64-bit Unix notebook-server for $2,995

Tadpole Computer Inc. advocates 'no distinction between client and server,' president Mark Johnston said yesterday. He intends to put the Cupertino, Calif., Unix notebook maker 'on a progression to multiprocessor' in the notebook form factor.

Showing off the new, $2,995 SparcLE portable Solaris platform with 17-inch LCD, Johnston said it packs power nearly comparable to that of a Sun Microsystems Inc. Sun Fire 4800 server'his own company's main development platform.

The SparcLE accepts up to an 80G drive and up to 2G of memory. It communicates peer-to-peer via an embedded IEEE 802.11b wireless antenna and can maintain its state passing between wireless connections. An uninterruptible power system is built into the metal-backed plastic chassis.

StarOffice 6.0 productivity applications come free with the SparcLE, including a Microsoft PowerPoint-compatible presentation tool. Tadpole chief software engineer Ed Crump demonstrated the SparcLE simultaneously running seven animation windows, playing music and compiling software.

'Last year, 25 percent of systems shipped were mobile,' Johnston said. 'By 2006 it will be one-third.'

He said he wants Tadpole to build systems from all the 64-bit processors on the horizon'from Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. as well as Sun'and all the 64-bit operating systems from AIX, HP-UX and Solaris to 64-bit Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Public-sector vice president Barbara Payne said Tadpole supplies the inner workings of the Army's hardened Unix notebooks on the Common Hardware/Software II contract held by General Dynamics C4 Systems of Taunton, Mass.

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