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Transmeta wins Sharp support

All major Japanese notebook players now offering Crusoe kit

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Sharp yesterday said its latest notebook for the Japanese market, the Mebius PC-SX1-H1, will be powered by a Transmeta Crusoe CPU and ship at the end of June.

As Transmeta was quick to point out, the Sharp deal mean that Crusoe is now supported by all the major Japanese notebook vendors. It won Toshiba over earlier this month.

The trouble is, Japan is pretty much the only territory where Transmeta has a real presence. True, Sony has shipped a Crusoe-based machine into the US and Europe - the Vaio PictureBook - and announced earlier this week that an upgraded version of that product will also ship outside Japan. However, the sub-notebook PC, the main application for Transmeta's chips, remains a Japanese phenomenon.

Transmeta is acutely aware of this, which is why it tossed in a Gartner-derived statistic for the Japanese and Asia-Pacific market: almost as many mobile PCs shipped there during Q4 2000 as were sold in the US, apparently.

In other words, the chip designer is saying, our sales to Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and co. are just as important as sales to Compaq, Dell, IBM, etc.

We're not sure Gartner's numbers really do support that claim. After all, plenty of Intel and AMD systems ship into the Far Eastern markets, and in this business global presence is what really matters.

Still, it's a start, and as the Sony announcement shows, there is potential for Transmeta's products to migrate to other territories. It's also worth remembering that Transmeta has only been doing this for a year or so. ®

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