The minute I get into work, I always do one thing before anything else: power up my PC. I then take off my jacket, pour myself a coffee, shoot the bull with co-workers, do a couple of neck stretches, listen to voice mail, and, if my PC is ready, sit down to work. Often, though, the machine is still busy, launching gosh knows what.
So if I tell you that an x86-based box can boot faster than you can say "one steamboat", I will totally understand if you think I'm trying to B.S. you. But humor me and check out the following video. It shows how the QNX Neutrino RTOS running on an Intel Atom-based Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP board can boot up (and launch a 3D OpenGL ES program) in 1 second:
I won't attempt a long explanation of how QNX does this: Dave Green, the engineer in the video, does a much better job than I ever could. In a nutshell, though, QNX's "fastboot" technology eliminates the need for a BIOS (a firmware component common to PCs and other x86 systems), thereby reducing the boot time of this system from 17 seconds to just 1 second.
Personally, I hope that Windows box never learns to boot so fast. Because I would really miss having that leisurely cup of coffee, shooting the bull with my co-workers, etc. I would, horrors of horrors, have to work instead. :-)