Twinhead produces Chinese Crusoe notebook

Taiwanese notebook PC maker, Twinhead International has launched its Crusoe-based notebook PCs in China hoping to boost its notebook sales there.

"Our machine with the Crusoe processor runs on lower voltage (and) doesn't have a fan so it's lighter, so we can make the product much smaller," said Spencer Wu, vice president of Twinhead's Taiwan business group, adding that the low-power, lightweight machines would be attractive to users looking for smaller notebooks.

Twinhead is shipping its Efio 1200 notebook through its dealer channel in China and is available in six Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu and Shenyang, Wu said. The Efio 1200 was launched in Taiwan earlier this month, but will not be available in Hong Kong, he said.

The Twinhead notebook features aTransmeta Corp. 600MHz Crusoe TM5600 processor. The computer has 128M bytes of memory, expandable to 256M bytes; weighs 1.4 kilograms; has a 10.4 inch TFT (thin film transistor) screen capable of XGA (1,024 by 768 pixel) resolution; a 20G-byte hard drive; a built-in 10/100 Ethernet card and a 56K bps (bits per second) fax/modem, one Type II PCMCIA card slot, two USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, and an infrared port. Battery life on the standard battery is set at around five hours although longer life can be attained with the use of an optional add-on battery, the company said. The machine retails in Taiwan for NT$49,990 (US$1,448).

Although Twinhead announced plans to roll out a more advanced machine next year with an upgraded Crusoe TM5800 processor, the company will first see look at Efio 1200 sales before deciding whether future Crusoe-based machines are launched in Taiwan and China, said Wu, adding that China is Twinhead's target market.

"Transmeta's Crusoe processors are not quite accepted in China right now, so we have to do a lot of education for end users," he said. "We will monitor the sales volume over the next three months and see if there's an upward trend in accepting the Crusoe processors before we go further."

Transmeta hit a snag earlier this year when it missed its deadline to ship the Crusoe 5800. As a result, the comany has had to adjust its revenue figures for the last quarter of 2001 because it fell substantially short of its production goals, the company said in a statement. It has also faced an overall decline in microprocessor shipments to Japan, where it does the bulk of its business.

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