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Transmeta Corporation and NEC Electronics Corporation announced the two companies have agreed on a strategic alliance. Under the agreement, NEC Electronics has licensed Transmeta’s LongRun2 Technologies for use in future microprocessors as well as acquires an equity stake in Transmeta.

NEC will use Transmeta LongRun2 technology  in its 90, 65 and 45nm generation semiconductor products, for low-power and transistor leakage management. Transmeta and NEC Electronics also announced that NEC Electronics has taken an equity stake in Transmeta, as a sign of a longer term relationship, purchasing a small percentage of Transmeta’s common stock as part of Transmeta’s 25 million share common stock offering which priced December 18, 2003.

Transmeta’s first generation LongRun power management technology was introduced in January 2000, and was the first technology in the industry to adjust MHz and voltage dynamically, hundreds of times per second, to reduce power consumption. Transmeta’s second generation LongRun2 technology extends this approach further to include dynamic adjustments of transistor leakage under software control. Software control is important in order to adjust leakage due to changes in runtime conditions, such as voltage and temperature that are not predetermined when the chip is manufactured.

“Leakage problems are expected to get progressively worse as the industry scales to 90nm and smaller transistors each generation. Leakage power could easily dominate total chip power and prevent low power standby operation if not controlled,” Transmeta said it its statement.

Transmeta’s new LongRun2 technology is able to control transistor leakage through software while a chip is running. Transmeta’s LongRun2 software works to control leakage as an interdisciplinary solution in combination with special circuits in the Efficeon processor, and with a standard CMOS process. During the demonstration at the Microprocessor Forum conference in late 2003, Transmeta showed the Efficeon processor adjusting leakage up to hundreds of times per second while playing a video game, playing a DVD movie and going into standby. In standby mode, Efficeon core leakage power was reduced by approximately 70 times by using LongRun2 technology, according to Transmeta.

“NEC Electronics has been promoting research and development of low power technologies such as parallel processing, multi gate-oxide film and multi threshold voltage, targeting the markets requiring power efficiency management,” said Hirokazu Hashimoto, executive vice president for NEC Electronics.

“By licensing Transmeta's LongRun2 Technologies, we will be able to complement our existing low power technologies and lead the industry in markets such as wireless handsets, broadband networking and digital consumer electronics where low power is critically important,” the representative for NEC added.

Terms of the agreement were not announced.


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