noch ein paar infos zur company. der chip hat hier in den usa maechtig eingeschlagen.
Transmeta Develops Chips for Handhelds
Henry Norr, Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, January 20, 2000
Transmeta, a secretive Silicon Valley startup with a star-studded engineering team and financial backing from a stable of megamoguls, finally laid its cards on the table yesterday, unveiling a pair of chips designed specifically for handheld Internet-access devices.
Called Crusoe, the new microprocessors run software written for the Intel chips used in most PCs and do so almost as fast as Intel's latest designs. Yet they require only a fraction of the power needed for chips like the Intel Celeron and Pentium III.
That, according to Transmeta, will make them capable of ``all-day computing'' -- something that's already possible with some handheld devices, but not with Intel- compatible machines.
From its founding four years ago until yesterday's announcements, Transmeta had kept its plans a tightly guarded secret.
Whether by intention or not, the element of mystery produced a huge buzz around the company. Yesterday's briefing, held at the Villa Montalvo in Saratoga -- an elegant Mediterranean-style lodge built at the turn of the century -- drew hundreds of reporters and camera crews from all over the world. When CEO Dave Ditzel entered the auditorium, he was mobbed by photographers snapping flashes.
Some of the attention is due to the company's investors, who include Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, and George Soros, the Hungarian-born Wall Street wizard.
Further fueling the fire is the presence on Transmeta's payroll of Linus Torvalds, the Finnish programmer who created Linux, the open-source operating system that's recently taken the corporate world by storm and is considered by some to be a significant threat to Microsoft Windows.
Not coincidentally, one of the Crusoe chips, the TM3120, will run Mobile Linux, a new version Torvalds helped to create for use on devices with less memory and power than desktop or even notebook PCs. Transmeta showed it running on prototype tablet-size ``Web pads'' with wireless Internet access.
Also on hand was a mock-up of a videocassette-size unit that accommodated add-on modules, which turn it into a game console, an MP3 digital music player or a wireless Web terminal.
The TM3120 is available immediately, according to Transmeta, in 333- and 400-megahertz versions. No specific products or even companies planning to adopt it were announced, but Transmeta officials said some of its chip customers are planning to announce Web pads in the next few months, at prices between $500 and $1,000.
The other Crusoe, the TM5400, is intended for Windows notebooks that weigh 4 pounds or less and cost between $1,200 and $2,500. It will be available at 500- and 700-megahertz speeds. Transmeta claimed prerelease versions running at 667 megahertz work about as fast as 500-megahertz mobile Pentium IIIs, but the company is still tuning its hardware and software to improve performance.
Notebooks incorporating the TM5400 will reach the market around midyear, according to Transmeta. Again, it declined to identify companies that plan to use the chip, but one of the prototype notebooks on display was made by Acer.
Both versions use advanced technologies and streamlined internal designs to deliver high performance with very low power. To avoid the complexity of Intel processors, Transmeta developed a patented technique it calls ``code- morphing software'' to translate code intended for Intel's ``x86'' architecture into instructions appropriate to Crusoe. The underlying processing engine uses a technique called VLIW -- very long word instructions -- which Intel also uses in the Itanium, a new high-end chip it plans to ship later this year.
In theory, the ``morphing'' technology could be adapted to support code intended for other microprocessors, such the PowerPC chips in Apple's Macintosh or the Motorola Dragonball processor that runs Palm and compatible handheld devices. But Transmeta said that at least for now its focus is strictly on ``x86'' compatibility.
To cut power requirements, another new technology Transmeta calls LongRun automatically adjusts both the frequency and the voltage of the Crusoe processors to the lowest level needed for the current workload. That enables the chips to run on only 1 watt of power; Intel chips in current Windows notebooks typically use more than ten times as much power.