Four PC manufacturers will demonstrate 'ultralight' notebooks
incorporating processors from startup chip maker Transmeta at the
PC Expo show in New York this week.
Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM and NEC will unveil prototype models
of notebooks based on the low power processors. IBM will also
confirm plans to manufacture the Crusoe chips at its
microelectronics division, with full production expected in the
second half of the 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 the Linux operating system. Crusoe
was announced amid industry fanfare in January as a rival to
processors from Intel. Both Gateway and America Online are among a
group of investors that have injected $88m (£59m) into the
young chip manufacturer.
Although the notebooks are all only prototypes, the four
manufacturers are expected to start shipping products based on the
chips in the fourth quarter of this year.
The Crusoe chip enables lightweight notebooks to provide up to
eight hours of battery life. It includes Transmeta's LongRun power
management technology which enables the processor to optimise its
performance to the actual application it is running, while
continually adjusting its speed and voltage so that it delivers the
maximum battery life.
Transmeta said the ultralight notebook designs are also quieter,
because the Crusoe chip does not require noisy fans to keep
Tim Bajarin, president of research company Creative Strategies,
said: "The Crusoe-powered units being demonstrated in the Transmeta
booth represent a significant step forward in the evolution of
ultralight notebook design. The Crusoe processor makes it possible
for these OEMs to offer designs for all-day computing with full PC
capabilities in a lightweight form factor."
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