Transmeta talks 256-bit Crusoe

And a speed bump-up for today's morphers...

Skirting around recent corporate setbacks - IBM and Compaq (?) - Transmeta says it will bump up both hardware and software for its Crusoe processors next year. A morphing upgrade to the current Crusoes will offer 20 per cent performance or efficiency improvements - OEMs can choose either, and it's a flashable software upgrade. Transmeta will build 128 VLIW Crusoes next year and 256 bit successors in 2002, marketing Veep Ed McKernan told us.

The Transmeta PCs on show at Comdex confirmed that the Japanese are leading with designs that optimise around battery life, in contrast to the more conservative Asian assemblers. Hitachi's thin Flora uses a li-poly battery in the lid, rather the base of the unit, an approach mirrored by Casio. The latter offers a choice of two removable batteries, with the ten hour option protruding by about an inch. With the battery in the screen half of the PC, the base can be reduced to less than an inch thickness, and the designers have moved the ports from the rear to the side of the units.

Performance wise, there's a slight stickiness when some apps are run for the first time, but it's almost negligible.

So, ten hours for 3lbs? if you're outside Japan, not immediately. Only Casio said it would definitely launch such a device into North America, aiming for Q1 next year. Both Hitachi and NEC told us they regarded the Japanese models as market test products, and wouldn't commit to a US launch. ®