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Fujitsu Expands Line, Shares Retail Plan

Fujitsu Computers started shipping two new models and has laid the ground to expand its distribution outside regional retailer Fry’s Electronics.

The new additions are the M6110 and M6210, follow-up models to the M6000, which became available June 21 with suggested retail prices ranging from $1,599 to $2,099 for the former, to $1,799 to $2,699 for the latter unit. The configure-to-order units have been heavily modified compared with their predecessor, said Paul Moore, Fujitsu’s mobile computing director, exchanging the PC-type Pentium 4 processor for a Pentium M, adding a dual-format, double-layer DVD burner and allowing for a dual hard-drive configuration.

The 6210 also features a TV tuner, and Microsoft’s Media Center operating system will become an option in late 2005. Until then, the unit is equipped with a Fujitsu proprietary application for the TV functionality.

With these models, Fujitsu is continuing its formula of not attacking the entry-level segment of the market, a strategy the company intends to follow.

“Fujitsu has a good name in the market, and we don’t want to just give them away. We want to make money at retail,” Moore said.

This introduction is almost coinciding with the launch of a test program with a national retailer, which Moore could not name. The exact timing of the test was not available, but Fujitsu is now intent on branching out from the Fry’s retail network, Moore said. Part of the reason the company has not placed itself nationwide is the cost of doing business with the large retailers, he said. The conditions these chains place on a vendor hinder the vendor’s ability to make a profit, and that was not acceptable to Fujitsu in the past.

However, the retailers have become more interested in bringing on Fujitsu, so they have altered their requirements, and Fujitsu is not as adamant about its demands.

“It has been our choice to be limited in distribution, but now each side is bending a bit, so we should be able to work something out,” Moore said.

Fujitsu is also reworking a model now selling mainly into the commercial channel for future release at retail. The P1000 is a 2.2-pound ultra portable with a touch screen that Fujitsu is upgrading with a brighter screen, A/B/G wireless, more memory and a bigger hard drive, Moore said. It should be released later this summer. Pricing has not been set.