Processor manufacturer Transmeta is giving strong indications that the company's Crusoe chip will make its first appearance in a third-party computer chassis at next month's PC Expo in New York.

Last January, Transmeta -- whose employees include Linux creator Linus Torvalds -- unveiled the series of simplified Crusoe processors capable of performing many functions through software rather than hardware.

Back then the company said it planned to make its processor range available to manufacturers by early summer for integration in notebook PCs, Linux-based Web pads, and Internet appliances.

"What we didn't have [at the processor launch] was brand-name manufacturers," said Colin Hunter, a co-founder of Transmeta.

Two likely candidates for hosting the Crusoe processor in name-brand systems are Compaq and Gateway.

During last April's America Online/Gateway Internet appliance launch in the US, officials at Gateway said the use of the Crusoe processor in future Internet appliances was "under consideration."

Gateway and Compaq each have made considerable investments in Transmeta.