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Fujitsu Siemens pushes 3G laptops

The PC maker will focus on building high-speed networking into all its laptops. It's also keen on energy efficiency.

HANNOVER, Germany--Fujitsu Siemens is hoping 3G and energy efficiency will help to differentiate its range of laptops.

Speaking at the CeBit trade show Wednesday, Fujitsu Siemens CEO Bernd Bischoff said that 30 percent of the company's notebooks now have 3G technology built in. Typically, such a model would cost the user $80 more than a notebook without a 3G radio.

The chief executive added that eventually all his company's notebooks would offer 3G by default, so there would be no additional charge for 3G. The company declined to comment on actual market demand for notebooks with 3G.

Following an agreement with Orange last January, Fujitsu Siemens began producing laptops in the Lifebook E range with built-in 3G/EDGE data cards. They will allow users to connect to the Internet at high speeds over 3G and EDGE mobile networks, without needing to plug a separate data card into their laptop.

Bischoff listed a number of areas where Fujitsu Siemens would concentrate, including data centers, middleware, managed storage and managed mobility. "We have just introduced managed mobility. We have just a few customers," he said. "One of the key innovation areas (for us) is mobile solutions and services."

Fujitsu Siemens is not the first to go into partnership with an operator such as Orange for built-in mobile broadband--Dell, Acer, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo all produce laptops incorporating a Vodafone 3G/HSDPA data card.

Fujitsu's latest 3G model, the Lifebook P7230, also comes with a conferencing camera, and a price of 3,000 euros ($3,980). A high-speed uplink is planned for that model in the autumn of 2007.

Bischoff was also keen to position his company as a leader in the provision of energy-efficient PCs. He said that power-management facilities were installed on all Fujitsu Siemens' PCs, the goal being for them to use, on average, only half the electricity of other business PCs on the market.

Richard Thurston of London-based ZDNet UK reported from Hannover, Germany.