Toy Box: Crusoe devices a breed apart

The Crusoe chip is manufactured by Transmeta, the company co-founded by Linux developer Linus Torvalds and funded in part by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to develop low-power, high-performance mobile chipsets.

If you’ve been in a box in the back of a cave halfway up a mountain for the past couple of years, you won’t have heard of the Crusoe chip. But then, even if you’ve emerged from the cardboard from time to time, chances are you’ve not actually come across one of these beasts in the real world.

The Crusoe chip is manufactured by Transmeta, the company co-founded by Linux developer Linus Torvalds and funded in part by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to develop low-power, high-performance mobile chipsets.

HP will sell a Compaq Evo Tablet PC with 1GHz Crusoe at the end of the year, but in the meantime Sony has released the Crusoe-powered sub-notebook, the Vaio C1. It sports a 20GB hard drive and built-in camera and still weighs under 1kg. For a fraction under $5000 (including GST) you can have one of these street-smart beauties, which are all the rage in Japan where sub-notebooks are more popular than their larger western cousins.

Low-power, high-performance mobiles? Looking at this puppy, I’d say they’ve succeeded.

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