Sharp Shows First Efficeon Notebook

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Sharp has become the first personal computer maker to announce a machine based on Transmeta's new Efficeon processor, the companies said Tuesday.

The Sharp Mebius Muramasa PC-MM2-5NE will go on sale in Japan on January 2 and is expected to be priced around $1675, says Miyuki Nakayama, a spokesperson for Sharp in Tokyo.

The machine is based on the Efficeon TM8600, which runs at a 1-GHz clock speed. It also features a 10.4-inch XGA resolution LCD, 256MB of memory and a 20GB hard drive. ATI Technologies' Mobility Radeon graphics accelerator and IEEE802.11b/g wireless LAN are also built in.

Battery life is between 3.5 hours and 11 hours, depending on the choice of battery pack, according to figures from Sharp.

Like other machines in the Muramasa range, which is called Actius MM overseas, the new Efficeon notebook is both light and thin. The notebook weighs slightly over 2 pounds and the thickness ranges from .6 inches to .8 inches. Length and width are 9.9 inches and 8.1 inches respectively.

Sharp does not have any plans to sell the machine overseas, Nakayama says.

Overseas Sales

That the first announcement of an Efficeon-based PC is from Asia should come as no surprise. Asian PC makers are Transmeta's best customers and orders from three companies in the region accounted for 64 percent of the company's net revenue in the first nine months of its current fiscal year, according to its latest filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Prominent customers for its Crusoe processor have included Fujitsu, Sony, NEC, Toshiba, and Casio Computer, in addition to Sharp.

Transmeta also manufactures the Efficeon processor in Asia. The first-generation models are being produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing on a 0.13 micron (130 nanometer) production line. Transmeta has lined up Japan's Fujitsu to produce the second-generation Efficeon on its 90 nanometer line. That chip is expected sometime in 2004.

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