New Casio sub-notebook features Crusoe

Casio announced Wednesday that it will release the Cassiopeia Fiva MPC-206E sub-notebook with Transmeta's Crusoe processor by the end of this month.

The new Cassiopeia weighs 2.1 pounds (.95 kilograms), and runs the 600MHz Crusoe processor. NEC Computers Inc. last month announced two new notebooks in the U.S. using the same Transmeta chip. [See "NEC launches Transmeta notebooks in U.S.," April 16.]Casio's new notebook takes advantage of the Crusoe's low-power draw by offering up to nine hours of continuous operation on battery power, Casio said in a statement.

The sub-notebook ships with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Millennium Edition, with Linux offered as an alternative operating system. It also features a switch allowing users to switch from Windows to a minimal Linux environment instantly. Linux also allows the device to skip Windows boot-up for certain applications including MP3 playback and the FTP (file transfer protocol) client.

The Cassiopeia Fiva, with an 8.4-inch display, 128M bytes of memory and a 20G-byte hard drive will be available later this month for US$1,999.

Transmeta's processors are used in a range of portable computers from Sony Corp.'s Picturebook, which uses a 667MHz Crusoe chip, to Casio Computer Co. Ltd.'s Cassiopeia notebooks in Japan. In March, Transmeta said that it is one of the companies whose chips are being used in trial versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Tablet PCs, along with rival Intel.

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