ARM shares tumble as Transmeta readies Crusoe

UK chip maker could be threatened by Transmeta's low-power mobile chip

Shares in mobile microchip manufacturer ARM (quote: ARM) have fallen dramatically in anticipation of the launch of the much-talked-about new Crusoe processor from silicon start-up Transmeta.

At 11.32 am GMT ARM Holdings shares were down 215 pence at 3,320. Passion for ARM shares has been significantly dampened by the hype surrounding Transmeta's Crusoe processor, which is thought to herald a new level of sophistication in chips for mobile devices -- in which ARM specialises.

It is thought that the Crusoe chip may be capable of using software to emulate different types of hardware, enabling it to achieve unheard-of speed at a low level of power consumption. Low power consumption is crucial for battery-operated mobile devices.

Although Transmeta has yet to prove that it can succeed with such a dramatic innovation, as the dominant force in mobile computing, ARM stands to lose out if this technology is proved to be a reality.

Transmeta has generated a great deal of hype surrounding its new product by being extremely secretive. The chip will be officially launched at 9am Pacific Standard Time (5pm GMT) to huge media attention.

Frenzied interest in the new chip and the technology behind it was whipped-up further after the father of Linux Linus Torvalds announced his involvement in Transmeta.

The Transmeta Web page is also shrouded in mystery, bearing little more than the cryptic message, "We rethought the microprocessor to create a whole new world of mobility."

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