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May 26 2015

“Accessorize Your Device”: How Extras Make Mobile Devices More Productive


Notebooks, 2 in 1s and tablets all have one advantage in common: they enable users to work from wherever they want at any time they choose. These devices accompany their users at all times and closely accommodate individual work styles. Fujitsu's comprehensive selection of accessories adds features and functionalities that personalize the user experience.

Five years after the iPad debut and 20 years after the first smartphone release, analysts are starting to tone down their traditionally optimistic forecasts for the mobile device market. Earlier this year, both Gartner and IDC predicted that tablet sales would only grow by a one-digit percentage during 2015. In addition, Gartner's forecast from January said there'd be moderate gains in other device groups, including ultrabooks and "hybrids" (read: 2 in 1s), bringing the grand total to a 3.9% sales growth for the entire client market.

Regarding the slowdown in tablet sales, the research firms had similar-sounding explanations to offer: according to IDC, smaller tablets in particular often don't provide enough functionality for productive use, whereas Gartner cites an "extended lifetime" per device and a "lack of innovation in hardware" as main factors that keep customers from buying new tablets. In other words, although tablets are much easier to operate than traditional hardware, they often lack key capabilities required for productive use. This problem, however, will eventually occur on all mobile devices, regardless of size, operating system, or input method. And that's precisely why Fujitsu has tackled the issue early on by offering a comprehensive selection of useful add-ons that substantially enhance the capabilities of all our mobile devices, whether they are notebooks, Ultrabooks, tablets or 2 in 1s.

Common Problems and Their Solution
Problems with mobile devices typically fall into one of four categories. The first and most important group of issues is performance-related and results from hardware limitations. The second encompasses characteristics that limit the flexibility of a mobile device, such as a lack of ports or options to connect to power outlets. The third group is 'scenario-related,' meaning problems may arise as a consequence of adverse working conditions like exposure to dust, humidity, or vibration/shock. The fourth and final category has to do with convenience and includes less serious restrictions that do not affect a device's performance or usability, but our customers' willingness to work with it. Fujitsu's portfolio of accessories covers all these aspects – and most cases in between:

  • Performance limitations: Typical issues in this category are restrictions on memory speed, battery runtime, and storage capacity that mainly affect notebooks. To overcome unwanted caps on runtime and disk space, we introduced the modular bay concept – various models from our LIFEBOOK series of notebooks come equipped with a free space that may either house a second battery or a second HDD, depending on whether customers need to extend their working hours or write more data to disk. Users who rely on optical media can add a BD or DVD drive instead. And even when none of the above is needed, the modular bay still makes sense; on these occasions, users can simply insert a weight saver that makes their LIFEBOOKs easier to carry around. Moreover, all LIFEBOOKs in the E7, E5, S9 and A5 Series offer access to critical components such as RAM in order to improve its performance on that part. Even in a field where access to components is very uncommon, in Ultrabooks™, we have created the exception, LIFEBOOK U745 (pictured above) that allows users and service partners to upgrade performance-related components.
  • Lack of flexibility: Missing interfaces and port connectors can seriously harm the usability of mobile devices, especially if they're meant to serve as desktop replacements that need to connect to various peripherals and networks. To solve this issue, Fujitsu offers a multitude of port replicators, cradles and docks that provide a wide variety of plugs for printers, scanners, external storage and ODDs (via USB 2.0/3.0 and/or eSATA) as well as external displays (via VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort), plus jacks for Ethernet/LAN, audio in/out, and charging. In order to enable hot desking or shared desk scenarios, we have introduced our family port replicator, which can host a multitude of 8 different devices, the LIFEBOOK E7 Series, E5 Series, U745, T725 and CELSIUS H730, covering various product concepts from notebook to 2 in 1 and mobile workstation. – For companies that require even more flexibility to attach whatever kind of notebook or tablet to a port replicator, we offer the USB port replicator PR08 that not only provides a host of ports, but also sophisticated security functions like MAC spoofing capabilities to enhance privacy and HDCP for AV content protection.
  • Adverse working conditions: Working with tablet computers gives users utmost mobility. While this is very much desired, it also means that these devices often see environments outside the office, like warehouses, labs, construction sites or hospitals, which are unsuitable for electronics at best. That's why in 2014 we came up with our "Shell Concept" of BTO options– the idea to fit tablets into different housings for different purposes. Each housing, or shell, would help to prevent damage and/or enhance productivity and data security. For instance, the semi-ruggedized Standard Shell keeps out dust and humidity and provides a certain level of shock resistance. SmartCard Shells are equipped with a SmartCard reader that allows for hardware-based user identification and authentication, thus protecting sensitive data and critical applications against unwanted manipulation. With the aim of providing even more flexibility combined with industry-specific individualization options, we introduced the Smart Shell Concept for the STYLISTIC V535 Industrial. This design lets users exchange the battery and, more importantly, replace a part of the back cover with shells that add extra functionality. For example, the Smart Shell for Mounting enables forklift and truck drivers to attach their tablet to the arm of their machine or the wall inside their cab. Other Smart Shells afford higher security or ePayment functionality.
  • Lack of convenience: Sometimes, all it takes is a small add-on to make working with a notebook or tablet a whole lot easier. Many people are uncomfortable with trackpads – why not give them a USB mouse instead? Using a tablet at the office can be awkward and slow – or smooth and simple with an attachable keyboard. Road warriors who travel abroad a lot almost always need various power or AC adapters in slim or normal format for different countries. And of course there's always the issue of transportation – nobody wants to keep a laptop or tablet under their arm all day, so a case, backpack or sleeve is always welcome. For industrial use in verticals, we offer a broad range of accessories to make our devices 100% fit-for-purpose; covering cases, frames, shoulder straps, hand straps, and more. Finally, with today's mobile devices being extremely lightweight and easy to steal, nearly everyone has use for security locks that provide theft protection. You can find all of these add-ons in our accessories portfolio.

Partner Benefits
Adding Fujitsu Accessories to your portfolio helps you create new business, most notably cross- and up-selling opportunities or the chance to offer pre-configured solutions for special working environments, and thus additional revenue streams.

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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