Transmeta Gets Boosters

Formerly something of a secretive operation, Transmeta took the wraps off its Crusoe mobile processor in January. The chip is designed to power both notebooks and smaller Web-access devices, particularly those using wireless technologies. One of the company's main backers is Linus Torvalds, the developer of the Linux open-source operating system.

Transmeta still expects Crusoe-based systems to start appearing in the market by the middle of this year, according to company representatives.

Other new investors in Transmeta include a trio of Taiwanese companies. They are monitor specialist Compal Electronics, motherboard manufacturer First International Computer, and notebook maker Quanta Computer.

Other Transmeta investors are U.S. BIOS company Phoenix Technologies and South Korean company Samsung Electronics, according to a Transmeta statement.

The Phoenix BIOS is being used to build reference designs for Crusoe-based mobile computers, the company acknowledged in late January.

Sony's interest in Transmeta is interesting given the Japanese company's recent investment in U.S. wireless broadband company ArrayComm. Sony hopes ArrayComm's I-Burst technology will help to bring high-speed Net access to a wide range of portable Net access devices.

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