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Fujitsu has launched three business-ready laptops in their mid-high range E Line.
The 13, 14 and 16-inch notebooks are from first impressions feel streamlined, and include a Fujitsu red accent to its brushed steel-effect shell which adds a nice touch to a corporate device.
The products come out of the box with a Windows 7 license as well as a Windows 8 license ready to be installed when your company is.
This is because Fujitsu are seeing a major move from XP toe Windows 7 in the business world, as businesses prepare to see the end of XP support in Spring 2014. But in the tablet space, Fujitsu are seeing the larger leap from XP to Windows 8.
The clever bit about these notebooks is their modular bays, which allows corporations to buy added extras that can be attached to the device. Items like a second battery which extends life from 13 hours to 19, or a bay projector, second hard drive or a DVD drive. Businesses wouldn't need to buy one of these per device, but a sample number of the accessories could be bought and they could be loan out to employees as and when, saving costs.
Weighing under 2kg (the 13 and 14-inch 1.7kg) the E Line is built for the typical mobile workforce.
The devices begin at £860 + VAT for the entry level 13-inch. But the notebooks are built to order and can make their way up to £1,294 + VAT for the core i7 16-inch edition.
One docking station fits all of the E Line range, and during August the company is offering one free of charge with all notebooks through its resellers (£80 RRP).
Computer Weekly's Gadget Guide on smartphones gives you a round up of all the latest smartphone news, previews, and reviews from Inspect-a-Gadget.
If you're researching the wide range of smartphones in the market head over to our guide for the low-down on the devices you just can't live your life without.
Now this was by far the coolest gadget I saw at The Gadget Show Live this week: Microsoft's Kinect for Windows software development kit, Kinect Fusion.
After all the (well-deserved) hype over 3D printers, I was seriously impressed to have a play with a 3D scanner which used only a Windows PC Kinect and this free developer software.
The software works by taking multiple images and fusing them together to create a 3D scan. It is still in beta developer mode, so can be subject to glitches, but it's a great way to allow people to have a go with this technology.
I got my head and shoulders scanned by the Kinect and the next moment it turned up on the screen in front of me. It took a while to get it right, as it seemed a bit sensitive as I twirled around on the spot many many times. But finally I saw a morphed version of myself on the screen. This image can then be manipulated in 3D on the computer and sent through to 3D printer to print out. While the scanning process took only a few seconds, once we got the technique right, the printing takes an hour or so to print a miniature head - sadly I wasn't allowed to have a mini-me printed out.
In order to show you how this worked, I asked an unsuspecting, yet curious, passer-by to give it a go so I could film the process:
Take one regular Gadget Show visitor:
I first came across gDoc Binder at CES on a table Windows PC. The software enables you to digitally create a ring binder of documents, which can be formatted and organised as you would with a real-life ring binder. The table PC showing off the product in Las Vegas really helped demonstrate the ingenius user experience of the product, you could swipe through pages just as we are now used to when reading books on tablets.
gDoc binder officially launched on the 5th of March, and I've been playing around with a copy for a couple of weeks now. I've been trying out the traditional desktop experience. The instruction manual (which is a gDoc) was really useful in setting up, but it was really easy to get going. You start off with a template, choose how many tab dividers you want and create.
You "open" the binder by clicking on the cover once, and it opens to reveal a traditional looking ring binder along with a table of contents. Now this is where I began question the desktop user experience opposed to the tablet - the way the binder opens and pages turn is a little clunky on the desktop and also to mention that the graphics are a little Windows 95 for me.
The good thing is that it supports over 32 different file formats, including PDF and word documents. I found that inserting files took a little while to load, but once it got passed the first couple of documents, it sped up. You can also drag and drop documents as well as multiple files, but it did have a little trouble with over ten documents.
The table of contents also automatically updates with the file names of the documents you insert.
I found the tablet view quite intuitive, being able to drag it into different positions and angles, and it also demonstrated to me again how I think this works much better as a tablet application. It currently exists as a Windows 7 and 8 PC and tablet application, with other operating system applications hopefully in the pipeline,
You can also create documents within your ring binder using the gDoc software - but for myself this wasn't particularly useful as I could just as easily import my word documents. You can share the binder in an email in a XPS document
The company recently won a KnowList Award for the professional service industry in the Technology Innovation category. The award was granted to the developer version of the software which allows IT departments and consultants to customize the software for clients, such as adding connectors into existing document management systems.
During the awards it was noted that the judging panel felt that gDoc provided a "tangible benefit" to the legal profession in managing their documents. By using a familiar and natural concept, users found that it saved time when producing closing bibles and court bundles.
"gDoc Binder makes it easy to review and track an entire matter in a completely natural way because it is based on the familiar paper binder concept that has worked in the legal sector for centuries. I've been looking for an electronic file that you can flick through and mark up for years but there's been nothing available until now," said Robert Cohen, IT Director at City firm Speechly Bircham.
When you consider companies who have to import hundreds of documents this would save time and space. And just think at the end of the day, how much physical shelving space you are saving.
It would just be nice to soon see the enterprise benefitting from the same graphics quality as consumers are now used to, because at the end of the day, there is a continuous cross over in expectation.
Windows Phone 7 proved a lifeline for Nokia and the announcement of Windows 8, alongside the Lumia 820 and 920, made the future look bright. Then, all of a sudden, HTC want to join the Microsoft mobile party, bringing James Corden as its +1.
Having already released the Radar, Pro 7 and Titan, HTC certainly know what they're doing with the Windows mobile offering so I was intrigued to see how it planned to differentiate itself from Nokia.
The 8X is everything I look for in a smartphone, durable, different, practical and eye-catching. The rubberised back is prone to scuffing and marking but who cares, it's colourful and looks nowhere near as bad as a scratch on a metal, plastic or glass cover.
The rubber is not only comfortable to hold in your hand, it also improves grip, even if your hands perspire more than a pig doing star jumps in a sauna.
The slightly convex Gorilla Glass casing over the screen is very similar to that of the Lumia series but works just as well here, accompanied by the back, home and search buttons across the bottom. Along the top you'll find a front facing camera (more on that later) and the ear grille, which also houses a neat little led that lights up when charging.
As for the edges of the device, an earphone jack and on/off/lock/unlock button are all you'll find along the top. The left side is bare and the bottom is only interrupted by the MicroUSB slot, smack bang in the middle. The right hand side is where it's all happening, the MicroSIM slot, volume control and camera button are all located on this edge of the handset.
The 4.3 inch S-LCD2 screen, also found on the HTC One X, is certainly bright but despite boasting better pixel density than the Galaxy S3, iPhone 5 and Lumia 920, it just isn't that stunning.
I'm not sure if it was an isolated incident, I did tweet about it and had a few people respond saying they hadn't had a similar issue, but the screen on my 8X did seem prone to flickering. Eventually it put me off using the phone at night, for fear of that thing from The Ring crawling out of the display.
Whilst the, rectangular screen is perfect for Windows Phone 8 and the live tile format in portrait, it isn't what I prefer for watching movies or other media when in landscape.
The 1.5 GHz dual core processor and Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon chipset give this handset as much punch as a concrete fisted Mike Tyson.
The inclusion of Beats Audio was a big pull for me, alas there are no Beats earphones as with some other previous handsets. Whilst there is a distinct difference between the audio quality when Beats is turned on or off, if seems to me to just be, primarily, a volume boost.
The 8MP rear snapper, capable of capturing 1080p HD video, is a particular highlight. HTC aren't often renowned for its cameras but I'd say it's a highlight on the 8X.
also a 2.1MP front facer for video calls, which, unlike the equivalent on the
iPhone, somehow manages not to stretch your face into an almost unrecognisable
Windows Phone 8Given the amount of money Microsoft has spent on advertising Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the Surface, I was expecting big things and, ultimately, I was left disappointed.
There is no doubt Windows Phone 8 is an improvement, an evolution and a stand of independence. However, I don't believe the live tiles (as fun as they are to customise and change colour) offer enough functionality to tempt Android users away from their devices. As an OS, it feels polished, yet somehow still not fully complete. To me, the main appeal is that it's different to iOS and Android. Not better, just different. Call Quality With all the fancy widgets, add-ons and advancements knocking about today, people often forget that the primary use of a smartphone is a voice communication device. Thankfully, HTC have not forgotten and have put time into ensuring the microphone is placed in the optimum position and is further boosted by an active noise cancellation feature. Perfect for walking around a busy street. Battery life My biggest gripe with my iPhone is the battery life. A day I leave my flat without a charger is a day I end up contactless from the afternoon. Nokia, famed for battery life (granted that's not hard when the 3310 is your flagship device), set a solid mark with the Lumia series and you won't be surprised to hear that HTC fell short of that. Though it beats an iPhone I was expecting the juice in the 8X to stretch a bit further. A day of medium use and a night's sleep on airplane mode is the most you can expect to get. Conclusion Despite a few negatives, add a few more thousand apps to the market place and I'd buy one without a second thought. The aesthetics, quirkiness and simplicity of the OS, collaborative possibilities and camera are more than enough to sell the HTC 8X to me.
Huawei launched a few devices at CES in Las Vegas this week, while none of them were confirmed with regions, dates or prices, two smartphones, which are expected to ship to China and then worldwide, caught my eye.
The Ascend Mate - giant phablet with the "worlds largest screen"
Again, a growing trend at CES this week has been a huge leap in screen size, be that in tablets, phones, monitors or TVs. Huawei's Ascend Mate is a monster. Huuuuge, at 6.1-inches of HD 1280 x 720 LCD touchscreen compared the 5.5-inch screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note.
But tell me something, when tablets are generally growing to ridiculous sizes, but also shrinking to 7-inches, and smartphones are growing to 6.1-inches, where will the line eventually be in the phablet space? In six months time, what will be a phone and what will distinguish a tablet?
I found the Android device surprisingly light in the hand. The rows upon rows of Android apps sitting on the screen could get very messy or be a joy to organise for someone as OCD as me.
The Ascent W1 - Huwaei's first Windows 8 device
This entry-level Windows 8 device looks much simpler than a Nokia Lumia 920 or a HTC 8X. It still has the insanely bright colouring of the other Windows 8 devices, however it doesn't feel as superior as the other devices did when I first held them.
It's light enough, but still feels a bit chunky, like the Lumia. I found the back panel in the bright blue to look not very appealing in plastic, which made it look like a child's toy.
The device was fairly responsive, with easy scroll feature, but not as light to the touch as the Lumia and HTC models. It also comes with the standard additional features of Windows 8, such as kids corner and this model also features NFC.
As I said, no pricing or availability announced as yet.
At CES in Las Vegas this week, Panasonic unveiled a tablet to be added to CES's growing category of super-size screens.
Sitting more in the "table PC" category, than "tablet", this technology demonstration will hopefully be out later this year with a few tweaks here and there. But the 20-inch tablet impressed me more than Lenovo's Horizon 27-inch Table PC, also launched at the show this week. At only 2.4kg, it's still very weighty, but compare it to its rivals - the Sony Vaio Tap 20 is 5kg and Lenovo's Horizon is a whopping 8kg but only 7-inches bigger. I found the device easier to pick up, but I'm always quite delicate when I pick up devices of this size. When doing so I found the aluminium backing very elegant, but also very warm, a kink that Panasonic will most definitely sort out before mass production.
Panasonic claim that the device has the thinnest body with a screen of this size. It has 2 hours of battery life and at the moment the company is thinking of marketing it to photographers, architects and designers who will appreciate the large screen super high resolution screen from an artistic point of view.
The Windows 8 Pro device set up in CES also came with a special handwriting digital pen which I had a go at using, it was very responsive and was able to create hair-thin lines to chunky paint brush type strokes. The device had a Intel i5 Core processor, 128GB SSD as well as 16GB of memory.
Kyp Walls, director of product management, said that the device was set up to use Bluebeam software for architects using blueprints, it enabled users to collaborate together while working remotely. The device is still portable, he said, "because architects are used to carrying around big flat folders of designs anyway."
This week at CES in Las Vegas, Panasonic added to its line of rugged Toughpad tablets with the Windows 8 Pro 10.1-inch FZ-G1 and the Android 7-inch JT-BI.
Since 1996 Panasonic has been producing mobile computers for the mobile workforce who need to rely on a more study product that will resist dust, water, shocks when in use in the field. The two tablets join a 10.1-inch Android tablet which was broadly available last year.
Toughpads are designed for mobile workers in sectors such as military, government, construction, healthcare, public safety, utilities, retail, and maintenance to name a few.
The devices come with optional added extras such as heighten security features, electronic scanners and card readers. The new tablets are also splash proof and feature screens that are viewable in the sunlight, as well as being robust enough to survive drops and dust.
The Windows 8 Pro FZ-G1
• Operating System: Windows 8 Pro
• Processor: 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3437U vPro™ 1.9GHz up to 2.9GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
• Memory: 128-256GB SSD, 4-8GB RAM, optional micro SDXC
• Rugged: MIL-STD-810G, 4' drop, IP65, 14° to 122°F (operational temp range)
• Display: 10.1", sunlight viewable, touch screen and active digitizer, 800nit, WUXGA (1920x1200)
• Battery: 8.0 hours (user-replaceable)
• Dimensions: 10.6" x 7.4" x 0.75"
• Weight: 1.1kg
• Wireless: Bluetooth V4.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional embedded 4G LTE or 3G
• I/O: Full size USB 3.0, HDMI, optional micro SDXC, Full size USB 2.0, wired LAN, true serial port or dedicated GPS.
Panasonic claims it will survive a 4 foot drop and it wouldn't surprise me as this device, despite its rugged and therefore very clunky look, is surprisingly light at just over a kilogram, easy enough to carry about.
The FZ-G1 comes with a barcode scanner and the option of adding on e-card readers and other types of bespoke enterprise technology. Its battery is also replaceable if you run out of the included 8 hours.
The Android 4.0 JT-B1
• Operating System: Android 4.0
• Processor: TI OMAP4460 1.5GHz Dual core
• Memory: 16GB ROM, 1GB RAM, micro SDHC
• Rugged: MIL-STD-810G, 5' drop, IP65, 14° to 122°F (operational temp range)
• Display: 7", daylight viewable, 500nit, WSVGA (1024 x 600)
• Camera: Front: 1.3Mp fixed focus, Rear: 13.0Mp auto focus w/ LED light
• Battery: 8.0 hours - Large 5,720mAh battery (user-replaceable)
• Dimensions: 8.7"x 5.1" x 0.7"
• Weight: 0.54kg
• Wireless: Bluetooth V4.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional embedded 4G LTE + 3G
• I/O: Micro USB
This device is a much smaller form factor, running Android's operating system, the device itself doesn't have the capacity to run Windows 8, so it's aim at those out in the field not needing quite as much power under the hood.
This device is easily portable at half a kilogram, pop it straight into a laptop bag without noticing. It also is available with additional extras including different types of handles to grip securely to the device.
The FZ-G1 will be available from March, starting at $2,899, and the JT-B1, will ship February, starting at $1,199. At these prices they are definitely aimed at large scale operations, as smaller businesses would be unlikely to kit out the entire workforce at pushing two grand per device for Windows.
Speaking to Kyp Walls, director of product management, at CES, I asked him how he thought the Windows 8 Pro version would fair in the enterprise space which is generally not looking to adopt the new operating system straight away.
He said, "Even though it has been built for Windows 8, a fair number of our customers will buy it with a Windows 7 downgrade."
Panasonic have a Windows 7 Toughbook on the market at the moment, but the convenience of buying the new FZ-G1 is that it is around a third lighter.