Nvidia licenses Transmeta power-saving tech

Every so often, Transmeta's name resurfaces into public view, often with the words "lawsuit" or "license" next to it. Now is one of those times. Transmeta has announced that Nvidia has licensed its LongRun and LongRun2 technologies.

The announcement sheds no light on Nvidia's specific motives for the deal, but Transmeta's description of the LongRun2 technology contains a few hints:

LongRun2 Technology is a suite of advanced power management, leakage control and process compensation technologies that can diminish the negative effects of increasing leakage power and process variations in advanced submicron geometries. LongRun2 Technology addresses these challenges with a broad set of solutions that include advanced algorithms, innovative circuits, unique devices and structures, process techniques, software and manufacturing optimization methods.

Nvidia had to cough up a "non-refundable license fee" of $25 million for the LongRun and LongRun 2 tech. Transmeta says the deal covers a "non-exclusive and fully paid-up license to all of Transmeta's patents and patent applications, and a non-exclusive license and transfer of certain Transmeta advanced power management and other computing technologies."

Graphics processors seem like logical candidates for fancier power-management tech, but Nvidia could also implement Transmeta's know-how in Tegra systems-on-chips. Tegra SoCs should find their way into handhelds and mobile Internet devices soon, and Nvidia plans to ramp up new Tegra generations in 2009 and 2010.

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