces are super-responsive – up to 60 frames per second.

Another grateful customer from Japan described to Miller how Splashtop had provided the remote desktop technology he had long been looking for. The man zipped his tablet into a plastic bag and then took it into his bath so he could watch a movie, play games or even get some work done, all while enjoying a relaxing soak. Talk about making a splash!