Rebel.com, based in Ottawa and formerly known as Hardware Computing Canada, sells a line of Linux servers that are based on Intel's StrongArm chip. Rebel.com will add Transmeta's designs to that NetWinder line, the company said at the PC Expo trade show here.
The Crusoe chip will be used in a future line of "gateway" computers that will connect networks of computers in homes or businesses to the Internet. With the arrival of comparatively fast but inexpensive DSL (digital subscriber line) and cable connections to the Internet, combined with an ever-expanding number of Net gadgets, gateway servers are a hot area.
Transmeta's Crusoe chip, in combination with special "code-morphing" software, emulates an Intel chip but consumes less power. Transmeta also makes its own version of Linux tailored for portable devices, though Crusoe-based systems don't require an unusual version of Linux or Windows to run.
Though AMD and Intel have unveiled power-saving techniques of their own, Transmeta's methods have won praise from technologists, and major computer manufacturers are expected to incorporate Transmeta chips into their product lines.
Rebel.com chose Crusoe because it's compatible with Intel chips and because its low power means it can work in a small box that doesn't require a fan for cooling. "These are very important strengths...which differentiated it from other processor architectures we evaluated," Rebel.com president Michal Mansfield said in a statement.
Rebel.com acquired the NetWinder line of Linux computers from Corel last year. The company will continue to sell its StrongArm-based machines, a Rebel.com spokeswoman said.
Rebel.com isn't the only one interested in Transmeta. IBM, Fujitsu, NEC and Hitachi all are demonstrating Transmeta-based ultralight laptops at the show.
As previously reported, IBM said it plans to use Transmeta chips in its Thinkpad line of laptops if customer response is favorable. Customers want a notebook that can run a full day on a single battery charge, IBM said.
The power requirements of the Crusoe chip mean that the ultralight laptops don't require a fan, Transmeta said today.
IBM's microelectronics division is manufacturing the Crusoe chips.