Hardware specialist Via is working with Transmeta to develop a range of wearable computers based on the low-power Crusoe processor.
Ed McConaghay, president of Via, said the company had evaluated other processors, but chose Crusoe because of its low-power and low-heat features which are ideal for mobile devices.
"The Crusoe's unique ability to use software to adjust voltage and frequency on demand means the computer uses only the [minimum] amount of power needed for maximum efficiency," he said.
The company's next-generation wearable computers will incorporate the 700Mhz Crusoe chip and will run Microsoft Windows 2000. The systems will be designed to work with Via's Super VGA portable display. Testing will be completed by the end of the year and general availability is planned for the end of the first quarter of 2001.
The computers are currently being piloted by the US Military Police in Louisiana. Officers are testing for streaming video, face recognition, mapping settings and voice translation.
Meanwhile, chip rival Intel has released 733Mhz and 766Mhz Celeron processors in its latest assault on the budget processor market. "These will be the seventh and eighth Celeron products introduced this year," said Jeff McCrea, director of Intel's desktop products group. PCs containing the chips are likely to come out within the next 30 days, he added.
Despite the release of Duron by AMD, compatible motherboard shortages mean Intel still has over 95 per cent of the sub-$1000 retail market, according to Steve Baker, an analyst at PC Data. "If you wanted something under $1000, it has pretty much been from Celeron," he said.
McCrea said an improved version of the Celeron processor should be available in the first half of 2001.
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