Crusoe-based tablet PC to enter mass production

Crusoe-based tablet PC to enter mass production

Taiwan's First International Computer (FIC) is on the verge of beginning mass production of a tablet PC based on Transmeta's Crusoe microprocessor, more than a year after first unveiling samples of the device.

The AquaPad tablet PC is based on a Crusoe 5400 processor running at 500MHz and will be available in two versions -- one running Microsoft's Windows CE and one running the Midori Linux operating system, said Allen Chen, a sales account manager for FIC speaking at the World PC Expo exhibition, which is currently running just outside of Tokyo.

"We will start mass production this month," said Chen. Samples of the device should be available towards the end of the month with a Japanese language version available one month later, he added.

The company won't be selling the AquaPad direct but supplying it as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) product to larger vendors. Chen said talks are currently underway with Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric, Sotec, Compaq Computer and Hewlett-Packard, but no deals have been signed. When the AquaPad does go on sale, he estimates the street price will be around $US599. "We are aiming for a price somewhere between a PDA and notebook computer," he added.

Other specifications of the machine include 128MB of memory, an 8.4-inch colour TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) touch panel with SVGA (800 x 600 pixel) resolution, 2 USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, a PC Card slot, Compact Flash slot and infrared port. The computer weighs 1 kilogram and measures 275 x 168 x 27 millimetres.

The battery life of the machine is between 2.5 and 3 hours when in use and as long as 24 hours in standby mode, Chen said.

The computer was first unveiled as an engineering sample at the Computex 2000 show in Taipei last year. Since then, the machine has been given a faster processor, more memory and a larger screen but has also got a little larger and heavier.

FIC is one of a number of Taiwanese companies that have invested in Transmeta.

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