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Tadpole Computer

Tadpole Computer was a manufacturer of rugged, military specification, UNIX workstations, thin client laptops and lightweight servers.

Originally based in Cambridge, England, then for a time in Cupertino, California, Tadpole was acquired by General Dynamics in 2005. Production continued until March 2013 but since then, they no longer sell any systems; and support for their products is provided by Flextronics.



Tadpole laptops were unusual in being based on SPARC, Alpha and PowerPC, rather than the more common x86-based microprocessors. Although very expensive, these classic Tadpoles won favour as a method to show corporation's proprietary software (IBM/HP/DEC) on a self-contained portable device on a client site in the days before remote connectivity.


The original SPARCbook1[1] was introduced in 1992 with 8–32 MB RAM and a 25 MHz processor. It was followed by several further SPARCbooks, Ultrabooks - and the Voyager IIi. These all ran the SunOS or Solaris operating systems.[2]

DEC AlphaEdit

An Alpha-based laptop, the ALPHAbook 1, was announced on 4 December 1995 and became available in 1996. The Alphabook 1 was manufactured in Cambridge, England. It used an Alpha 21066A microprocessor specified for a maximum clock frequency of 233 MHz. The laptop used the OpenVMS operating system.[3][4]

IBM PowerPCEdit

A PowerPC-based laptop was also produced - the IBM RISC System/6000 N40 Notebook Workstation, powered by a 50MHz PowerPC 601 and with between 16 and 64MB RAM - and designed to run IBM AIX. [5]


Tadpole also produced range of x86-based, including the TALIN laptops with SUSE Linux, or optionally Microsoft Windows.[citation needed]

Company historyEdit

In 1998, Tadpole acquired RDI Computer Corporation of Carlsbad, California, who produced the competing Britelite and Powerlite portable SPARC-based systems, for $6 million.

Tadpole was later bought by defense contractor General Dynamics, in 2005.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Chronology of Workstation Computers (1991-1992) Archived April 2, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Tadpole SPARCbook 3",
  3. ^ "Tadpole Technology announces the ALPHAbook 1, the world's most powerful notebook computer". Business Wire. December 3, 1995. Retrieved September 2, 2008. 
  4. ^ HP OpenVMS Systems Documentation Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  5. ^ "IBM RISC System/6000 N40 Notebook Workstation", March 8, 1994, Announcement Number: 194-062
  6. ^ General Dynamics Acquires Tadpole Computer, Inc. Retrieved April 3, 2014.