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Comedic Crusoe claims from NEC

Eight hours on one charge claims firm

This week NEC joined the growing line of companies to have claimed it's made a notebook that can run for a whole working day on one battery. On Monday NEC launched on a somewhat jaded world two lightweight notebook computers powered by Transmeta's low-power Crusoe chip.

The Versa DayLite is NEC's hope. Using a combination of the Transmeta Crusoe chip and a non-illuminated screen, the Versa DayLite can allegedly run everyday applications for up to eight hours on one battery.

With a 600MHz Crusoe processor, a 10.4in reflective LCD screen, an external USB CD-ROM drive and external floppy disk drive, the Versa Daylight will cost in the region of £1,750. This seems a bit steep for a machine with a cheaper screen.

The Versa UltraLite also uses a 600MHz Crusoe chip but offers a standard 10.4in backlit display. NEC officials said the Versa UltraLite can run normal applications for around five hours on a single charge. It comes with similar features and costs the same as the Versa DayLite.

NEC officials are billing the two new laptops as the first Crusoe-powered, enterprise-level portables to hit the US market.Whether NEC's battery life claims come close in reality remains to be seen.

Last august IBM and Compaq decided almost simultaneously not to offer Crusoe-powered laptops. Sources close to both IBM and Compaq cited less than adequate performance from Crusoe processors as the reason they wouldn't be offering Transmeta chips in their products.

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