Transmeta teams with Epson on lower-power Crusoe chips

Seiko Epson and Transmeta plan to cooperate on the development of energy-saving semiconductor technology related to Transmeta's low-power Crusoe microprocessors, the companies announced Thursday.

Under the agreement, Epson will share some of its patents and patent rights relating to microprocessor technology with Transmeta. The two companies also agreed to share energy-saving technologies in a bid to develop peripheral chipsets and other devices for Crusoe microprocessors, according to a joint statement.

Epson's semiconductor business is focused on developing energy-saving semiconductor products specifically for mobile information equipment, the statement said.

The plans currently cover the basics of an agreement between the two companies, said Kenji Hinata, an Epson spokesman. He declined to comment on financial aspects of the agreement.

"We have assigned to Transmeta a part of the patents relating our energy-saving technology, but we cannot comment on the details of which technology," Hinata said, adding that Epson will not be involved in the development of the Crusoe microprocessor.

"It is not about the development of Crusoe itself, but we (Epson) will collaborate with the development of Crusoe-related semiconductors. Within Crusoe's roadmap, the company will cooperate in developing peripheral chipsets and other devices for Crusoe," Hinata said.

Epson and Transmeta also plan to collaborate in other areas, including developing Internet appliances and semiconductor products for mobile devices, the statement said.

"We don't have a specific product that we plan to target," Hinata said.

On Thursday, Transmeta reiterated lowered revenue expectations based on market weakness in Japan, a day after the company said it expected revenue to decrease between 40 and 45 percent for its second quarter. The decreased expectations were issued because of a combination of cancelled orders, as well as cancelled shipments.

"It is true that the market is currently in the midst of a difficult economic downturn but we are hoping, as a mid-term trend, that mobile devices such as PDAs (personal digital assistants) and mobile PCs will lead the market and activate the economy within two to three years," Hinata said.

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