Transmeta unveils software-based microprocessor

UPDATE: CEO Ditzel says chip has no x86 instructions implemented in hardware; Torvalds demonstrates Linux on Crusoe

Transmeta took the wraps off its long-awaited Crusoe chip on Wednesday, saying it represented the first microprocessor "whose instruction set is implemented entirely in software".

In introducing the first two in what will be a family of chips, company CEO Dave Ditzel said the upshot will be faster microprocessors that use less energy. "There is not one x86 instruction implemented in hardware," Ditzel said.

Linux founder Linus Torvalds demonstrated in a game of Quake that the new Transmeta Crusoe chip can run the Linux operating system. The chip can also run Windows applications, according to Transmeta. Torvalds is now an employee of Transmeta.

Transmeta executives said the company's new Crusoe processors will power traditional laptop computers as well as a new generation of portable Internet computers.

The company is touting the chips' low power consumption and ability to run common software applications. The chips, however, will not be targeted at Palm devices or cell phones.

The chips will begin shipping later this year.

Read news comment about Transmeta and the Crusoe chip at AnchorDesk

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