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October 6, 1999

Fujitsu Siemens Unveils Mobile NT Workstation

By CBR Staff Writer

Fujitsu Siemens Computers BV, the Dutch-based merger of the Japanese and German groups’ European computer businesses, yesterday unveiled Celsius Mobile, which it is marketing as the worldÆs first mobile NT workstation. The product is the first to be launched by Fujitsu Siemens, which came into formal existence on October 1. Bjorn Fehrm, director of the companyÆs workstation division in Augsburg, Germany, said that, at four kilos, it is the first truly mobile workstation, as distinct from the 15kg luggable ones offered by other manufacturers.

With a 15-inch, 1024×768-pixel screen, Fehrm said that Fujitsu Siemens feels it can target the product at R&D personnel who attend a lot of meetings or work at the office and at home. In other words, while it cannot boast the resolution needed for CAD/CAM work per se, it is good enough for working on, say, airplane flights, particularly as its two batteries give it an autonomy of six hours. Other targets are people who need to do graphically rich presentations, such as project managers, consultants, architects and animators.

As for memory, the Celsius Mobile is fitted with a minimum of 128 Megabytes of SDRAM and a 25-Gigabyte disc. A 100-Megabyte ZIP drive also comes as the standard exchange medium, though it can be replaced by a simple floppy drive if so required. With the presentation market in mind, its keyboard is detachable, a feature for which FehrmÆs team drew on FujitsuÆs extensive experience in the notebook market. It offers OpenGL-capable 3D graphics, with 8 Megabytes of SGRAM graphic memory to this end.

Fehrm said that in developing a workstation specifically for mobile applications, Fujitsu Siemens had to pay particular attention to the security aspect, given the potential both for theft and corruption of data. He said that his team was able to use a technology already developed elsewhere within the German group, namely SmartGuard. This facility not only encrypts the hard disk, said Fehrm, but also stops intrusion before you get to the BIOS, he said.

The Celsius Mobile operates on a 400 MHz Pentium II processor from Intel. Fehrm admitted that this was due to the fact that, having delayed the launch in order to be Fujitsu SiemensÆ first product to market, the company did not want to wait any longer in order to go with the Pentium III.

Fujitsu Siemens will, of course, incorporate the later, much faster microprocessor once it is launched (a source said it would take about two months after the Pentium III comes to market). Fehrm declined to comment, however, on whether the company will continue to market the Pentium II-based version of the workstation, with a price differential vis-a-vis a Pentium-III-based one, or simply go over to the new microprocessor altogether. The Celsius Mobile is currently shipping in the UK, France and Germany, retailing in the UK for the equivalent of $7,447 before tax.

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