Time and Zupera Are on Transmeta’s Side

Low-power semiconductor maker Transmeta Thursday said it has been selected to supply chips for yet another batch of Chinese and U.K.-based Tablet PC makers.

On one side of the pond it’s Time Computers with its new US$1,450 Time Tablet PC. The three-pound device can be used as an alternative to a standard notebook.

The mobile device runs Microsoft WindowsXP Tablet Edition software over a 933 MHz Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 processor. The new Tablet PC also comes with a 10.4″ TFT XGA 16-bit color display with 256MB DDR memory (expandable to 512MB SDRAM), 20GB HDD, 8MB NB graphics, AC97 built-in speaker/microphone, and a BT connection via USB/PC-Card.

For accessibility, the new Tablet includes a built-in IrDA, V92 56K modem, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b WLAN GSM, GPRS, PHS, CDMA, as well as a WCDMA connection via PC-Card.

The touch screen recognizes a built-in library of hand movements, allowing users to write or sketch as they would using a pen and paper. Parent organization TIME Group Ltd is currently offering it as an educational tool but plans on selling the new Tablet PC to corporate and consumer markets in the United Kingdom, through its 150 retail stores called The Computer World.

Over in Asia, China’s Zupera Technology said it is about to launch its new Tablet PC in the Canadian market. The new neXP Tablet PC uses Transmeta 667 MHz and 800 MHz Crusoe processors. The device supports a 8.4-inch XGA TFT touch screen and weighs 980 grams with a case that also acts as a heat-sink. The company said it was on track to introduce the neXP Tablet PC later this month, but did not reveal what the Canadian price would be.

The devices have primarily been marketed to the enterprise with a price point starting at $2,000. That should be a sticking point with IT managers with limited budgets, however, analysts have been noticing some pickup overseas.

“Our initial expectations for the adoption of Tablet PCs in Europe were moderate, which is common for most new computing platforms,” said Jeremy Davies, senior analyst at Context of London, which has tracked the European IT industry since 1983. “However, our initial survey findings show a positive trend for Tablet PCs to become mainstream earlier than expected.”

The analyst group says sales of portable devices in Europe are growing four times as fast as the total PC market.

This is the second U.K.-based vendor to ship Transmeta chips in its Tablet PCs. Last month the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said its 933 MHz Crusoe had been selected by Viglen for its eXaro Tablet PC.

Transmeta also is gaining a foothold in China with recently announced deals to supply China’s second largest notebook maker, Tsinghua Unisplendour Group’ “Lilly” notebook with Crusoe chips.

But the company’s marquee chip-to-Tablet relationship remains its supply deal with Hewlett-Packard for Compaq Evo Tablet PCs.

Transmeta is also developing its next-generation processor — TM8000 or Astro — for use in a gamut of devices ranging from ultra-light notebooks to high-density blade servers.

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