IBM says it will show off a ThinkPad using Transmeta's Crusoe low-power chip at PC Expo this month, but has stopped short of committing to use the processor in its flagship notebook line.
Nevertheless, it's the closest Transmeta has got to announcing an OEM manufacturer of the "all-day-on Windows notebooks", for which the Crusoe TM5400 was designed.
While much attention has been on Transmeta's design wins for lightweight Linux web appliances, most notably with Gateway/AOL, no OEM has yet to use Crusoe in full-blown Wintel notebooks.
The row of empty seats at Transmeta's launch - which ought to have been filled by backsides belonging to IBM employees from its Burlington, Vermont fab plant - attests to the caution with which Big Blue undertakes its public gestures. But this one is unmistakable.
It isn't exactly a surprise that IBM is the first to put its head above the parapet. As we've been reporting for about eighteen months now, Transmeta has a close working relationship with IBM, including licensing rights to both its copper and SOI technology, should Intel get litigious. Which is unlikely, given Chipzilla's agreement with the FTC, but not impossible. This relationship extends to give Transmeta a degree of patent protection too, say company sources. ®