History of machines running NetBSD/newsmips and NetBSD/news68k
Sony has good pages about its history in both Japanese and English language. There is also a NEWS chapter available in both Japanese and English. (Note "MIPS" in this article stands for "Media Information Products and System" Business Group, not the MIPS processors.)
According to that page, the first NEWS machine appeared in January 1987, in Japan. It was NWS-800, which is not supported by NetBSD/news68k as of this writing. It was designed for replacement of VAX mini-computers on desktop. The price was 950,000-2,750,000 Yen ($8800-$25000 US) and they were selling very well in Japan. The NEWS machines were used for DTP, CAD/CAM etc. They were sold in the USA and Europe, but sales were slow because Sun Microsystems already had a lot of market share.
Sony released the newer MIPS based NEWS (NWS-3800) in December 1989, and they were used for VOD systems, internet servers, etc. Note that the 4.4BSD/Lite release also supported the news3400 models. The NEWS division within Sony was been dissolved in 1998.
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