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IBM to demo Transmeta-based notebook at PC Expo

Big Blue plans to show off a ThinkPad notebook based on a processor from upstart Transmeta at a trade show later this month.

IBM said today that it plans to show off a ThinkPad notebook based on a processor from upstart Transmeta at a trade show later this month.

A spokeswoman for Big Blue said the laptop to be shown at PC Expo in New York is only a technology demonstration. IBM, she said, is considering offering Transmeta-based models later this year.

"We are considering products in the fourth quarter," spokeswoman Lisa Kaslyn said. IBM's microelectronics unit has been manufacturing Transmeta's Crusoe line of low-power processors.

While nearly all laptop computers today use chips from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices, Transmeta hopes to make inroads with Crusoe, a chip the company says can dramatically cut power consumption, potentially paving the way for a computer that could run all day on a single battery.

Transmeta uses "code-morphing" software to translate instructions intended for an Intel-based processor into a language that can be understood by the low-power Crusoe chip. David Ditzel

Transmeta chief executive Dave Ditzel told CNET News.com last month he expects to see Transmeta-based products at PC Expo. Last week, Gateway and AOL said they would use Transmeta's Crusoe in an upcoming line of Internet appliances.

Others could follow IBM's move. PC makers Compaq Computer and Sony were among the strategic backers Transmeta said in April would provide $88 million in financing to the chipmaker. Meanwhile, S3 has already committed to introducing Transmeta-based Internet appliances.

Transmeta ended several years of silence in January, announcing two Crusoe processors, one aimed at the laptop computer market and the other for use in other Internet gadgets, such as Web pads. The company had generated a great deal of publicity from its secrecy, along with the fact that it counts Linux originator Linus Torvalds among its employees and philanthropist George Soros and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen among its backers.

IBM today also introduced two new lines of budget ThinkPads based on Intel's Celeron chip.