Phoenix offers BIOS for Transmeta systems

Phoenix Technologies announced today that its BIOS software is being used to build reference designs for mobile computers based on Transmeta's Crusoe family of processors.

The BIOS (basic input/output system) is a software program used by a PC's microprocessor to get a computer started when it is first switched on. The BIOS also contains code needed to control attached devices like the hard disk, display screen and keyboard.

Phoenix worked in secret with Transmeta for more than two years to prepare its PhoenixBIOS software for use with Transmeta's chips, the company said in a release issued today. Transmeta created a buzz of expectancy by keeping a tight lid on its plans before launching its first two mobile processors last week.

One of Transmeta's processors is designed for very lightweight mobile PCs running Windows operating systems; the other is for low-cost mobile Internet appliances running a mobile version of the Linux OS. Transmeta said at the time that it has developed a new way of designing computer chips that can improve battery life and cost less to design and produce.

Phoenix's BIOS software, meanwhile, is used in more than 70 million PCs sold annually, as well as in embedded systems and information appliances, Phoenix said. The company has about 600 customers worldwide for the product.

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