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

Originally based in Cambridge, England, 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 was originally based in Cambridge, England, then for a time in Cupertino, California.

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.[1]


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 SPARCbook 1[2] was introduced in 1992 with 8–32 MB RAM and a 25 MHz processor.[3][4] It was followed by several further SPARCbooks, Ultrabooks - and the Voyager IIi.[5][6] These all ran the SunOS or Solaris operating systems.[7][8][9][10]

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.[11][12]

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. [13]


Tadpole also produced range of x86-based the Tadpole P1300, including the TALIN laptops with SUSE Linux, or optionally Microsoft Windows.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ General Dynamics Acquires Tadpole Computer, Inc. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  2. ^ Chronology of Workstation Computers (1991-1992) Archived April 2, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Sub-$6,000 Sparc Notebook Announced, By Martin Marshall, InfoWorld, 27 May 1991, Page 32
  4. ^ Advert: Meet the Notebook that Breaks the Mold: SPARCbook 1: Tadpole, Computerworld, 23 Mar 1992, Page 37
  5. ^ Tadpole release Sparc notebooks, By Yvonne L. Lee, InfoWorld, 21 Feb 1994, Page 33, ...The $10,950 SparcBook 3....The $7,500 SparcBook 3LC...
  6. ^ SPARC notebook manufacturer promises desktop performance, by Michael Fitzgerald, Computerworld, 28 Feb 1994, Page 41, ...Tadpole Technology Inc. in Austin, Texas, announced its third SPARC notebook....The $10,950 SPARCbook 3 uses Texas insstruments, Inc.'s 50-MHz MicroSPARC processor...
  7. ^ "Tadpole SPARCbook 3",
  8. ^ SPARCbook 3000ST - The coolest 90s laptop, March 14, 2019 ,
  9. ^ Table 11-1: Identifying Different SPARC CPUs, Page 256, Sun Performance and Tuning: Java and the Internet, By Adrian Cockcroft, Richard Pettit, Sun Microsystems, ...System(Kernel Architecture): Tadpole SPARCbook 1 (sun4m) / CPU Mhz: 25 / CPU Type: Cypress 601...System(Kernel Architecture): Tadpole SPARCbook 2 (sun4m) / CPU Mhz: 40 / CPU Type: Fujitsu MB86903...System(Kernel Architecture): Tadpole SPARCbook 3 (sun4m) / CPU Mhz: 85-110 / CPU Type: microSPARC II...
  10. ^ Sparc-based notebook ready to debut: Tadpole system uses Cypress processor, runs Solaris operating system, By Cate Corcoran, InfoWorld Dec 28, 1992 - Jan 4, 1993, Page 23
  11. ^ "Tadpole Technology announces the ALPHAbook 1, the world's most powerful notebook computer". Business Wire. December 3, 1995. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
  12. ^ HP OpenVMS Systems Documentation Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  13. ^ "IBM RISC System/6000 N40 Notebook Workstation", March 8, 1994, Announcement Number: 194-062
  14. ^ Tadpole boosts power in Pentium-, Sparc-based notebooks, By Yvonne L. Lee, InfoWorld, 24 Jul 1995, Page 45, ...The two new notebooks, shipping now, include the SparcBook 3GX...and the Tadpole P1300, the first 133-MHz Pentium-based notebook...A Pentium notebook with 8MB of RAM and a 340MB hard disk cost $6,995...