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osOpinion: Transmeta's First Products

Oct 16, 2000, 05:39 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Scott McCollum)

[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"The Crusoe-based laptops won't be one of those Internet appliances, but full-fledged laptops from the new Sony VAIO PictureBook line of products. The specs trumpet that the computer is about an inch thick, weighing a little over two pounds and featuring an "ultra wide" screen. I think "ultra wide" is a little misleading since the color screen is actually nine inches across and only about four inches high, although it would give the impression that a PictureBook user is constantly watching a "widescreen" movie but without the annoying black bars slicing off the top and bottom third of your view...."

"A case could be made that this product is the precursor to the flood of cheap Crusoe-based Internet appliances just over the horizon, but I seriously doubt it unless that flood is going to show up right around the second week of December 2000. Transmeta has had five years to hype up their Crusoe chip as the panacea for a world afflicted with outrageously high priced and bulky "personal" computers. I hardly consider a $2,700 laptop running Windows ME a cure for the common computer. Wasn't this thing developed with Linus Torvalds' input? Why the heck doesn't the first Crusoe product have Linux pre-loaded on it?"

"To be honest, this new notebook is going to be fast, cool (because of the low-power properties of the Crusoe, this PictureBook won't burn a hole through your Dockers while it sits on your lap on the plane) and will spoil people with its amazingly long-lived battery. That alone will not sell millions of units for Sony. The new Dell and IBM notebooks are promising to be lightweight, thin, powerful, blah-blah-blah and be competitively priced. Dell, IBM, Toshiba et al will also play up the fact that they are using recognized Intel processors rather than the unproven technology of a Crusoe. (This strategy worked to effectively throw Cyrix and IDT out of the ring and keep AMD pinned to the mat for a couple of two-counts until the Athlon.) Battery life and portability is nice, but a similarly configured Dell Latitude C-Series is going to start at around $2,000 with a bigger, clearer screen and a whole lot better customer service contract. Pretty obvious which choice businesses will make given those options."

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