Transmeta Tabs TM8000 Chip Efficeon

Chip manufacturer Transmeta announced on Tuesday the new name for its TM8000 microprocessor: Efficeon.

The new moniker — pronounced EE-fish-eon — replaces the chip’s code name, Astro, and is designed to emphasize its efficient use of power and heat, at a low cost and without a performance loss. Transmeta hopes the combination makes Efficeon ideal for flexible and portable computing devices like tablet PCs, handheld computers, and silent desktop systems.

“This is a major milestone for us, this is a next-generation product for us,” said Michael DeNeffe, director of marketing at Transmeta “We want to be leader of efficient computing.”

Transmeta has worked on Efficeon for the past year, promising a 1GHz, 0.13-micron process processor for use in laptops with 12- and 14-inch displays. In the first six months of the year, the chipmaker spent most of its $24.6 million research and development budget on the new chip. The company expects Efficeon will find its way into everything from laptop computers to servers to ultra personal computers.

DeNeffe said Transmeta planned a broad-based marketing push for Efficeon toward the end of the year, when product partners will begin to roll out products containing the chip. No manufacturing partners have been announced, but Transmeta has ties with HP, Sony and Toshiba for other chips. DeNeffe said the co-marketing activities would be flexible, with the ultimate goal of pushing Efficeon as the hallmark of a product in a new category: efficient computing.

DeNeffe said the new name was the first step. Transmeta developed the Efficeon name internally, after six to eight months of publicly talking about the chip and its key attributes. Through that emerged the mantra that of efficiency.

Transmeta will focus its message on two audiences: corporate IT buyers and consumers already using Transmeta products, like its Crusoe chip, and a new class of customer looking for efficient computing options.

The official debut of Efficeon is currently slated for September, after the company earlier planned a July release.

DeNeffe said the marketing campaign would need to be a lot more focused than that of Transmeta’s biggest foe, Intel, which launched a massive $300 million marketing blitz in support of its Centrino chipset in March.

“We don’t have the $358 million war chest to claim we invented wireless computing,” he said. “We need to be very targeted and realistic.”

DeNeffe said any marketing initiative would likely include some sort of signage indicating a device carried Efficeon, much like the “Intel Inside” branding that helped it become synonymous with powerful computing

Transmeta has yet to name Efficeon partners, but it has said one major manufacturer has already signed up. The company’s most important supply relationship is with HP, which includes Transmeta’s Crusoe processor in its Evo Tablet PC.

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