Fujitsu Siemens pushes 3G laptops

CeBIT: The PC maker will focus on building high-speed networking into all its laptops

Fujitsu Siemens is hoping 3G and energy efficiency will help to differentiate its range of laptops.

Speaking at the CeBIT trade show on Wednesday, Fujitsu Siemens' chief executive Bernd Bischoff explained how 30 percent of all Fujitsu Siemens notebooks now have a 3G radio built in. Typically, such a model would cost the user $80 (£41) more than a notebook without a 3G radio.

The chief executive added that eventually all his company's notebooks would offer 3G by default, so there would be no additional charge for 3G. But the company declined to comment on actual market demand for notebooks with 3G.

Following an agreement with Orange last January, Fujitsu Siemens began producing laptops in the Lifebook "E" range with built-in 3G/EDGE datacards. They will allow users to connect to the internet at high speeds over 3G and EDGE mobile networks, without needing to plug a separate datacard into their laptop.

Bischoff listed a number of areas where Fujitsu Siemens would concentrate, including data centres, middleware, managed storage and managed mobility. "We have just introduced managed mobility. We have just a few customers," he said. "One of the key innovation areas [for us] is mobile solutions and services."

Fujitsu Siemens is not the first to go into partnership with an operator such as Orange for built-in mobile broadband — Dell, Acer, HP and Lenovo all produce laptops incorporating a Vodafone 3G/HSDPA datacard.

Fujitsu's latest 3G model, the Lifebook P7230, also comes with a conferencing camera, and a price of €3,000. A high-speed uplink, using HSUPA technology, is planned for that model in the autumn of 2007.

Bischoff also quoted statistics from IDC, which showed that expenditure on IT hardware by West European businesses shrank during 2006. "In 2000, it blew up, yes? We are now in a very mature industry," Bischoff said.

Bischoff was also keen to position his company as a leader in the provision of energy-efficient PCs. He argued that power-management facilities were installed on all Fujitsu Siemens' PCs, meaning they used on average only half the electricity of other business PCs on the market.

Bischoff was joined at CeBIT by Joe Tucci, chief executive officer of storage vendor EMC, one of Fujitsu Siemens' technology partners. The two companies are working closely together on providing combined data centre and storage networks.