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VNU Net: Gateway powers up with Transmeta's Crusoe

Jun 03, 2000, 16:24 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Geralds)

By John Geralds, VNU Net

Gateway will use Transmeta's Crusoe processors to power its forthcoming line of internet appliances being developed with service provider America Online (AOL).

The PC manufacturer said it chose Crusoe for its range of mobile devices because of the chip's extended battery life, smaller size and lower operating temperature. Transmeta's Mobile Linux will be used as the operating system.

Peter Ashkin, Gateway's senior vice president and chief technology officer, said: "Crusoe is a great processor choice to help us deliver the kind of new internet services that consumers will value in this new marketplace."

The appliances will include a customised version of AOL's internet service that displays web pages, and includes features such as email and personalised information. Netscape's Gecko browser technology will also be used.

Although further details were not revealed, the companies said they are working on specialised applications and databases that will turn the devices from general-purpose machines to those tailored to their environment. For example, appliances designed to sit on kitchen counters could be used to display recipes or to order food. They could also be carried around the home as wireless devices.

Gateway and AOL's move is a break from the so-called Wintel duopoly grouping of Intel hardware and Microsoft software. The first Gateway-AOL internet appliances are scheduled to ship later this year.

Transmeta was founded five years ago by a former Sun Microsystems employee but shot into the limelight when it recruited Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux. Crusoe was announced amid industry fanfare in January as a rival to processors from Intel. Both Gateway and AOL are among a group of investors that have injected $88m into the young chip manufacturer.

Rob Enderle, an analyst at researcher Giga Information Group, predicts that Compaq and IBM will employ the chip in a forthcoming laptop PC scheduled for later this year.

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