Transmeta extends Sony development contract

Transmeta and Sony have agreed to cooperate for a second year on finding ways to apply Transmeta's power-efficient processing to Sony products.

Transmeta has renewed an agreement to share its expertise in low-power processors with Sony, dedicating more than 100 engineers to projects in the second quarter of 2006.

Transmeta will work on Sony engineering jobs ranging from three-month to one-year projects. The general goal is to find ways to use Transmeta's designs in products made by Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony.

Company spokesmen declined to put a dollar value on the contract or describe specific products they would produce.

Beginning in March 2005, the companies cooperated in using Transmeta's LongRun2 technology in Sony's portable applications.

LongRun2 is a power management technique that improves the power efficiency of semiconductor devices by dynamically adjusting clock speed and voltage hundreds of times per second.

That is a crucial service as processor manufacturers build faster and smaller chips, dropping below one-micron process geometry to 90 nanometers and 65 nm and running into problems with excessive heat and transistor leakage.

"They have a strong relationship and a good track record of working together, so they are eager to extend that," said Lauren Stein, a spokeswoman with a Transmeta public relations firm. She declined to describe what Sony products would use the Transmeta technology.

Transmeta launched its power-efficient, x86-compatible Crusoe chip in 2000, but decided in 2005 to change its focus from chip manufacturing to technology licensing. The company still makes the 90-nm Efficeon chip.

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Ben Ames

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