IBM has confirmed that it will launch a range of notebook
computers based on Transmeta's Crusoe chip later this year.
Following its demonstration of prototype notebooks running
Crusoe at the PC Expo show in June, IBM cast doubt on its
commitment to the chip and said it was still evaluating customer
However, the company today confirmed that it will offer
Crusoe-based versions of its I-Series consumer notebooks in the
fourth quarter of this year. The notebooks will be sold direct via
IBM's website. Big Blue has not specified whether the notebooks
will be available through other channels.
An IBM spokeswoman told vnunet.com that testing and customer
evaluation is ongoing, but confirmed that a product launch is
planned. She said IBM also has long-term plans to introduce the
chip into its entire mobile product line.
In June, IBM had said it "had the ability" to launch a Thinkpad
240 based on Transmeta's processor. However, the spokeswoman
confirmed that it would be the I-Series that will house the chip as
the 240 range will be phased out later this year.
IBM launched I-Series in June. The laptops weigh around 2.7kg
and are 1.4in thick, exactly the type of lightweight product that
would benefit from Transmeta's processor.
Transmeta claims that, when running, the Crusoe chip consumes
around one watt of power compared with an Intel Pentium's 15 to 20
watts. This means that it uses significantly less battery power,
and enables lightweight notebooks to work for up to eight hours. In
standby mode, Crusoe consumes about 20 milliwatts of power.
However, research company Gartner has questioned the demand for
such low power, lightweight laptops.
Mike McGuire, a PC analyst at Gartner, said that market segment
accounts for 10 per cent or less of the total mobile PC market.
"Ultra-portables and mini-notebooks are extremely popular in Japan,
but not nearly so popular in other regions of the world," he
"Nor do we foresee a huge increase in the market share for that
segment in the next two or three years."
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