Portable computers account for 25% of all PC sales. But the workstation--a more powerful and more expensive cousin to the PC--hasn't spawned a wealth of portable alternatives. The technology to perform workstation jobs simply didn't fit into a notebook-sized machine.

It does now. On Mar. 8, IBM unveiled a 7-pound notebook based on its PowerPC reduced instruction-set computing (RISC) chip. The machine, manufactured for IBM by a company called Tadpole Technology, carries a hefty price tag: $12,000, or about four times the price of a standard laptop. But the RISC System/6000 Model N40 packs 16 megabytes of memory, an active-matrix color screen, a 340-megabyte disk, speaker, and microphone. The "notebook workstation" will be available at the end of March. Tadpole also builds a notebook based on Sun Microsystems Inc.'s RISC chip.

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