Fujitsu preparing to launch new Tablet PC

Fujitsu is preparing to launch a new slate-type Tablet PC that features a faster processor, larger screen and more capacious hard-disk drive than its current model.

Details of the new computer, the Stylistic ST5000, including the draft user manual, were revealed in documents published by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission after the device received regulatory approval for use in the U.S. last week.

A Fujitsu spokesman declined to comment on the product.

The computer will be Fujitsu's third Tablet PC following the slate-type ST4000, which was launched when Microsoft launched its Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system, and the convertible-type ST3000 that was launched in September.

There are several differences between Fujitsu's current slate-type model, the ST4000, and specifications for the ST5000 listed in the manual.

The first is in the choice of processor. Fujitsu will stick with the ultra-low-voltage version of Intel Corp.'s Pentium III M processor but is including a 1GHz model in the new machine, according to the manual. The processor in the ST4000 runs at a clock speed of 933MHz. Memory is unchanged at 256M bytes but the minimum hard-disk drive size has been raised from 30G bytes to 40G bytes, according to the manual.

A 12-inch TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) with 1,024 pixel by 768 pixel (XGA) resolution is fitted in the ST5000, according to the specifications, which is larger than the 10.4 inch screen on the ST4000.

Other features of the new tablet include slots for PC Card, SD (Secure Digital) memory card and smart card and a selection of interfaces including an analog modem, Ethernet LAN, IEEE1394, IrDA infrared and two USB 2.0 sockets. Wireless LAN is supported in the machine and there is a second version, the ST5000D, that has no wireless LAN support, according to the manual.

The PC measures 220 millimeters by 324 millimeters by 22 millimeters and weighs 1.45 kilograms, which is slightly longer than the ST4000 but otherwise similar. Battery life is up to 5 hours, according to the manual.

Regulatory approval by the FCC is required for all devices that emit radio waves over a certain level before they can be legally used in the U.S. It is usually one of the final stages before a company launches a product, although it does not mean a launch will definitely take place, nor that specifications will remain unchanged before the product is sold.

(Tom Krazit in Boston contributed to this report.)

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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