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November 10, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Japanese companies relentlessly update their product lines every four to six months, but down on the ground things look a bit different. Of three recently launched lines of Sony 68030-based Unix workstations (CI No 1,052) only the Series 1800 has been made available in the UK. And anyone who thought that Logitek Plc had been marketing the thing here for six months or so, can think again: it received its first supplies just seven days ago. According to Melvyn Pykett of Logitek – the sole distributors of Sony workstations in Britain – the mid-range single processor Series 1700 will not be available until the first quarter of 1989, and there is no sign of the dual-processor Series 1900 in the foreseeable future. Manchester-based Logitek, which also distributes Altos microcomputers, Wyse Technology visual displays and micros and 3Com networking products, yesterday announced a marketing agreement with imaging processing specialist GEMS Ltd of Cambridge for its portable image processing software development system. Running on the Sony dual 25MHz 68030-based NWS1850 workstation, the system, Gemsoft 36, is written in C and operates under Unix and X-Windows. There are a number of image processing functions, augmented by a series of toolsets aimed at simplifying the creation and management of image windows and menus. The system was originally developed on a Sun workstation and launched in the US last month, but GEMS managing director Alan Gibson claimed it was ported to the Sony NeWS1850 in under 30 minutes. Melvyn Pickett believes Sony’s dual processor approach is ideal for image processing, leaving one processor dedicated to the application without the encumbrances of input output, which is handled by the other processor. He also said Sony has over 200 software agreements in the US and Europe and that over 4,000 workstations have been sold in Japan alone. GEMS hopes to sell into the OEM and research marketplace; the software costs UKP4,000 for a single user, UKP16,000 for a multi-user site, and UKP20,000 to value added resellers plus a UKP1,500 licence fee for each package, while the NeWS1850 workstation is UKP26,000.

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