RealTime IT News

Tadpole Jumps on Opteron Pad

A computer maker that specializes in Solaris-based systems is the first Sun partner to develop AMD chips for its 64-bit notebooks.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Tadpole Monday said the new systems would be for sale in the second quarter of 2004. The notebooks will come pre-installed with Sun Microsystems' Java Desktop System (JDS) and will be able to run 32-bit and 64-bit applications.

Prices on the new units were not disclosed but Tadpole currently sells a SPARC-based notebook family starting at $2,995. The company also sells a Pentium 4-based system running a Linux operating system, the GNOME desktop and JDS.

"Tadpole Computer has taken the lead as Sun Microsystems' first iForce Partner to develop complimentary hardware solutions using the AMD Opteron processor," Mark Johnston, Tadpole CEO said in a statement. "By taking advantage of the Sun-AMD alliance, we're able to deliver the highest performance notebook on the market for both 32- and 64-bit applications."

The company said its 64-bit laptops act like mobile workstations and are ideal for software development, scientific applications, design engineering, MCAD, CAD/CAE and financial applications. Another benefit is that IT managers will be able to use the notebook in the field without changing their software base substantially, Tadpole said in a statement.

The notebooks also lend credence to Sun's push towards the desktop as an inexpensive alternative to Microsoft Windows and Office. The Java Desktop System is a SUSE Linux-based platform that includes the StarOffice 7 word processor/spreadsheet/presentation platform; the Mozilla open source browser; Evolution e-mail client; RealNetworks' RealONE player and Macromedia Flash.

The Tadpole operating system also includes Looking Glass, a new visualization interface that lets users surf around in interactive 3D-like environments. One addition to the Desktop System is a management-wide tool. Known as APOC, Sun said the technology preview lets IT pros and system administrators to set up security and personal profiles for a wide bank of staff.

Sun has had some success in usurping Microsoft's dominance, such as its landmark deal with the Chinese government and its five-year strategic agreement with the U.K. Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

"We are experiencing tremendous demand for the Tadpole notebooks bundled with the Java Desktop System, offering a portable enterprise desktop solution built on security, open source components and industry standards," Peder Ulander, Sun director of marketing said in a statement.

Tadpole, meantime, has secured its own contracts, most notably with the U.S. Army. Under a partnership with General Dynamics, Tadpole is part of the government's $2 billion, ten-year Common Hardware/Software III (CHS-3) program.

Likewise, AMD has been making its own waves with its 64-bit Opteron and Athlon64 processors. Currently, Sun, IBM and HP have professed support for the chips to augment their server lineups.

Tadpole said its AMD Opteron processor-based notebooks will be available through its resellers and through Tadpole directly.