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Tadpole leaps to Sparc portable workstation

The computer maker, known for its portable Unix machines, is set to unveil a notebook PC powered by Sun Microsystems' UltraSparc IIIi processors.

Tadpole Computer, a maker of portable Unix computers, plans to launch a 64-bit Unix-based notebook PC on Tuesday.

The laptop, called Viper, is powered by Sun Microsystems' UltraSparc IIIi processor and Solaris operating system. Tadpole said the new machine offers up to 2GB of memory, up to 80GB of disk storage, a DVD/CD-RW drive and wireless networking.

The notebook also supports Sun's Java desktop system and will come preloaded with Solaris 9, GNOME 2.0, StarOffice 7.0, Evolution 1.4 and Mozilla 1.4. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said the machine's interoperability with Windows file formats, networks and messaging applications will come in handy for Unix developers and engineers.

Unlike traditional workstations, which are heavy-duty desktop computers, Tadpole's SPARCbook portable workstations look similar to home or office laptops, offering the same hardware in a notebook-size chassis.

The company has said it is focusing on low-price strategy to attract more customers in the aerospace, automotive and other large industries, beyond its traditional military and government markets.

"There is an influential community of users that run Solaris on the desktop that are also demanding an alternative to Windows running on their notebook," Mark Johnston, CEO of Tadpole, said in a statement. "Viper and our portfolio of 64-bit based computing solutions answer the need for high-performance mobile computing solutions required by today's work force."

The new notebook, priced at $5,995, will be available next month.