Toshiba has poured cold water on Transmeta's claims about the
low power consumption and heat generation of its Crusoe chip,
despite the fact that it is an investor in the chip startup.
Transmeta claims that Crusoe increases battery life in
lightweight notebooks to eight hours, more than doubling the two to
four hours provided by equivalent Intel chips. It also claims that
notebooks running the chips are quieter as Crusoe does not need
noisy cooling fans.
However, Steve Crawley, Toshiba UK's product marketing manager,
said that the company had no plans to introduce Crusoe into future
"[Crusoe] does give a reasonable increase in battery life, but
nothing like Transmeta's publicity is claiming. The back light
consumes a lot of power - one quarter of the power is used pushing
light out. Realistically, in sub-notebooks it gives a 30 to 40 per
cent increase in battery life," he said.
He added that Toshiba currently has prototypes of ultra-light
notebooks with eight hour battery life using Intel rather than
Transmeta chips. "This can be done with a standard Intel box," he
"It is an interesting technology but at the moment we are not
convinced it offers the user what is required. It will be very
interesting to see if it can add any significant value to the end
user in terms of battery life or thinness," he said.
But Transmeta contested Toshiba's claim, saying its eight hour
notebook was too heavy to be classed as an ultra-light device.
Ed McKernan, director of marketing at Transmeta, said:
"Toshiba's eight hour battery life today requires a 2.2lbs battery
attached to the base of their Portege 3440 and 3480 notebooks. This
means that [it] ends up weighing 5.61lbs - which is outside the
ultra-light category of 2lbs to 4lbs."
"Transmeta's Crusoe processor is today being designed into
products that will arrive in the fourth quarter and first quarter
[of next year] with all day battery life. In addition, it is
providing relief to original equipment manufacturers and designers
that must deal with the heat caused by the hot processors - even
Intel's 'one watt' processor," he added.
Toshiba agreed a licensing deal with Transmeta in February 1998,
following the signing of a similar deal with IBM in December 1997.
The deals, which gave Transmeta access to IBM and Toshiba
technology in return for the right to use Transmeta technology in
x86 products, provided the startup with much of its early
Transmeta subsequently reacquired the rights granted to IBM and
Toshiba to manufacture and market x86 compatible products. It
agreed to pay IBM a total of $33m over the next four years and
issued 600,000 shares of common stock to Toshiba. IBM and Toshiba
retain a licence to manufacture, market and sell non-x86 compatible
products incorporating the licensed technology.
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