Transmeta, the startup that has the industry buzzing with its
forthcoming Crusoe mobile chip, has accused Intel of confusing the
market with its latest family of Pentium chips.
On Monday Intel unveiled a range of mobile Pentium III
processors, including a 600Mhz chip that uses less than one watt of
power using Intel's Speedstep technology, thereby saving laptop
However, Transmeta said all its chips would consume less than
one watt, and criticised Intel for confusing the market with even
more Pentium varieties.
A Transmeta spokesman said: "Intel's rollout will be confusing
to customers. The large number of Pentiums out on the market are
difficult to differentiate. Every incarnation of Crusoe is, and
will be, a one-watt processor."
Transmeta is expected to demonstrate Crusoe-based notebooks from
six vendors, including IBM, at next week's PC Expo show in New
Similar to the function of Intel's Speedstep, Crusoe uses a
technology called LongRun which enables it to adjust its operating
speed and voltage continuously to match the needs and workload of
"Transmeta's Smart Microprocessor reduces power-burning logic
transistors by 75 per cent over the Pentium III architecture. This
is something Intel fundamentally cannot copy and so cannot approach
Crusoe power levels," claimed the Transmeta spokesman.
Analysts are split as to whether Crusoe will compete head-on
with Intel's mobile processors but agree that Transmeta will
capture the market for ultra lightweight notebooks weighing around
900g. One original equipment manufacturer is expected to
demonstrate a 1.2kg notebook with full DVD capabilities at next
Martin Reynolds, an analyst at research firm Dataquest, said:
"It's clear that Intel is targeting the lower power market and is
responding to Crusoe." But consumers are less concerned with
battery life than the speed of their systems, which ultimately
affects how effective the notebooks are, he added.
"Intel processors are about getting the job done, but Crusoe's
advantage is in simple, lighter and smaller notebooks."
Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group, said
Transmeta and Intel will compete head to head in the market for
thin and light systems with large screens that are becoming popular
with experienced notebook users. He said Crusoe's technology can
extend battery life by up to three times and so is aimed at mobile
users, while Intel's processors offer users the performance of
desktop machines when their laptops are connected to power
But overall, Enderle believes Intel's latest processors are
"significant enough to hold off Transmeta".
Intel's processors are now in full production and systems from
original equipment manufacturers including Sony, Dell, Toshiba, IBM
and Compaq, are expected over the next few weeks.
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