Transmeta Corporation was an American company that was founded as a processor developers, especially for notebook processors. Once this business model had failed to Transmeta was limited to the trading of licenses for technologies that have been developed in the context of their own processors. This was mainly limited to LongRun2. Following the acquisition by the company Novafora the business of Transmeta ended with the collapse of the parent company in June 2009.
Transmeta was founded in March 1995 with the aim to develop as energy-saving and yet fast CPUs. With the Crusoe processor, the first was presented on 19 January 2000. As a result, but the company had big problems finding notebook manufacturers who wanted to obstruct the Crusoe CPUs. Also, performance or power consumption of the CPU did not reach the expected distance to the competition. Not even the faster Crusoe models did not change anything.
Also presented in August 2003 Efficeon, which also took a very long time until the availability, the situation could not save. Transmeta got more and more financial problems and early 2005 came the first rumors that Transmeta is terminated, the CPU manufacture or taken over by a competitor.
On 1 April 2005, Transmeta announced officially that it plans to focus in the future on the development of pioneering technologies such as LongRun! 2 and would like to achieve with the sale of such licenses profit. The production of Crusoe and the 130 nm Efficeon is set, the 90 - nm Efficeon but will continue to be produced.
On May 31, 2005, the sale of Crusoe CPUs to the Hong Kong-based company Culturecom ( Culture.com Technology Limited ), which has been developed together with the IBM PowerPC -compatible V -Dragon- processor was announced. In addition, the company was granted a license for the production and sale of Efficeon CPUs. Because of the numerous editions of the U.S. authorities, which they could not meet in a sufficiently short time, the agreement was terminated, however, and again it came no business.
On 6 June 2006, a contract for the distribution of Efficeon processors by AMD was concluded with AMD.
On 7 July 2007, AMD announced to invest 7.5 million dollars in Transmeta. Only two days ago it was announced that NEC Transmeta LongRun2 licensed for NEC smartphone processors M2.
7 August 2008 then gave Nvidia is planning to acquire the non-exclusive rights to LongRun and LongRun2 for 25 million U.S. dollars.
On 17 November 2008 Transmeta signed an acquisition agreement with the San Diego-based company Novafora. Novafora, manufacturer of video processors, Transmeta should buy at a price of 255.6 million U.S. dollars. The acquisition was completed on 28 January 2009.
On February 4, 2009, the Company Intellectual Venture Funding LLC took over the complete patent portfolio of Transmeta.
In July 2009, the company Novafora ceased its business. Former employees of the company Transmeta were taken from NVIDIA.
Last offered Transmeta interested companies especially the licensing of LongRun2 technology. Among the licensees to date includes the Japanese company NEC, Fujitsu, Sony and Toshiba, as well as Nvidia.
The most famous product of Transmeta but is probably still the Crusoe, a power-efficient x86 processor, which was mainly used in PDAs and subnotebooks. In August 2003, appeared last Transmeta processor Efficeon.
In Transmeta worked sizes like Dave Ditzel, Linus Torvalds and Dave D. Taylor ( Torvalds left Transmeta in June 2003, to devote himself full time to the development of the Linux kernel).
The technology behind the company's processors is quite interesting, even if the end product fell short in terms of performance expectations. To run x86 code, a software translator needs to be loaded, which then translates x86 code into instructions for the Transmeta processor. Similar approaches were made at in the early 1990s, ( WABI for Sun SPARC, FX 32 for Alpha ), but Transmeta set the bar for the compatibility of very high: each x86 instruction from the first boot process until the last multimedia instruction works and remains the largest part of the original performance.
Transmeta's approach offers many technical advantages:
- If the leader AMD or Intel extend the x86 instruction set, Transmeta must only update the software, rather than hardware redesign.
- If errors in the simulated hardware are discovered, they can be eliminated by a software update.
- Because the processor does not execute the X86 instructions in hardware, does not need to be paid to backward compatibility. Instead, the developer can improve the capabilities of the processor or optimize energy consumption.
- Due to the principle of the processor could emulate other architectures, possibly even at the same time.
These skills may be an explanation for widespread before the Crusoe - release rumors that said that Transmeta develop a PowerPC/x86-Hybriden what they would have to do. In the end it was then but "only" to an extremely low-power x86 processor out.
- Crusoe TM3200 ( TM3120 earlier )
- Efficeon TM8300