Sun debuts its first laptop

It doesn't have the sexy attitude of a Sun Fire V40z or the power of a Sun Fire E25K, but Sun Microsystems is just as proud of its first ever laptop.

During the company's annual JavaOne developer fest in San Francisco this week, the company touted its Sun Ultra 3 mobile workstation alongside its Sun Ultra 20 workstation tower a part of a "try and buy" promotion to get developers to kick the tires and sign up for its developer services.

Two examples of the Sun Ultra 3 mobile workstation
Credit: Sun Microsystems

Sun worshipers may recognize the manufacturers: Tadpole and Naturetech. The two companies have been making notebooks based on Sun's UltraSPARC processors for several years, but now they have the full blessing of Sun.

For $29.95 per month for a three-year subscription, developers can take home the Ultra 20 tower running on AMD Opteron processors and sporting Sun's Solaris 10 operating system as well as a few other Sun software products relevant to developers.

As for the Ultra 3 laptop, the per-month fee is $39.95 or you can take the whole thing home starting at $3,400 for entry-level pricing. The Ultra 3 is expected to be available in July 2005.

The laptops come in 15-inch and 17-inch versions running either a 550 MHz or 650 MHz UltraSPARC IIi processor or a 1.28 GHz UltraSPARC IIIi processor. The Ultra 3 laptops will also sport up to 2 GB of memory installed, 512MB of RAM, a 40GB disk drive, and 2D graphics with an option to upgrade. The computers also come with 802.11b wireless networking so you can take it far away from the server room.

The laptops come pre-installed with Solaris 10, Solaris 9 or Solaris 8, although Sun would rather you take the one with Solaris 10.

The Ultra 3 also comes with Sun's Java Desktop System pre-installed and either StarOffice 7.0 or GNOME 2.0 productivity software depending on which model you choose.

As to what took Sun so long to figure out that developers don't always like to stay in the office, executive vice president of Sun's network systems group John Fowler said the company knew it wanted a powerful laptop but decided to focus on building out its server lineup first before delving into any type of mobile strategy.

 

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