Fujitsu puts on a thin-and-light show

Fujitsu PC Corp. has ramped up its S Series laptop to include a faster processor and increased hard-drive space. The S Series laptop, targeted at the corporate traveller, belongs to Fujitsu’s LifeBook family of lightweight portable computers.

The upgraded LifeBook S Series notebook is powered by an Intel Corp. Pentium III 750 MHz processor and will ship with either a 20GB or 30GB hard drive. The laptops use either Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 98 or Windows 2000.

The notebook is 28.5 centimetres wide, 33 millimetres high, and weighs 1.7 kilograms without a CD drive, said Anthony Lynn, product marketing manager for notebooks at Fujitsu PC Corp., adding that the laptop weighs 2 kilograms with the drive. The notebook will be loaded with 128MB of RAM (random access memory), expandable to 256MB.

The laptop features a 30.25 centimetre XGA (extended graphics array) TFT (thin film transistor) display, said a news release from Fujtisu announcing the machine. The laptop is available directly from Fujitsu and its resellers, starting at US$2,399.

Instead of the standard combination drive featured in most notebooks today, the S Series notebook includes a flexible bay that houses both drives and other external hardware modules specifically designed for the bay, Lynn said. For example, the flexible bay will allow users to swap a specially-designed DVD (digital versatile disk) and CD-RW (CD-rewritable) combo drive with a second battery.

Other specially designed devices that plug into the bay drive include the SuperDisk 120MB floppy disk drive or a Fujitsu modular digital camera, Lynn said. Devices designed for the bays are not interoperable with other machines that have bay slots because the design for each bay drive and accessory is proprietary, he said.

Only WinBook Computer Corp. and NEC Corp. have introduced flexible bays in machines that weigh less than four pounds, Lynn said.

The Fujitsu unit comes with a lithium-ion battery that lasts four hours under test conditions in a laboratory, Lynn said. When the second battery is plugged into the bay drive, the laptop can run for up to eight hours.

The laptop comes with a 56Kbps modem, 10/100 Ethernet card and an IEEE 1394 high-speed port. Two slots will accommodate PC cards, expanding the laptop’s capability to wireless modems and other external devices.

Continuing from the earlier versions of the S Series laptops, a Smartcard reader comes built-in to secure on-line transactions and personalized authentication, Lynn said, adding that biometric authentication was not yet a feature in the laptop. A Smartcard holder and third-party software are needed to operate the reader.

Fujitsu PC, in Santa Clara, Calif., can be reached at (408) 982-9500 or

– IDG News Service