Fujitsu divisions tag-team on notebooks

The computing titan's storage and PC divisions try to tap two of the remaining growth segments in the tech market by announcing new hard drives for notebooks and new laptops.

Two divisions within Fujitsu tag-teamed on notebook news Monday.

The Japanese conglomerate's storage and PC divisions announced new hard drives for notebooks and new laptops, respectively. Both announcements are aimed at increasing revenue in two of the remaining growth segments in the technology market.

The announcement of the new hard drives comes nearly three months after the storage division announced that it was exiting the business of desktop hard drives in search of greener pastures.

The new 2.5-inch MHR hard drives for notebooks come with 20GB platters for capacities of 10GB, 20GB, 30GB and 40GB. The 20GB platters allow for higher capacities on 2.5-inch drives, compared with the previous generation of 15GB platters. The new drives are also more shock resistant and run more quietly than Fujitsu's previous hard drives for notebooks, according to the company.

Fujitsu plans to double the storage capacity annually for as long as demand exists, said Sam Sawyer, a director of product storage at Fujitsu.

Sawyer added that with the head and platter technologies, the drives have the headroom to reach 300GB per platter.

At least initially, the new drives won't be used in the new notebooks because the drives won't ship in volume until early next year.

The PC division said the new notebooks, part of the LifeBook C Series, are available now. They start at $1,299 and feature a 900MHz Intel Pentium III processor, 128MB of memory, a 20GB hard drive, a DVD drive and a 14-inch screen. For another $400, the notebooks can be configured with a 1GHz Pentium III, 256MB of memory, a 20GB hard drive, a combination CD-rewritable/DVD drive, and a 15-inch display.

All C Series notebooks come with IEEE 1394 and four USB ports.

IDC analyst Alan Promisel said the new laptops come during an extremely competitive time in the notebook market. Preliminary results from market researcher IDC indicate that portable shipments in the third quarter grew less than 10 percent compared with the second quarter. Year-over-year shipments decreased 8 percent.

"Fujitsu is targeting the new volume price point--around $1,399--as they try to gain some share in this market," Promisel said. "Fujitsu is just packing in the features to get some appeal."

Promisel added that PC makers will be looking for the usual boost in sales during the fourth quarter as large companies spend the remainder of their yearly budgets. However, this year will be gloomier than in the past.

"IT spending has been reduced, so the usual binge is not expected this year," Promisel said.