Sony Corp’s policy of introducing new products to the marketplace at different times in Japan, Europe and the US can get very confusing: the company’s launch of three major lines of 68030 based Unix workstations which took place at the start of Unix Expo last week included the previously-launched dual-68030 based Series 1800 workstations and NWS-721 diskless workstations, as well as the new Series 1700 and 1900 machines. Across each of the lines, Sony’s new erasable optical disk drives are available as options, using the SCSI interface. The company also launched a low-end NWS 711 68020-based diskless workstation, billed as the most affordable workstation on the market with a starting price of $4,000. The mid-range 1700 Series are the first single processor 68030 workstations released by the company, while the 1900 Series follows the 1800 by using a second 68030 for handling graphics, networking, disk and tape input-output, and is a floor pedestal configuration with four 9U VME slots. The 1800 and 1900 machines are available 30 days from order, and the 1700 will be ready by February. Other announcements included the NWB-251 graphic display subsystem and NWP-516 19 colour display monitor. Software included is Sony’s NEWS-OS version of Unix 4.3 BSD and X Window v11, and the company has entered into strategic alliances with software houses such as Wolfram Research Inc for its Mathematica programming language, Hunter Software Systems Inc for its XDOS utility for recompiling MS-DOS programs to run on Unix machines for which Hunter has done a binary compiler, and Uniplex Inc for office automation software.