Microsoft taps Transmeta for secretive project

Posted by bink on March 20 2006, 9:16 PM. Posted in UMPC (Origami).

Transmeta's work with Microsoft involves a variation of its low-power Efficeon chip

Just weeks after Microsoft pulled back the curtains on its Origami project, chip design company Transmeta has slipped out a few more details about another of the software giant's secretive development projects.

Transmeta signed a series of agreements with Microsoft last May under which about 30 Transmeta engineers would provide development services to help with "a proprietary Microsoft project," Transmeta said in its annual report filed with U.S. regulators last week.

The work from those agreements has been "substantially completed" and Transmeta was, at the time of its filing, in the process of negotiating additional services for 2006, although probably not on the same scale as the previous work, it said.

The work is not related to ultramobile PCs, the portable wireless computers unveiled earlier this month as part of  Microsoft's Origami project, according to a report in Monday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper.

Transmeta first disclosed the work with Microsoft last year. The initial reports about Origami led to speculation that Transmeta could be involved in that project, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

One of the devices, from Samsung Electronics, uses a 900MHz Intel Celeron M processor. Another, from PaceBlade Japan (PBJ), uses Via Technologies' C7-M ULV processor.

Transmeta's work with Microsoft involves a variation of its low-power Efficeon microprocessor, Transmeta Chief Executive Officer Arthur Swift told analysts last month, according to the Post-Intelligencer report.