Sony debuts Crusoe chip in VAIO

Sony has released the first notebook to be powered by Transmeta's Crusoe chip on the Australian market.

The company has announced the availability of its newest VAIO notebook, the PictureBook C1VM, which features a 600MHz Crusoe processor. Sony claims the new low-power chip will nearly double the battery life of its new portable offering.

"We chose Transmeta because we are able to run the processor more efficiently -- it runs cooler and the battery life of the notebook is essentially doubled," said Sony Australia's VAIO Project Team Leader, Daniel Horan. "It varies on what you are doing, but generally speaking, the battery will last up to five hours, whereas it is normally two and half hours."

The notebook, which will retail for $3799, also features a built-in progressive-scan CCD camera, a 12GB hard drive, 128MB SDRAM and a Sony Memory Stick Direct slot.

"Compared to the previous version, which retailed for $4099 and with the currency conversion, it is pretty amazing," Horan said.

The VAIO has enjoyed strong sales since July, according to Sony. The company cleared its stock on October 4 with the channel winding down sales since. The company is shipping three more updated VAIO models -- the PCG 250GA, the XE17 and the F670. Each will ship with improvements in CPU speeds and memory and will retail for $4,899, $6199 and $3599 respectively. All new models will run on Microsoft's Windows ME operating system.

The key to Transmeta's chip is the software that sits over the processor and determines what speed the notebook runs at depending upon the application. The Crusoe is designed specifically for mobile applications and Sony has included software which allows the user to monitor the speed at which the CPU runs.

The new notebook also comes bundled with a full range of digital editing software.

"We want to create new markets, so the main focus of the VAIO concept is to bring together the AV and IT world - that word convergence that everyone has talked about but until now no one has delivered," Horan said.

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