Fujitsu Ltd has been hitting the headlines all over the place with its capitulation to market forces in following the entire Japanese personal computer industry apart from runaway market leader NEC Corp to the DOS/V standard set by IBM Japan Ltd – but the company is not abandoning its proprietary FMR series, and has added new models there as well. The company hopes that the new line of DOS/V AT-compatible machines will help it catch up with NEC in the domestic market. Plans to offer the machines overseas are still under consideration according to a Fujitsu spokesman. The new FM-V series consists of 76 configurations of 17 models, all with Microsoft Windows 3.1 pre-installed. All of the new series models feature CPUs with built-in low consumption mode and energy-saving cathode ray displays, complying with the US Environmental Protection standards for energy-saving personal computers. Features of the new series include support for an Overdrive processor to allow for future upgrading and they can accommodate the Pentium Overdrive processor.
Third party peripherals
There is a VESA type local bus to directly link the CPU with peripheral circuits; and in a change of strategy for Fujitsu, the company will offer sales and support for third party peripherals and software, for which purpose it has opened a Personal Computer Validation Centre at its Systems Laboratories in Kamata, Tokyo. Fujitsu believes that more Japanese are looking for standardised hardware and architectures, and multivendor compatibility; the new series will become a third pillar of its personal computer strategy, along with the proprietary standard FMR series and the FM-Towns multimedia personal computer. Prices range from $1,650 to $6,925. Fujitsu will also be joining the OADG Open Architecture Developers Group as part of its new initiative. In a related move, Fujitsu recently announced that it would be selling the PowerToolkit series of Windows utility software from Redmond, Washington company hDC Inc in Japan. PowerToolkit for Windows is claimed to be the most popular series of Windows utilities. Fujitsu hopes to sell 120,000 copies in the year starting from the product’s release this month. Fujitsu also announced a new series of FMR personal computers, the two high-end models of which are based around the Pentium chip, providing a 1.8 times performance improvement over the previous AT-compatible models at prices which are 40% less. The new models, the FMR-360SV Model 433 and 466 (Intel 80486-based machines) and the Models 560 and 566 (60MHz Pentium machines) are CPU-upgradable and support dual CPUs. Eight EISA bus expansion slots are provided, and memory from 16Mb through to 192Mb can be installed. Models 560 and 566 come standard with a 1Gb hard disk. Fujitsu expects to sell 30,000 of the series over the next two years. Fujitsu and its affiliate Fujitsu TEN Ltd have also jointly developed Car Marty, a product that they term the world’s first multimedia player for use in cars. The new product runs software available for Fujitsu’s home multimedia CD-ROM player the FM Towns Marty, which was introduced last spring; it runs a navigational system with route search function, and supports new car information systems using optional PCMCIA memory cards such as the VICS Vehicle Information & Communication System, a real-time traffic radio information service currently under development. The new product will be marketed by Fujitsu TEN and was put on display at the Tokyo Motor Show.