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Web Pads, IAs and Transmeta's shifting focus

Web Pads, IAs and Transmeta's shifting focus - PCSTATS
Abstract: Just over a year ago when Transmeta first broke the news about the very sleek software powered processor named Crusoe it was clear where the Santa Clara companies' focus was.
Filed under: Editorial Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Transmeta Feb 19 2001   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Editorial > Transmeta

Web Pads, IAs and Transmeta's shifting focus


Anyone who's has been watching Transmeta lately may have noticed a significant shift in their interests. Just over a year ago when Transmeta first broke the news about the very sleek software powered processor named Crusoe it was clear where the Santa Clara companies' focus was. Web Pads, Internet Appliances and the like.

Indeed a host of prototype webpads were showcased at that event, in conjunction with Mobile Linux, Transmeta's own special blend of Linux. The duo was thought to be unstoppable - an ultra-efficient processor, and an ultra-light operating system -what more could anyone ask for?

Fast forward a year and you'll notice that not one WebPad has made it to mass market with a Crusoe inside. Instead a host of sub-notebooks have been popping up on an almost monthly basis, and now even Transmeta Crusoe-based servers are set to hit the retail market. So what's happening to the WebPad's?

Apparently not much. In response to this posture within the industry, Transmeta seems to quietly be moving its' focus towards the notebook market. One of the main reasons is the simple cost of building a webpad. The cost of components and the infrastructure is just too high right now to make the webpad market viable on a consumer level. Consumers tend to demand the most amount of features they can get for their money as a rule. However most of the webpads proposed for the retail market simply lack the features necessary to build strong consumer loyalty or even demand.

After all who would want to buy a product that only allows you to surf the web and send email, but still costs a pretty penny? Is the preemptive demise of the WebPad a simple case of lacking feature sets?

Well, almost... What the mobile industry has done is refocus the webpad towards satisfying the needs of the vertical markets. In this arena the apparent lack of features from a consumer standpoint are no longer restrictive, but positive variables.

For instance, while a home user would feel restricted using a webpad that only gave them limited functionality (and at a cost comparable to a mid-level desktop) a vertical manufacturer morphing that same unit into a digital data pad for a hospital or museum would be right on target. That is apparently how Transmeta sees it right now.

The down side is that a product destined for the vertical markets will never be able to meet the same level of demand as a unit destined for the mass retail market. A VAR product may move 30,000 Crusoe processors, but a product heading into eager consumer hands may move thirty million.

That is exactly why the focus for Crusoe is shifting towards the Windows-based notebook market. Considering the recent developments with heavyweights Dell and Compaq, the over-saturated desktop market seems just about ready to burst, leaving the venerable notebook market ripe for the taking.... that is of course if Crusoe-based notebooks can penetrate the North American market enough to make it to store shelves.


 

Contents of Article: Transmeta

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