Casio to adopt Transmeta for notebooks

The electronics maker plans to introduce a notebook containing Transmeta's Crusoe chip next year in Japan, becoming the latest small manufacturer to sign up with the chip start-up.

Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.
Michael Kanellos
2 min read
Casio will introduce a notebook containing a Crusoe chip from Transmeta next year in Japan, becoming the latest small manufacturer to sign up with the chip start-up.

Casio will show off a Crusoe notebook next week at Comdex, according to ARS, and will release the notebook to the Japanese market in the first half of 2001.

While Casio is not one of the world's largest notebook manufacturers, the deal marks another design win for the chip start-up. Transmeta designs chips that compete with processors from Intel but consume less power than standard Pentium IIIs or Celerons.

Intel, though, isn't standing still. The chip giant in October announced that it would come out with a series of ultra-low-power Pentium IIIs for notebooks by the middle of 2001. A prototype notebook from a major manufacturer containing one of these chips will be shown in hotel suites at Comdex, sources close to Intel said.

Like Sony, Casio is using the Crusoe chip in a "sub-notebook." As the name connotes, sub-notebooks are generally much smaller than regular notebooks. The screen on Casio's Fiva notebook containing a Crusoe chip measures 8.4 inches.

"Casio reported that the system has a battery life of between six to nine hours, which is impressive for a slim design of this type and indicates that the Crusoe design can dramatically increase battery life within very small form factor notebooks," ARS wrote in an analyst bulletin.

Meta Group says Transmeta faces major obstacles to carving out a significant chunk of the microprocessor market.

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So far, all of Transmeta's notebook wins have been with Japanese manufacturers. Except for Sony, all of these companies are selling their products in Asia.

Gateway and America Online, however, have already announced plans to put a Crusoe chip inside of their kitchen-countertop Internet appliance.

Two weeks ago, Transmeta suffered a setback when IBM revealed that it was suspending plans that would have led to the commercial release of a Crusoe-based ThinkPad.

Despite the setback, Transmeta's stock managed to double in its trading debut on Wall Street a few days later on Nov. 6.

News.com's Joe Wilcox contributed to this report.