Hitachi sets November launch for Crusoe notebook

Japan's No. 1 electronics maker will sell laptop PCs using Transmeta's low-power chip, intensifying competition

Japanese electronics leader Hitachi has said it will use Transmeta's Crusoe chips in notebook computers to be launched in November, stepping up competition against Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

The Transmeta notebooks will be available from November, Hitachi said. At the same time the company also plans to begin selling Internet appliances based on Crusoe and the Linux operating system, a competitor to Microsoft's Windows which is considered less expensive and more stable.

Hitachi joins Sony, IBM, Gateway, Quanta, Toshiba, Fujitsu and NEC, all of whom have said they are at least considering using Crusoe in laptop computers, and some of whom have made definite announcements. Hitachi itself demonstrated a prototype notebook running on Crusoe at PC Expo in July.

Others, however, such as Dell and Compaq, have shied away from Crusoe, saying it may have performance problems. Dell, however, is known as a loyal Intel customer and does not even use chips from Intel rival AMD.

The entry of a new competitor in the chip industry could be a boon for consumers, driving down prices and increasing performance.

Five-year-old Transmeta launched Crusoe earlier this year. The chip uses far less power than comparable processors from AMD and Intel, making it possible to greatly extend laptop battery life or use a smaller battery.

Transmeta announced its intention to make a public stock offering in July. Its major backers include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and financier George Soros.

See Chips Central for daily hardware news, including an interactive timeline of AMD and Intel's upcoming product launches.

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