Transmeta at Rockefeller Center - PCExpo 2002
The weather was hot and
humid (like the back of a Pentium 4 laptop!) on June 26th at Transmeta's
event in the Sea Grill Restaurant at Rockefeller Center in New York
City during PCexpo 2002. A few dozen media, analysts, investors and industry folk browsed through
a veritable crop of ultra-portable notebooks, tablet PC's, and other Crusoe-based devices as a calypso band played on. For
gadget folk, it was pure valhalla...
Martini's in one hand, and a fully-charged digital camera in the other, I set out to capture as much of the event
as posible. There were perhaps 25 products on display ranging from the the
newest and coolest (pun intended) Crusoe based computers, to the incredibly popular Sony VAIO PCG-U1 which
has completely sold out in Japan.
plenty of technology to see
except for one very noticeable exception - the HP Compaq Evo tablet PC
which is based on the 1GHz Crusoe TM5800. We have since learned a few more
interesting tid-bits which were not included in the press release, and which might explain why the Compaq Evo
tablet PC is being held under tight raps. I'd bet that the mock-up computer
images which were released on HP's website don't tell the whole story, and in
fact, probably hide one very major aspect of the device which may give it the
means to succeed en mass.
Other tablet PC's, like Paceblade's Pacebook with
its separate keyboard were on display of course. The Pacebook is one of the
few Crusoe-based Tablet PC's readily available on the market place, retailing
for about $2,000USD. Since most people find it difficult to be productive
while limited to stylus-input on a touch sensitive screen,
Paceblade have designed their Pacebook to work in tandem with an infrared keyboard.
Any successful tablet PC will have a difficult time with the masses unless its designers can find a way of marrying the portability of
the Tablet PC with some type of enclosed stowaway keyboard, or other
traditional human interface device. Lessons like this will not be lost on
manufacturers who can afford to invest in longterm R & D.
three main Crusoe-based products which grabbed the most attention at the
event. First and foremost was the OQO ultra personal computer. OQO, who wrote the book on
to build a website entirely in flash" have without a doubt the sexiest adaptation of a Crusoe
processor - even if the realization is still a few quarters
Next up is the newly announced official Transmeta reference
platform for developers, but we'll get to that in a second. Thirdly we
have the Gericom
Crusoe-based notebook. It may be true that Sony, Toshiba, Fujitsu, and NEC
have more pull with their subnotebooks,
but Gericon has one of the fastest growing European notebook distribution
The Gericom A2 notebook (based on
the IIyama NT310S
an 800MHz TM5800 Crusoe processor will be available by Q3:2002 for
somewhere in the range of $1300USD (est).
According to Michael DeNeffe, Director of Marketing
for PC Platforms at Transmeta, the company is pretty pleased with the
prospective markets Gericom will open up to portable Crusoe-based
A few other Crusoe based
devices caught our attention, so hold on for a moment before we
hit the notebooks. First up are
Gespac, a manufacturer of
embedded industrial computers. These are not the type of computer you will ever see in
CompUSA, but the type of fanless technology
which powers high-reliability medical, industrial and military
items. Comparable fanless platforms were limited to Pentium MMX processors
running at 166MHz, so the prospects for a 800MHz fanless Crusoe processor are
easy to see.
Crusoe based notebooks, subnotebooks, and ultra-sub-notebooks garnered the
most attention from attendees, and one of the newest and smallest was from
The Sony VAIO PCG-U1 is so small in size that to type on it
you only use your thumbs. From a western frame of mind the allure of a tiny
notebook is there, but many of us have been perplexed by that small keyboard.
Think of the U1 from a Japanese business persons perspective (the unit is 100%
sold out in Japan) as they sit for an hour or two on the high-speed train for
the daily commute. Squeezed up between other passengers there isn't much
room to type on a standard subnotebook.
The Sony U1 fills the need by enabling the commuter
wireless internet access while they speed off to work, and size
requirements where they don't need to jab elbows into Mr. A San on the left and
Mr. B San on the right.
|On display at the Transmeta event were the
|Tablet PC / Webpads:
OQO Ultra Personal
ComputerPaceblade PacebookFIC Crystal Tablet PCFIC Aqua PadAntelope MetaPadNEC Panerina Tablet PCTatung Tablet PC
||Notebooks:Sony VAIO C1Sony GT1Sony PCG-U1Toshiba LibrettoFujitsu P1000 LifebookTwinhead efio 1200 notebookTwinhead N222T notebookIiyama Avenue Music PCNEC Lavie ZGericom TM5800 (Iiyama NT310S notebook)
||Industrial / WebServers:Gespac PCISYS-59 cPCI Industrial ComputerNEC netbrainCharmed Tech Wearable PCViA Weaable PCRLX TM5800 Blade ServerTransmeta microATX Reference Motherboard