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Fujitsu Plans Consumer Tablet Computer

Fujitsu kept its foothold in the consumer notebook computer space with the introduction of several new models at PC Expo earlier this month and plans to expand its presence with a consumer version of its pen/tablet portable business computer.

The company’s primary consumer retail line is the LifeBook C Series. This C Series is targeted at consumers looking to replace their desktop PC with a notebook without any corresponding fall off in power or multimedia capability. It has just started selling through Best Buy and regional retailers, said Tom Bernhard, Fujitsu’s strategic product planning director. With suggested prices starting at $1,499, the basic C Series unit features an Intel Pentium III 800MHz processor, 20 GB hard drive, 14.1-inch LCD and the consumer can choose from a variety of optical drives.

Fujitsu’s plan to move a pen/tablet computer into the consumer space hinges on the delivery of a special pen/tablet version of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows XP operating system, Bernhard said. This is expected to be available in 2002. Bernhard thinks pen/tablet products, which now comprise a major portion of Fujitsu’s sales to the enterprise and business community, could become a major subset of the retail notebook arena.

The booming PDA market has also caught Fujitsu’s attention. It is considering rolling out a model based on the PocketPC operating system.