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Transmeta Hardware

Positive Reports From Transmeta 77

Posted by Hemos
from the spider-will-be-so-happy dept.
utopicillusion writes "The register reports : "More cash flowed into Transmeta in the second quarter than it spent, the company said late last week as a teaser for its upcoming results announcement." This is about after a month that CNN predicted that Transmeta was going under. "
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Positive Reports From Transmeta

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  • I'll Wait... (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by 10101001011 (744876)
    Until Netcraft confirms it...
    Give me a break, this is the first real Slashdot-ism that I've ever used outside of Soviet Russia...
    • by 10101001011 (744876) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:13AM (#13031823) Homepage
      I'm sorry, did I miss the memo?

      Is the whole Netcraft thing done now, too tired, overused? I sincerely appologize. Allow me to rectify my error.

      "In Soviet Russia, the profits Transmeta YOU!"

      No? That one is also too overused? Okay, how about: "Yeah but do they run Linu.." Pardon? They do? Oh...

      "Well I'd love to see a Beowolf cluster of these..." Now what? There are clusters of these. Damn, well...

      "Cowboy Neal is hot!" I fail to see how this sentence relates to Transmeta's profits, but know that it was through modding my post a troll that you drove me to it!
  • by X-Phile (176747) <tsoucy@NOspaM.nb.sympatico.ca> on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:03AM (#13031784) Homepage
    I'm not familiar with any new hardware that has Transmeta chips in them, and I don't remember hearing any big news about new partnerships. Where is the cash coming from? They promised a lot a long time ago, and they kind of stalled.
    • by morcheeba (260908) * on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:27AM (#13031875) Journal
      The Orion Multisystem [orionmulti.com] (96 processors under your desk) and the OQO [oqo.com] are recent examples. They are in some Sharp notebooks ... browse the list here [transmeta.com].
      • Funny thing is, aside from several hype-postings (like the slashdot article), i never seen any review/hands-on info about the orions...
        Did they even produce anything yet or is it still vapourware?
    • by m4dm4n (888871)
      FTFA: "Transmeta has been aggressively attempting to cut costs ever since it decided earlier this year to get out of the chip manufacturing business and focus instead on processor technologies it can license to other vendors."

      You're probably going to battle to find any chips with the name transmeta on next year. However, many other chips may contain licensed technologies in them that will be bringing revenue into transmeta.
    • The Sony Picturebooks used to have them I'm not sure if they still do. I think the Fuji clones did too.
  • by TheViciousOverWind (649139) <martin@siteloom.dk> on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:04AM (#13031787) Homepage
    I'd say it's a bit soon to come to the conclusion that the company is not going under, because of the result of 3 financial months.

    I'm not saying that the company IS going under, but it's pretty easy for a company to shuffle expenses off to the next quarter and make it seem like the current quarter is greater than it in fact really is - If we were talking about a complete fiscal year it would be more impressive.
  • CNN story sponserd (Score:1, Interesting)

    by FidelCatsro (861135)
    Perhaps that CNN story was sponsored by a competitor of transmeta .
    Or perhaps someone who was looking to scoop up the ashes .
    Rumouring the demise of a company that may be suffering , but not out for the count can tip the scales .
    Especially if the story comes from a source like CNN.
    Its good to know this did not happen as i was looking forward to a few of the advances Transmeta were developing
    • You wouldn't be hinting at some convergence of business, law, politics and media, would you?
      Fidel, Fidel, Fidel, the world is not Cuba; elsewhere, real freedoms exist, and people both think and vote critically for leadership featuring impeccable integrity.
      Oh, wait...
  • Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:09AM (#13031810)
    Is Slashdot's love for Transmeta borne purely from the fact that Linus Torvalds used to work for them? My understanding was that they had promised much in the way of low-power, cool-running processors for embedded applications, most of which have been surpassed by better offerings from other vendors. Why all the fuss?
    • Re:Question (Score:3, Informative)

      by interiot (50685)
      Um... I seem to remember something about efficient processor emulation via dynamic compiling and optimization of hotspots [wikipedia.org]?

      Low power would just be a nice side-effect that would allow the company to remain commercially viable (you got to bring home the bacon. And maybe the lovin'. And the lovin' bacon).

      The real benefit Transmeta brings is that after n years of financial viability and R&D research, they'd start selling CPU's and software that would allow you to change your CPU to emulate other popu

    • Answer: No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by samjam (256347) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:55AM (#13032008) Homepage Journal
      No, it's not.

      Slashdot's love for transmeta probably springs from the same reason that Linus went to work there:

      it was a real cool concept

      Along with many others, I was expecting to see a few more uses of code-morphing that x86 instruction execution, so I'm dissapointed there.

      Other reasons are Transmeta are not Intel, and like AMD are doing cool stuff and cool prices instead of yesterdays (dull) snacks at yesterdays prices (I would say tomorrowws prices except that prices are going down) that we get from intel.

      Sam
    • Re:Question (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:59AM (#13032028) Journal
      For those of us who don't care about Linus, Transmeta were still interesting. They developed a commercially-viable VLIW CPU, something Intel are still failing to do with Itanium. Some of us believe that VLIW is a particularly interesting concept in CPU design, in much the same way RISC is. Having the microcode in software, while not a new idea (the MicroVAX did it, for example) is also interesting.

      Sadly, for all their interesting technology, they are still not producing CPUs that are all that useful - although the 96-CPU desktop using Transmeta chips does look fun...

      • They are in a niche market, I don't know why people have expectations of them selling millions of their design.

      • >Sadly, for all their interesting technology, they are still not producing CPUs that are all that useful - although the 96-CPU desktop using Transmeta chips does look fun...

        SGI has also been focusing on cool, fun and niche products look at them now.

  • by Illserve (56215)
    Can someone in the know fill us in? As I understand it, transmeta's boasting of low power cpus translated into rather meager results in practice.

    What's the status of their productline?
    • I *own* one (Score:3, Informative)

      by hung_himself (774451)
      Unlike nearly all the posters here - I actually own something with a transmeta chip in it. My Sharp MM20 laptop is just over 2 pounds and gets 8-9 hours on the battery (real life usage - not just spec sheet) and costs much less than the closest Intel-based competitor by Sony.

      Don't know how the chip itself "specs" but I would recommend the actual end product to anyone who doesn't want to lug a brick and an AC adaptor around all day...
    • by Gogo Dodo (129808)
      Manufacturing processors didn't work out so well, so they went to the ARM model of business: License your IP for other people to use.

      Most of their valuable IP consists of their LongRun2 technology. They have Sony, Fujitsu, and NEC as licensees so far.

      Their Crusoe processor has been sold off to a Chinese company, Culture.com Technology Limited. Not sure what the status is of their Efficeon line, but it's been licensed to Culture.com, too. I imagine that Efficeon is up for sale, too.
  • by bbzzdd (769894) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:23AM (#13031858)
    The chips going into the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 are similar in technology to what Transmeta was doing years back. They all strip out out of order execution, branch prediction, etc to reduce die size and circuit complexities. Maybe people are starting to realize the way around the Ghz wall is to reduce complexity?
    • That's just a tradeoff though as the cost of development for a processor with no ooe or assists is higher.

      In the case of the xbox/ps3 processors you essentially have to "know your timings". Which isn't a bad thing since from a hardware perspective this gets you more bang per gate.

      But to get any sort of high performance out of this the companies are going to have to invest heavily in well optimized libraries to draw from [which is also not a bad thing, but many don't really do this].

      So the net effect of
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:09AM (#13032068) Journal
      The PS3 / XBox 360 CPUs schedule instructions relatively poorly. This is not a problem for a console - it is a fixed platform and the CPU in it will be the same in a year's time. You can compile a game for the console with a compiler that's explicitly aware of the instruction timings of the deployment chip and it will work correctly on every console because they have the same CPU.

      PCs and workstations are more varied. Every CPU revision can throw your instruction timings off and make your tightly compiled code suddenly much slower.

      The only CPU I am aware of that is taking a similar approach to Transmeta's offerings is Itanium, which has a few quite neat tricks to get around the standard limitations of VLIW. Itanium bundles all instructions which can be executed in parallel together to allow additional execution units to be added later without and still used by existing code. Transmeta use x86 dynamically translate x86 instruction set code to VLIW code on the fly, so the compiler doesn't need to know about the native VLIW instruction set (not very useful, because it still means they need to do all of the things that VLIW is supposed to eliminate - although perhaps they can just do them once and then cache the results).

      Oh, and no one is stripping out branch prediction. With current CPUs, the cost of a branch prediction miss is horrendous (it can be over 200 instructions on a P4, for example), so removing branch prediction would absolutely cripple performance. This is one of the reasons why languages such as Java have high-level syntactic constructs like exceptions - to allow the compiler to provide a hint for the first time past the branch (the exception path is known to be lower probability).

  • The only reason people even care about this dead company is becuase Linus once worked there.

    Face it this company is toast. NeXT even posted a profitable quater once too, and look where they are!

    Ok kinda bad example, but unless someone wants their "technology" on a firesale this sucker is in game over territory.

    And for all the boo hoo hoo geeks, you are like the fan bois that go on and on about the PPC, MIPS & the Dec Alpha, and yet have never owned one either in their hayday, or afterwards.

    Face i

    • by jockm (233372) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:36AM (#13031914) Homepage
      Face it this company is toast. NeXT even posted a profitable quater once too, and look where they are!

      Yeah, all Tom Sawyer like, they got Apple to pay NeXT to take over Apple...
    • by brokeninside (34168) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:52AM (#13031989)
      I, for one, never cared about Transmeta because `Linus once worked there.' Transmeta was cool because (1) they were making chips using an innovative design, which is rare, and (2) they were making chips for a niche that I have an active interest in. Turns out that neither their VLIW design nor their approach at x86 emulation turned out to be efficient enough to be effective, but it is tremendously interesting technology.

      You're barking up the wrong tree with your point about NeXT. The NeXT crew got purchased by Apple, engineered a takeover, and now control the single largest Unix vendor in the world. Are you suggesting Transmeta might do something similiar?

      You're probably correct that ``unless someone wants their "technology" on a firesale this sucker is in game over territory'', but not for any of the reasons you listed. The real reason is simple economics. Transmeta, however an interesting display of technology, failed to deliver a product that is superior to its competition. Which is the sad part. We don't know if their approach is a technical dead end or if their particular implementation of it is a dead end.

      You're also dead wrong that ``the market is only in it for FAST x86, nobody cares about power. And if they did they want to see it from intel, or AMD'' as demonstrated by Microsoft dumping x86 for PPC in the XBOX part II and Sony moving to the cell processor for Playstation part III. Not to mention that Via seems to be doing a brisk business with its low-power x86 and ARM doesn't appear to be hurting either.

      In one market nich, the desktop PC, you're probably correct. But desktop PCs are a relatively small port of the market for CPUs. When's the last time anyone bought a cell phone or a PDA because of the `Intel Inside' sticker? Who cares whether or not their hardware firewall is running at the latest and greatest high speed Ghz?
      • What was their target market again? I was under the impression it was the mobile desktop.... Do they power cell phones etc etc?

        As far as the game market, Im sure that it has something to do with low cost altivec... Not to mention IBMs willingness to branch out the cpu for high volume customers... Where as xbox, and ps2 volume is nothing to an intel....

        • Transmeta's market was always mobile computing, but for the most part only deluded /. geeks understood that to entirely consist of `mobile desktop'. AFAICT, they have targetted single board system embedded devices and thin clients as their primary target market from the get go. The closest `mobile desktop' gets to their target market is tablet computing which isn't really in the same category.

          As far as the tens of millions of Xbox 360s and PS/3s that are expected to ship in the first year that they are lau
          • " Transmeta's market was always mobile computing,"

            Actually, that's not true. I recall that Transmeta really thought that their "code-morphing" bullshit would be good enough to win processor sockets in desktop and perhaps even server boxes. I remember all of the hype: "Software running on the processor will translate x86 or PPC or whatever instructions on-the-fly and applications won't know the difference."

            It didn't make any sense to me then, and I couldn't see how it could do its "emulation" fast en

            • I remember all of the hype: "Software running on the processor will translate x86 or PPC or whatever instructions on-the-fly and applications won't know the difference."

              I rememember the days when Transmeta's home page was apparently blank, but had a secret message about `coming soon' if you looked at the source. In those days, I remember /. speculating about all the things you mention. But all the actual press releases I remember had TM going after the thin client/embedded/tablet market rather than the d

    • Face it the market is only in it for FAST x86, nobody cares about power.

      Have you looked at desktop Vs laptop sales recently? Have you compared the trends? It looks like a large and rapidly growing segment of the market (myself included) cares a whole lot more about power than speed (assuming we've got a GHz or so to play with).

    • "Face it the market is only in it for FAST x86, nobody cares about power. And if they did they want to see it from intel, or AMD."

      You are insane or an idiot. Right now heat/power usage are huge issues. Apple is going to Intel largley because they could not get G5s to run cool enough for notebooks. Intel is going with Pentium M based cores because of heat vs speed issues with the PIVs. The current computers are more than fast enough for your average home and office use. What people want now are smaller and
    • "Face it the market is only in it for FAST x86, nobody cares about power. And if they did they want to see it from intel, or AMD."

      Really? I bought an Athlon XP 2500 333 because there was a motherboard for $10 after rebate. Coughed up the dough for the memory too, plus I had to buy a video card because it's 1.5VAGP - they got me in the end, spent well over 200 that started out as 10 bux, still content. In any case, I was still happily chugging along on my 300A Celeron clocked to 450, still working like a

  • Does that mean they're borrowing heavily?
  • This is from a high school student taking simple high school accounting..

    More cash inflow than outflow doesn't necessarily mean its turning a profit. It can, but it doesn't have to. I think the editors (here and the external link) have jumped the gun on this one, and I'd rather wait for the real results announcement, instead of a little bit of information out of context. I'm sure there are real accountants here willing to contradict me, but it's just my 2 cents - regardless of how immaterial it is :P
  • I shouldn't be surprised by Slashdot's short institutional memory, but the rteason Transmeta showed a profit was that "it sold off most of its chipmaking business for $15 million to Culturecom Holdings." [business2.com] It's cash flow positive in the same way a family which auctions off all its belongings is cash-flow positive: temporarily.

  • The release from transmeta says that cash flow from operations is positive. This means that actually dollars out is higher than actual dollars in because there can dollars going out for non-operational items, such as capital expenses, repayment of loans, etc. The news is good news if you like transmeta because positive operating cash flow is better than negative - but it does not necessarily mean that transmeta can pay all its bills.
  • I am surprised (Score:3, Informative)

    by mocm (141920) * on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:53AM (#13031993) Homepage
    that people don't think that Transmeta would be able to become pritable. After all, they changed their entire business model. They no longer manufacture CPUs, but have become an IP only company, like e.g. ARM. Additionally they have licensing and support contracts for their LongRun2 technology with NEC, Fujitsu and Sony. And they are working with Sony on the Cell processor. They don't say exactly what they are doing, but half of their engineers are now working for and essentially paid by Sony.
    They also sold their remaining Crusoe and 130nm Efficeon CPUs and technology to a Chinese compny, while still retaining the 90nm Efficeon which will probably be manufactured by the new Fujitsu fab in Mie.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    CNN: Here's one.
    SLASHDOT: Ninepence.
    TRANSMETA: I'm not dead!
    SLASHDOT: What?
    CNN: Nothing. Here's your ninepence.
    TRANSMETA: I'm not dead!
    SLASHDOT: 'Ere. He says he's not dead!
    CNN: Yes, he is.
    TRANSMETA: I'm not!
    SLASHDOT: He isn't?
    CNN: Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
    TRANSMETA: I'm getting better!
    CNN: No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.
    SLASHDOT: Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
    TRANSMETA: I don't want to go on the cart!
    CNN: Oh, don't be such a baby.
    SLA
  • If Allen really wanted Transmeta to live, then what is needed is new and innovative ideas based on the chipsets. One approach is to fund ideas that use the hardware. MS used the approach of funding software for Windows 3.0 and NT 3.0.
  • by Sheepdot (211478)
    Transmeta's public accounting firm resigned recently as well:
    http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1001193/0 00089161805000476/f10542e8vk.htm [sec.gov]

    This doesn't happen to growing companies.

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