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Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012

TECH_JAPAN

GADGETS

Fujitsu aims at women; Huawei targets Japan


Fujitsu tends to get left out of the conversation when it comes to the world's top PC-makers these days, but it's still an important player in its home market of Japan — where it holds about 15 percent of the market, placing it second behind the NEC Lenovo Group. And in an effort to maintain that position, the company has just announced a new line of its FMV laptops, which it hopes will win over female users.

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In November, the company will launch a new Floral Kiss brand of computers with a number of elegant design features intended to strike a chord with women. Most notable among these will be a model that Fujitsu has created in collaboration with jewelry brand Agete, and which will be displayed in a number of their shops. The laptop will feature a smart color scheme that follows the Agete brand's usual design, with a tan keyboard standing out against a darker purple body. It will also come with its own original carrying case and pouch.

The Floral Kiss lineup will offer respectable specs with the new Windows 8 operating system, an Intel Core i5 processor, and 500 gigabytes of hard-disk space. Along with the Agete tan version, other available colors in the lineup will include "elegant white," "feminine pink" and "luxury brown."

Fujitsu has also developed custom software to go along with the new laptops. Its Scrapbook application will let users clip items and pictures from the Web as they browse, and organize them into thematic collages. There is also a Diary app to bring together Facebook and Twitter updates in chronological order so they can be browsed locally on a timeline. Users can also create their own updates to add to the timeline as well. In addition to this digital archive of the past, there's a horoscope app that lets users check their future, too.

It remains to be seen exactly how many women these new PC features will actually appeal to, but it certainly makes sense for Fujitsu to pursue that demographic with a special lineup such as this one. There's no word on any prices yet, but keep an eye out for flashes of pink and white in retail stores in early November, with the designer Agete model to follow on Nov. 29.

Targeting the female market is something that we have seen in Fujitsu cellphones as well with its F-03D and F-06D handsets that were announced back in January, designed in collaboration with Popteen fashion magazine.

Chinese manufacturer Huawei hit the annual CEATEC Japan electronics trade show in full force this year, promoting a number of new products for the Japanese market, including its Ascend HW-01E handset that's about to hit stores here.

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As you may have heard, Huawei is having a pretty big public relations problem in the United States, with congressional investigators recently advising that American firms avoid using its network equipment. But despite seemingly endless troubles in that market, Huawei is pushing on in Japan, and its HW-01E handset is one of the standouts of NTT Docomo's fall lineup, with an expected release in the next month or so.

First announced in August, this smartphone will run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and feature a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm processor. Like most of Docomo's recent releases it will be compatible with the carrier's LTE service. Other standout hardware specs include a 4.5-inch high-definition (720 x 1280) TFT LCD display, 1 gigabyte of RAM, and 8 gigabytes of onboard storage. There is also a 13-megapixel camera, which should impress shutterbugs out there. The handset will include Japan-specific features such as Docomo's NotTV service, One-Seg digital television, and osaifu-keitai (mobile wallet) functionality.

Huawei's HW-01E will be available in both black and white. There's no word on any price just yet.

The company was also showing off its MediaPad 10 FHD at the event, a 10-inch Android 4.0 tablet expected to be released soon by Emobile. It will feature a full HD display and a quad-core processor, all inside an 8.8-mm-thin shell that weighs just 580 grams.

It will be interesting to see whether Huawei's public relations problems will prove to be an issue in Japan as they have been in other markets. But given that mobile devices in Japan are more focused on carrier branding rather than playing up the name of the manufacturer, Huawei could find a following among Japanese users if the prices are competitive enough.

Rick Martin is an editor at TechInAsia.com. Read more of his work at 1rick.com.


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