Transmeta Tapped for UK Tablet PC

Low-power semiconductor maker Transmeta Wednesday said it has been selected to supply chips for yet another Tablet PC.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said its 933 MHz Crusoe TM5800 processor has been selected by Viglen for its eXaro Tablet PC, which is debuting today in the United Kingdom.

The mobile device carries Microsoft WindowsXP Tablet Edition software; a 10.4″ electrostatic touch screen; 20GB hard drive; 256MB DDR SDRAM; 8MB graphics; AC’97 audio; 10/100 Ethernet adapter; 802.11b wireless network adapter; V.92 56kbps modem; and on-board ports for Ethernet, modem, infra-red, 2x USB, IEEE1394.

The eXaro also comes with FireWire, mini VGA, docking station, headphones and a microphone. The Tablet PC is retailing for approximately USD$1,459.

Viglen, which was founded in 1975 and is part of Learning Technology PLC, is one of the largest direct PC manufacturers in the United Kingdom. The company provides information technology hardware, software and technical support to two-thirds of Britain’s universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

This is the second major vendor to adopt Transmeta chips for its Tablet PC offerings. Last summer, the company began supplying Hewlett-Packard with its 1GHz Crusoe TM5800 chips for Compaq Evo Tablet PCs. Fujitsu and Acer are two other main players in this space, but use other chips.

In general, Tablet PCs are Windows-based computers with touch screens and features that work like laptop PCs or PDAs. Users can also input and manipulate data using a stylus. The devices have primarily been marketed to the enterprise with a price point starting at $2,000.

So far, Transmeta is focused on selling its Crusoe and next generation Astro processor as energy efficient chips for high performance computers. In addition to an established mobile market business supplying major notebook and Tablet PC makers, Transmeta recently announced its Crusoe Special Embedded (SE) processors to push into emerging x86-compatible embedded applications.

And while the industry has been slow to adopt the Tablet PC, Transmeta says it is confident it is on the right track.

“We believe Tablet PCs will continue to grow in popularity in Europe and other regions of the world as the next step in notebook computing,” said Transmeta president and CEO Dr. Matthew Perry.

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