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Fujitsu Resurrects The Sub-Notebook

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Fujitsu previewed a new notebook line, the LifeBook Q Series, which sports a larger display and other features the company says is a breakthrough for portable computers in its class.

So-called sub-notebook portables have proved to be a more of a niche product than their makers had hoped.

"The category has done badly because the products have been too compromised," Roger Kay, analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, told internetnews.com. "But now we're seeing technology advances to make them more usable."

The Q Series, targeted at executives, features a sleek black design and a 12.1-inch display and is only three-quarter-inch thickness when closed.

The unit runs for about an hour and a half on its internal three-cell battery. An optional six-cell battery, which adds to the system's weight, as well as a docking station, are also available.

"If you look at the industry and the popularity of products like the iPod and the Razr phones, things are getting more stylish, so why shouldn't PCs be?" asked Paul Moore, senior director of mobile product marketing at Fujitsu Computer Systems. "This is like executive jewelry."

LifeBook Q Series
The LifeBook Q2010.
Source: Fujitsu

The first notebook in the series, the LifeBook Q2010, is powered by Intel's new Core Solo processor and includes an 80GB hard drive.

The Q Series will be available in six weeks. Fujitsu said it has not set final pricing on the 2.2-pound notebook, although about $2,000 might be a reasonable guess as company officials made a point of saying it wouldn't be priced as low as $999 or as high as $3,000.

In addition to today's Windows XP, Fujitsu said the Q2010 will run Microsoft's Vista OS when it becomes available.

Other features include integrated Wi-Fi wireless LAN 802.11abg with VoIP capabilities and integrated Bluetooth v2.0 for data synchronization with different devices. And the docking station includes an integrated dual-layer DVD burner.

Security features include Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 and a built-in biometric fingerprint sensor for added security and more efficient password management.

The Q Series is also quieter than traditional notebooks as it doesn't need or include a fan for cooling.

Fujitsu trails U.S. notebook market leaders such as Toshiba, Dell and HP, but is looking to make bigger inroads with the Q Series, as well as its mainstream E Series, which has new models, and its T Series tablet computer line.

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing buys Dell for its notebooks, but was an early convert to Fujitsu's tablet computers two years ago.

"With tablet PCs there's less of a wall, and you can write silently with a stylus," said John Ellison, product manager for tablet and rugged PCs at Boeing. "It's less obstructive."