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Jan 14 2014

One Size Does Not Fit All: Fujitsu’s Shell Concept for Tablet PCs

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Over the past four years, tablet computers have redefined the concept of mobile computing: devices like Fujitsu's STYLISTIC family of products make data and applications accessible from almost anywhere and serve up a truly "ubiquitous" experience. Unfortunately, so far this also meant that users had to put up with one standard product design that didn't leave many expansion and customization options. Fujitsu's new Shell Concept now overcomes this limitation.

The sales figures for 2013 tell it all. According to both Gartner and IDC, tablets are still the fastest-growing hardware platform; Gartner even predicts they will outsell desktops and notebooks within the next two years. The trend is mainly driven by users in emerging markets who continue to replace legacy platforms with more modern, easier-to-use technology. In North America, Europe and Japan, however, the markets are maturing rapidly. Consequently, vendors will have to expand the core platform and add in differentiating factors that make tablets suitable for a larger variety of application scenarios and environments. Fujitsu's Shell Concept, now available with the new, 10.1-inch STYLISTIC Q584 and the 12.5-inch STYLISTIC Q704, is one such differentiating factor.

Different Housings for Different Purposes
As outlined above, the core idea behind the Shell Concept is to make tablet PCs more versatile, so that they may be offered in various vertical markets, i.e. to specific customer groups. To achieve this, the STYLISTIC Q584 and Q704 can be ordered in three different 'outfits' as Build-to-Order options:

  • The Standard Shell is for regular usage scenarios and includes standard features, namely the semi-ruggedized, dust- and waterproof housing. STYLISTIC tablets with a Standard Shell are best suited for environments such as forwarders or laboratories, where devices need to be ultra-mobile, but the hardware has to be protected against damage resulting from largely hostile surroundings.
  • The Functional Shell adds a VESA mounting interface, that is, a set of four tapped holes that fit the base plate with VESA bearings to accommodate standard VESA-ready accessories. As a result, the STYLISTIC Q584 and Q704 may be easily placed on walls and other vertical surfaces. Moreover, the VESA bearings also leave room for a hand strap, which not only makes the tablets easier to carry around, but also limits the risk of them slipping from a user's hands to the floor. The Functional Shell comes in particularly handy wherever users need the flexibility to use standard VESA-ready accessories, for example in the automotive industry, for sales clerks filling store shelves, or during monthly and annual inventories. It is available on a project basis.
  • Users dealing with sensitive data and critical applications will benefit from the SmartCard Shell. As the name suggests, this shell adds a card reader for secure, hardware-based identification and authentication. However, due to the nature of this extension, devices that ship with a SmartCard Shell are not dust- or waterproof and fit best into standard office environments, e.g. in hospitals and healthcare facilities and wherever else access control and data protection are of paramount importance. Or they can serve as read units for insurance and other ID cards in doctors' offices or at local DMV bureaus. Additionally, the SmartCard Shell also supports the base plate for VESA accessories, thus combining the security of a SmartCard with the flexibility of a VESA-ready system.

At the moment, the Functional Shell and the SmartCard Shell are the only expansion options available with Fujitsu's STYLISTIC Q584 and Q704 tablets. But given the speed at which these systems – and tablet PCs in general – mature, this is only a first step towards vertical platform integration. Consequently, you will see more Shell Concepts emerge throughout the year.

Please let us know what you think about the Shell Concepts introduced above. Are there any other usage scenarios that require specific Shells, and if so, what would they have to look like?

 

Markus Seifart

 

About the Author:

Markus Seifart

Product Marketing Manager Mobility, VDI Solutions and Competitive Product Analysis Workplace Systems at Fujitsu Technology Solutions

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