SAN FRANCISCO (05/30/2000) - Upstart processor vendor Transmeta Corp. announced Tuesday that Gateway 2000 Inc. will use its Crusoe chips and the Mobile Linux operating system in forthcoming Internet appliances that the hardware vendor is developing with America Online Inc.
Gateway and AOL will use the Crusoe processors and Mobile Linux in appliances aimed at providing consumers with easy access to the Internet, Transmeta says.
The first of three Gateway/AOL Net appliances is scheduled to ship late this year, says John Spelich, a Gateway spokesperson. First Gateway will introduce a small kitchen "countertop appliance" with a flat-panel LCD touch-screen monitor.
"These devices are not designed to replace the PC," Spelich says. But he adds that Gateway anticipates that, in time, Internet appliances will be more popular than PCs.
Early in 2001 Gateway plans to release a second wireless Web pad appliance optimized for the delivery of AOL "entertainment".
Gateway says it is undecided whether the Transmeta processor and the Linux operating system will power a third "desktop appliance".
AOL's contribution will primarily be its "Instant AOL" service, a customized version of AOL's software featuring bread-and-butter AOL content and tools such as e-mail, AOL's My Calendar, and news. The content will also include access to recipes, coupons, and grocery lists.
AOL says the appliances will utilize Gecko--Netscape's smaller, faster, and more potent browser engine technology. The companies originally unveiled the joint effort at the Internet World trade show in April.
A Big Deal for Transmeta
Transmeta, which has no manufacturing facilities of its own, has yet to ship Crusoe processors in volume, although Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing earlier this month said it was ready to start volume production of the chips whenever Transmeta gives the word.
AOL and Gateway were among a group of investors that injected $88 million into the formerly secretive chip developer in April.
Three major Taiwan-based contract manufacturers of notebook PCs were also among the investors. One of them, First International Computer Inc., quietly showed off a prototype of a notebook powered by a Crusoe processor at the CeBIT trade show held in Hanover, Germany, in February.