Chip maker Transmeta says Europe is now ready for its low-power-consuming chips as it prepares to launch its latest processor, but analysts are less optimistic.
The US company claims its chips are lighter, smaller, generate less heat and use less battery power than similar ones from Intel and AMD. It has achieved a degree of success with its low-power chips in Japan, where a number of manufacturers have included them in laptop computers.
But despite a recent major boost from Hewlett Packard (HP) - which decided earlier this year to use the company's debut chip, Crusoe, to power its new Tablet PCs - Transmeta is yet to make any inroads into the European PC market.
This is about to change, the company claims, with the launch of its next chip, the Astro - or Transmeta 8000 - due next year.
Chris Russell, European sales manager at Transmeta, told vnunet.com: "Our first product was more successful in Japan, where people want smaller machines.
"Europe has traditionally been the leader in mobile phone adoption, and that was where the portability was required, but the market is changing in Europe now."
Russell said the new chip would be aimed at the sub-notebook market, but that it could also be used in slightly larger machines.
"We also have an interest in the eco-notebook market, where people are looking for real low power and slim LCD displays," he said.
Because the new chip will issue eight instructions per clock cycle instead of the four issued by the current chip, the processor will reduce power consumption and increase battery life.
Despite Transmeta's optimism, however, industry analysts are unconvinced.
"I wouldn't say this was a big announcement for Europe. For Transmeta to get market share and improve their position in the market, they need design wins.
"They also need to ensure they don't have the delays they have had with previous products," Annette Jump, analyst at Gartner, told vnunet.com.
"Despite the win with HP, we predict they will only have one per cent of the total notebook market next year.
They need wins in the corporate market and they face difficult competition, especially with Intel's next mobile chip Banias," she added.
A new processor launch takes time, and even AMD has tried hard for a long time to get into the corporate arena, said Jump.
"If AMD have struggled then it will be even harder for Transmeta. It's good that they got into HP, it will be interesting to see how they do, but it is too early to say if HP will adopt the new chip," she added.
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