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AMD to re-badge Transmeta CPUs

Efficeon to oust Geode?

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Computex 2006 AMD has decided it's more effective to offer Transmeta's Efficeon x86-compatible processor in emerging markets than one of its own - at least as far as chips that support Microsoft's developing-world PC rental scheme go.

Transmeta announced a version of its Efficeon chip that supports Microsoft's FlexGo programme last month. AMD will now market this processor as the AMD Efficeon, offering the part through its 50x15 initiative - a scheme to get half of the world's population on the internet by 2015.

AMD's own 50x15 efforts to date have centred on the provision of a rugged desktop PC, dubbed the Personal Internet Communicator (PIC) and based on the Geode GX x86-compatible chip AMD acquired from National Semiconductor some years ago. The programme is broader than the PIC, but clearly AMD reckons it's more cost-effective to offer chips based on Transmeta's FlexGo-ready technology than build FlexGo support into its own CPUs.

FlexGo equips PC suppliers with a software and hardware framework to support pre-pay and subscription computer usage models based on the way mobile phones are offered around the world. Instead of buying a machine outright, users can "borrow" the PC and buy processing time through pre-pay cards or a monthly subscription. The idea is to lower the cost of PC ownership and get more of the developing world and customers in emerging markets online.

At this stage, it's unclear whether AMD will fab its Efficeons or source them through Transmeta or a third-party. Transmeta no longer sells CPUs in its own right having opted to focus on technology licensing a couple of years ago. ®

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