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Fujitsu takes new tablet for a spin

Fujitsu PC will become the first company to make a traditional tablet and convertible notebook PC based on Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet PC Edition software.

Fujitsu has served up a new take on the tablet computer.

Fujitsu PC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu, on Monday became the first company to offer both a traditional tablet computer and a convertible notebook PC, each loaded with Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system software.

Fujitsu designed the new LifeBook T3000 convertible laptop to offer the best of its Stylistic line of tablets and its LifeBook notebooks, based on requests from customers in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, said Paul Moore, director of product marketing for Fujitsu PC.

The company in November 2002 introduced a traditional tablet,

Customers can use the LifeBook T300 as a tablet for quick note taking and for filling out forms with the pen interface. Consumers also can take advantage of the notebook PC keyboard for typing longer documents, Moore said.

Like other convertible tablet PCs, the new LifeBook T3000 uses a traditional clamshell design and sports a special hinge that allows the screen to open, rotate 180 degrees, and fold back down to cover the keyboard and create a tablet.

The convertible design was popularized by companies such as Toshiba when Microsoft launched its pen-driven Windows XP Tablet PC Edition software in late 2002.

Several manufacturers, including Acer and Toshiba, also offer convertible table PCs. Hewlett-Packard offers a similar tablet that comes with a detachable keyboard. Motion Computing, NEC and ViewSonic each build tablet-style machines with the Microsoft software. But so far, Fujitsu is the only brand-name company to offer both tablet PC styles.

The new LifeBook T3000 comes with a 12.1-inch display. It uses Intel's Centrino family of chips, which includes a Pentium M processor and a module for wireless networking.

The price of the 4-pound convertible LifeBook tablet PC will start at $1,799, which includes a 1.4GHz Intel Pentium M processor, an 802.11b wireless module, 256MB of RAM (random access memory), and a 40GB hard drive, Moore said.

The LifeBook T3000 joins Acer's TravelMate C110 and Motion Computing's M1300 as one of a handful of Centrino or Pentium M-based Tablet PCs. But Toshiba and HP are both expected to update their tablet PCs at some point later in the year.