Internet News is reporting that Transmeta is up for sale.The chip maker which first unveiled its products in 2000 was most noted for developing the Crusoe processor and employing Linus Torvalds. When first released, their Crusoe processors were most interesting because of their Code Morphing Software which allowed it to convert software instructions from one hardware platform into instructions that were native to the chip. This meant it could work as a hardware emulator for the x86 platform, and was used in numerous laptops. The complexity of the software on the chip meant that the hardware on the chip could be less complex which meant less transistors and therefore less energy and heat (and presumably faster hardware).
At one point there was much talk of seeing the Crusoe processor used to execute Java byte code natively, leading to grand ideas such as a native Java operating system. Rather than having to build a chip from scratch to understand Java byte code, the Crusoe processor just required the software to translate Java byte code into native code. It would be much easier and cheaper to develop initially without the need for a new chip design and manufacturing processes to build it making it slightly more feasible.
Since the company is up for sale, and the patents along with it, I’m guessing it’s not something we’ll be seeing any time soon.