Fujitsu launches notebooks with solid state drives

New notebook PCs can be converted to run flashed-based solid state drives

Fujitsu Computer Systems introduced two touchscreen notebook PCs Monday that are available with custom-ordered solid state drives (SSD) of 16GB or 32GB.

The Life Book P1610, a convertible notebook, and the Life Book B6210, a clamshell style, can each be converted to run the flash-based SSDs. The 16GB SSD is priced at US$700, and the 32GB is priced at US$1,300, said Paul Moore, senior director of mobile marketing at Fujitsu.

Fujitsu will give credit to business customers for the cost of replacing a hard drive with an SSD, Moore said, which could be about US$250 for an 80GB hard drive, he said. A P1610 with a 30GB hard drive has a starting price of US$1,649. The SSD, manufactured by Samsung, will take up the same space in the laptop as the hard drive, he said.

SSDs will be popular for job settings where data protection is important, such as a stock trader or a health care worker, Moore said. "If a PC crashes, you want to protect the drive and data," he said. SSDs also don't use as much power and don't produce much heat or noise and require a shorter boot time, he added.

Fujitsu said it believes it is the first to offer a touchscreen notebook with SSD, although Moore said there are some small Windows CE computers running SSD.

Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said Fujitsu might be the first of its type, although a hybrid SSD-hard drive laptop is being sold in Asia.

"Solid state drives are definitely the wave of the future," Kay said. "They're fantastically cool, but fairly expensive. Once flash storage prices come down to reasonable levels, SSD will take off."

In addition to higher cost, SSDs have significantly less read/write life than a hard drive. "Still, the read/write durability is pretty good and more than most people would need," he said.

The biggest benefit will be "substantial power savings," he added.

Fujitsu also announced a rugged case for each notebook, priced at US$139, Moore said.

The P1610 is 2.2 pounds, with an 8.9-inch touchsreen, while the B6210 is 3.2 pounds with a 12.1 inch display. The B6210 runs Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 or Windows XP Pro, while the P1610 runs those two or Windows Vista Business Edition.

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