Fujitsu soldiers on despite Surface surprise
By A. Asohan June 29, 2012
- Discussing appropriate response at Hq level
- Releases new range of notebooks, ultrabooks
FUJITSU, as with many other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the Windows world, is still discussing a response to Microsoft Corp’s surprise unveiling of its own Windows 8 tablets, the Surface, last week.
The Japanese company claims to be the No 1 global Windows tablet PC vendor in terms of unit shipments [citing IDC’s Quarterly PC Tracker Q1 2012].
When asked if the Surface would be a threat to this position, Edmund Lim, product marketing manager of Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, said, “That is an interesting question, but is unfortunately not one I am authorized to comment on.”
“We have not got much information from Microsoft, but our headquarters in Japan is discussing a response,” he said in Kuala Lumpur when launching a whole new range of Fujitsu Lifebooks on June 28.
Microsoft last week unveiled two 10.6-inch tablet PCs: An entry-level device called the Surface running a specialized version of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system called Windows RT, powered by an ARM chipset; and the Surface Pro, a more “corporate” version that runs Windows 8 Pro and powered by an Intel “Ivy Bridge” processor.
It marked a departure for Microsoft, which has typically worked closely with its OEM partners whenever rolling out new versions of its OS. With the new tablets, it was going to compete directly with them. Initial reports said these partners had been kept in the dark about the Surface, with one source saying that there was a “sense of betrayal.”
In response to the Surface announcement, Acer senior vice president and president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Oliver Ahrens, said "I don't think it will be successful because you cannot be a hardware player with two products,"
According to a Reuters report, HP declined to comment on whether it was given advance notice of the Surface, as did Dell. A Dell spokesman said, "We remain committed partners to Microsoft. We remain committed to Windows 8, and we will have a Slate product at the time of launch."
China's Lenovo also declined to comment except to say "Microsoft has been and will continue to be one of Lenovo's most valued partners."
It was the same tack taken by Prakash Mallya, country manager, sales and marketing at Intel Malaysia, when asked if the Surface was going to threaten Intel’s Ultrabook push.
“At this stage, not much is known about the Surface, but we do know that there will be a version running our Ivy Bridge processor,” he said as a special guest at the Fujitsu launch. “We are committed to working closely with Microsoft to make their Ivy Bridge product a success.”
The Surface surprise comes at an inopportune time for Fujitsu, which is expanding its go-to-market strategy in Malaysia. The company will be establishing a team dedicated to its commercial and small and medium business market for the first time, to complement its retail team, said Yap Hui Hui, country manager Malaysia, Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific Ltd.
“In July, we will also be opening the first Fujitsu concept store in the Digital Mall, while select Harvey Norman outlets will start carrying a full range of our products,” she said.
Takumi design philosophy
Fujitsu had earlier launched 11 new and updated Lifebook models under the S, U, L (pic), A, E and P series, all running the latest 3rd Generation Intel Core processor and all also upgradable to Windows 8 when that operating system starts shipping, said Lim.
“Last January, we gathered top designers from all over the world to come up with a consistent theme for our products,” he said.
The result is what Fujitsu calls the Takumi Philosophy “which embodies four key elements – the Infinity Mark as a badge of excellence and innovation; the distinctive F-Line Keyboard outline to illustrate craftsmanship and attention to detail; a minimalistic, Zen-like rounded profile to signify simplicity and undivided focus on quality; and user-centric shared details in the forms of a perfectly clean and levelled palm rest and a dichromatic, double injection color isolation keyboard for both visual appeal and comfort, and more.”
The new systems include the S series, which the company described as “the perfect portable work companion for enterprise users,” coming equipped with Intel VPro technology and a full suite of security features to provide optimal safety and IT assets management.
The SH series for the home are 13.3-inch notebooks measuring 16.6mm at their thinnest and weighing approximately 1.21kg, making it the world’s thinnest and lightest Lifebook. Fujitsu says they are ideal for mobile professionals.
The series includes the SH 772, “which internally we call the ‘Ultrabook killer,’ with apologies to Prakash,” said Lim, with an apologetic nod at the Intel country manager.
The U Series are Fujitsu’s own Ultrabooks, while the L Series are what the company calls “lifestyle” notebooks.
The company also launched new models in its A Series (multimedia desktop alternatives), E Series for business professionals, and P Series for those who require an extremely portable notebook for causal use.
The company also unveiled a series of accessories.
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