SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Transmeta Corp. here has beaten Intel Corp. and Via Technologies Inc. for a major x86-based microprocessor design win at ViA Inc., a Burnsville, Minn.-based supplier of wearable computers for commercial applications.
Under the terms of a deal announced here today, ViA--which is not related to Taiwanese PC chip set and processor maker Via--will develop a line of wearable PCs for the U.S. Army based on Transmeta's Crusoe processor family.
Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ViA's wearable PCs are currently being tested by the U.S. Army Military Police at Fort Polk, Louisiana and elsewhere.
The lightweight, body-worn PC will incorporate Transmeta's 700-MHz processor line. The wearable PC, which consists of ViA's new SVGA display, will run Microsoft Inc.'s Windows 2000 software.
"ViA's Crusoe-based computer has the potential to be a central component in a soldier's weapon system, providing communication and information management in critical combat situations," said Henry Girolamo, Program Manager of the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center, in Natick, Mass.
A spokeswoman for ViA did not elaborate on how many wearable PCs it will ship to the U.S. Army, but she did confirmed that Transmeta beat Intel and Via for the business.
Ironically, Taiwan's Via was the incumbent supplier of x86-based processors for ViA's current line of wearable PCs. These systems are being used by Northwest Airlines, Nabisco, General Dynamics, and other companies for use in customer service, distribution center, inspection and maintenance applications.
"We looked at competitive processors from Intel and Cyrix, which are being used in our current of wearable PCs," the spokeswomen said, referring to now-defunct Cyrix Corp., an x86-based processor supplier that was acquired by Via of Taiwan. "But we choose Transmeta, because of their performance and low-power capabilities," the spokeswoman added.
Officials from Intel and Via could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, in addition to ViA, Transmeta has also announced major design wins with Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC, and Sony. Earlier this week, the x86-based chip maker went public in spite of losing a design win with IBM Corp. (see Nov. 8 story). Transmeta's stock was trading late today at $44.31 after climbing 115% to $45.25 on Tuesday, when the shares were initially offered at $21.