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March 21, 1988

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK SONY TRIES TO CRACK THE UK WORKSTATION MARKET

By CBR Staff Writer

It is tough when you are a superstar back home to move into a new market where you are not only the new kid on the block, but where your success elsewhere doesn’t mean a light: Cliff Richard in the US and Johnny Halliday in the UK have long experience of the feeling, and each failed to make the grade or strike any roots in the alien soil. Will Sony Corp fare any better with its News Unix workstations here in the UK? The company officially launched two models of the News family earlier this month, and bravely aimed them at the unpromising market of Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CI No 887). The NWS-1850 is a dual processor system with a 68030-based main processor and a second 68030 as the input-output processor, plus a 68882 floating point co-processor, all running at 25 MHz. That’s about as much power as you can deliver to a single user with the current top-end members of the 68000 family, and Sony rates the thing at 5.2 MIPS. Prices had not been finalised at the launch, but were expected to fall within a range of $35,000 to $45,000. Also launched was the NWS-721, a 68020-based colour diskless terminal for use in tandem with the NWS-1850: this has a 20MHz processor, and 4Mb memory expandable to 8Mb. Prices should begin at $9,000. Both models run Unix 4.2BSD and support Network File System, TCP/IP and X Window. A single-processor 68030 system is expected to be added within a few months. Marketed through its Cologne, West Germany-based Sony Microsystems Europe, the systems are initially aimed at software developers, hence the preponderance of Computer Aided Software Engineering partners announced: GEC Software; Associated Computer Experts BV; Westmount Technology BV; and PA Consulting Group. The News systems will be sold through independent software vendors, which Sony is currently recruiting; it will also market to major resellers and to universities. The systems will be available here from September 1988.

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