Transmeta takes the road to China

The chipmaker partners with a Chinese electronics company to sell a notebook there based on the energy-efficient Crusoe TM5800.

Transmeta is heading to China.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker has signed a deal with SVA Group, a Chinese electronics company, to create notebooks with the Crusoe TM5800 processor for the PC market in China.

SVA chose the TM5800, which is designed to consume a small amount of power and operate without a fan inside small notebooks, for its new machine dubbed the Classic Silver.

The 3.3-pound machine, available now, uses an aluminum case and features a screen that rotates 180 degrees, the companies said. It's priced at about $1,500.

"We evaluated many CPU options for this notebook, and Transmeta's energy-efficient Crusoe processor was the only one that met all of our needs," Hou De Cao, president of the company's SVA Computer division, said in a statement.

China, whose PC market has been growing quickly, has become increasingly important to chipmakers and PC manufacturers in the United States. Advanced Micro Devices recently closed a deal to create computers for the Chinese education market, while Intel has long been selling its processors there to both PC makers and PC component retailers.

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"China's electronics marketplace is growing rapidly, making it a key part of our geographic expansion strategy," Transmeta CEO Matthew Perry said in a statement.

Transmeta, which reports third-quarter earnings on Wednesday, sells Crusoe TM5800 at clock speeds from 667MHz to 867MHz. Notebooks that use the chip are available in the United States, Europe and Japan from manufacturers including Fujitsu, Sony, Sharp and NEC.

Transmeta's chips were expected to take the PC market by storm when they were unveiled in 2000 but so far have found acceptance mostly outside of the United States, primarily among PC makers in Japan.

Hewlett-Packard, the chipmaker's first customer among U.S.-based PC makers, plans to release a tablet PC using a 1GHz Crusoe TM5800 next month.