Hitachi today confirmed that it would be using Transmeta's Crusoe in notebooks from November, and added that it will roll out Crusoe Linux Internet appliances at the same time. The company was one of a clutch of Japanese supporters announced by Transmeta CEO Dave Ditzel earlier this year, and one by one these now seem to be falling into line.
It's still early days, but it's beginning to seem possible that Transmeta has some real momentum behind it, and the ability to win customers from Intel on technical merit, rather than on price. Transmeta now has firm public commitments from Sony, Fujitsu and Hitachi, and unless IBM decides to warehouse the bunch of ThinkPad 240s it's sourcing from Quanta, it'll be live with Transmeta machines before year end too.
But although the doors are starting to open at least a crack for Transmeta, it still has some way to go in the notebook market. Most of the companies going with its chips are likely to introduce them first on single models, or a limited range, while sticking with Intel for the rest of their machines. This tended to be the case for AMD and Cyrix in previous years, and usually the company switching turned out to be doing so largely for short-term price reasons, meaning that Intel's rivals were unable to build on the breakthrough. The challenge for Transmeta now, having recruited a clutch of big names, is to convince them to go the whole hog. ®
Confirmed: IBM to roll with Crusoe ThinkPads this year