Transmeta Corporation ended four and a half years of secrecy with the introduction of CrusoeTM , the world's first family of smart microprocessors. Designed to create a new category of Mobile Internet Computers, the Crusoe processor family (www.crusoe.com) is based on a breakthrough software approach that will revolutionize the field of mobile computing. Crusoe delivers on the market's need for "all day computing" with a PC compatible solution that is unmatched in performance with low power.
The Mobile Internet Computing Market
The evolving class of Mobile Internet Computers includes a rich set of products that spans from Web pads to ultra-light (less than four pound) Mobile PCs that share the common need of x86 software compatibility and long battery life. It represents a significant shift from today's mostly stationary laptops or incompatible handheld devices to a platform that offers greater mobility and access to the Web from most anywhere at anytime.
Ultra-light Mobile PCs operating with the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office applications can take advantage of the Crusoe processor's low power to increase the average user's productivity by operating on a single battery for up to a full work day.
Crusoe-based Internet devices such as Web pads and mobile clients can take advantage of the Mobile Linux operating system to create a robust yet economical machine that can handle all the required Internet plug-in applications. Mobile Linux offers an additional advantage in that it is an operating system that can be stored in solid state Flash ROM thus removing the need for an expensive hard disk drive.
"Cellular phones became more pervasive when they were made smaller and provided greater battery life," said Dave Ditzel, Transmeta's CEO. "We believe that Crusoe will bring about a change of similar magnitude in Mobile Internet Computers."
Commenting on the current state of the mobile market, analyst Martin Reynolds of the market research firm Dataquest, concurs with the need for a new mobile processor. "When people build mobile computers today, they use what's basically a desktop processor in a different package," he said. "There's definitely room for a fresh approach."
"Our customers are telling us that significant battery life improvement is the most requested feature by a margin of two to one. That's why Crusoe's low power is so important," said Transmeta's Jim Chapman, vice president of sales and marketing. "The current mobile market needs to evolve from today's heavier (six to ten pound) laptops to lighter weight, high performance mobile PCs. Crusoe will help propel that change."
Re-thinking the Microprocessor
In a radical departure from traditional microprocessor design, Transmeta made innovative use of software to implement many functions that had previously been implemented in hardware. This approach gives Crusoe both the high performance and low power required for today's demanding mobile computing environment.
The key to Crusoe's unique architecture is its Code MorphingTM software. Code Morphing software surrounds a simple Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW) silicon engine to deliver a fully PC compatible processor. It is this software that provides the compatibility by "morphing" (i.e. translating x86 instructions) to the underlying hardware engine.
Crusoe is a smart processor that "learns" about an application while it runs and uses that experience to greatly extend battery life. Using a new Transmeta invention called LongRunTM power management, Crusoe continuously adjusts its operating speed and voltage to exactly match the needs of the application workload. LongRun can make adjustments hundreds of times per second, which can dramatically extend battery life. This is in contrast to other processors that run at a fixed operating speed on batteries, needlessly wasting battery life.
LongRun also provides a solution for today's strenuous multimedia applications that typically drain an ultra-light PC's battery in as little as an hour. With LongRun, it is possible to design a light-weight mobile PC that plays a DVD movie for three hours or more.
"We rethought the microprocessor from the ground-up," said Ditzel. "Crusoe is the first processor to deliver all three of the key requirements for Mobile Internet Computing: low power, high performance and full PC compatibility. Now manufacturers have the ideal solution for true mobility."
The Crusoe Product Family
The Crusoe processor family consists of two solutions, the TM5400 and the TM3120, for the Mobile Internet Computing market.
The model TM5400 is targeted at ultra-light mobile PCs running Microsoft Windows and NT operating systems. These PCs will take advantage of the TM5400's high performance (up to 700MHz) and LongRun power management to create the longest running mobile PCs for office applications, multimedia games and DVD movies.
The TM3120, operating at up to 400MHz, is designed for economical Web pads and mobile clients. With the Crusoe processor and the Mobile Linux operating system, users can expect a complete Internet experience, including access to the full range of plug-in applications. Transmeta provides Mobile Linux assistance to OEMs looking to accelerate their time to market with new mobile Internet devices.