Fujitsu Stylistic Windows 7 slate: Microsoft's latest, greatest iPad competitor?

Summary:There's a new Windows 7 slate coming to town (starting in April this year) that Microsoft is hoping may give the company at least a temporary answer to Apple's iPad and the various Android slates coming to market this year.

Windows 7 slates and tablets haven't exactly knocked customers off their feet. But there's a new Windows 7 slate coming to town (starting in April this year) that Microsoft is hoping may give the company at least a temporary answer to Apple's iPad and the various Android slates coming to market this year.

Fujitsu shared more details on February 24 about the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550, which got an early debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011. The coming slate, based on the Intel "Oak Trail" Atom processor, runs Windows 7 Professional. It supports pen-based input, along with touch, and offers an optional smartcard reader for extra security, according to Fujitsu's press release about the business/enterprise-focused product.

Fujitsu is promising up to 10 hours of battery life (using a large-capacity battery), and the press release says the device weighs 1.5 pounds (690 grams) when a regular-capacity battery is inserted.

There's no U.S. pricing (or availability information) for the Stylistic Q550 yet. The touch-only version goes on sale in Japan in April for JPY 90,000 ($1,100) and the touch/pen version will hit in May for JPY 100,000 ($1,222).

Here's Fujitsu's latest promotional video showing off the coming device:

In keeping with Microsoft's own iPad-compete guidance, Fujitsu is highlighting the ability of the coming slates to be managed and secured by corporate IT departments as a differentiation point from the iPad and other consumer-focused slates. From Fujitsu press release:

"As enterprises struggle to keep consumer smartphones and tablets off their corporate networks to avoid security breaches, Fujitsu is taking an alternative approach with the introduction of a companion device designed for maximum interoperability with business environments. Seamless integration is provided thanks to use of the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system. Additional licensing and rollout costs are capped since the slate PC uses the same software already deployed in enterprise infrastructures."

Microsoft is touting the ability of Windows-based slates and tablets to help customers keep their IP secure, demonstrate compliance to auditors and lock stolen devices.

The battery life and weight of this device sound good to me, but the price tag is still on the high side. As I've noted before, Microsoft's "real" answer to the iPad isn't likely to happen until its partners start cranking out Windows 8 slates. Until then, do you think the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 has a chance to keep Apple from further infiltrating Microsoft's installed base?

Topics: Software, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Tablets, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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