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Jun 30 2016

Reinventing 2 in 1s: New FUJITSU STYLISTIC Family Members Address Business Needs

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Since 2010, tablet computers have served as representatives of the so-called digital lifestyle – devices people could carry around to prove they belong to a new, tech-savvy hipster crowd. A year later, they were a fixture at business meetings and helped shape the concept of BYOD, often to the dismay of IT departments that regarded them as uncontrollable devices and hence additional security risks. Today, this particular debate belongs to the past; however, many devices used in business scenarios are designed for consumers and still don't have what it takes to succeed in modern, demanding business scenarios.

Fujitsu's approach to the topic on the other hand was different. Because of our long heritage in tablet computing for business customers, we always saw the then-"new mobiles" as a platform technology that would help professionals from all industries improve the way in which they carried out their jobs. We developed tablets and 2 in 1s that were adaptable to various use cases: examples include healthcare, where ultra-portable yet disinfectable devices provided nurses and doctors with real-time access to electronic medical records, and retail, where they served as mobile points of sales. Our positive reaction to what was then considered a groundbreaking technology may have surprised customers and competitors alike, but in fact there was little to be astonished about – after all, Fujitsu had introduced predecessors of today's carry-around devices as early as 1992.

The long tradition of building state-of-the-art mobile devices and handhelds has also contributed strongly to Fujitsu's concept of human-centric ICT and innovation. In this context, modern hybrid devices and tablets are perfect vehicles to advance the digital transformation of the enterprise: thanks to continuous improvements in CPU and RAM design as well as battery technology, they are now much more powerful than they used to be, with capabilities that suggest a crossover of the Tricorder, Communicator and Universal Translator from the Star Trek universe. This is especially true with regard to our most recent additions to our tablet and hybrid product line, the FUJITSU STYLISTIC R726 and FUJITSU STYLISTIC Q736, which not only have a fair share of nerd appeal, but also the potential to support business scenarios that were previously considered a bad fit for hybrids and tablets, e.g. in aviation, financial services or manufacturing and many other fields that seemingly require the power of a PC. Then again, we must admit that both models probably have more in common with 'real computers' than with the class of devices they belong to: not only do they feature sixth-generation Intel® Core™ processors (aka Skylake), but also up to 8 GB of main memory and M.2 or SATA III SSDs with up to 512 GB storage space – the kind of kit you'd expect in a device made for serious professional use. Still, there's enough left to marvel at regarding typical tablet features. Let's now look at the details.

FUJITSU STYLISTIC R726
The FUJITSU STYLISTIC R726 was designed to bring "unlimited usability and productivity" to the world of 2 in 1s. To better understand this, we have to consider how such devices usually work: all tablets and even a majority of 2 in 1s are essentially 'born' as mobiles that support a matching work style. The problem with this approach is that it limits the usefulness of the products, and so a number of enhancement options (e.g. additional ports, slots, connectors etc.) are bolted on at a later date. As a result, changing from one usage scenario to another is often awkward and slow, and thus hampers user productivity. By contrast, our product developers decided to break with design conventions and create a device that has all the required flexibility built in. Consequently, the STYLISTIC R726 follows a multi-mode concept in which the tablet stand, magnetic keyboard and cradle are all integral parts of a design that makes it as easy as possible to switch from tablet to notebook to desktop experience and all the way back in a matter of seconds.

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Fig. 1: Multi-mode tablet with attachable magnetic keyboard: the FUJITSU STYLISTIC R726

But a flexible design isn't the only differentiator that sets the STYLISTIC R726 apart from the competition. As a 2 in 1 made for business, it has to build on more powerful components than ordinary tablets and hybrids, in this case sixth-generation Intel® Core™ processors and up to 8 GB of main memory to deliver maximum performance. For our top-of-the-line models, we even use Core i7 processors that support vPro Technology, i.e. a set of built-in threat and identity protection capabilities as well as local and remote monitoring and repair functions, thus effectively adding a layer of enterprise-grade security and manageability you won't normally find in other tablets and hybrids, even if they're labeled as business class. In other words, your customers get a device that delivers desktop performance in a tablet/2 in 1 housing.

To further enhance the working experience, the STYLISTIC R726 offers a genuine plethora of features that goes far beyond anything you'll find in mainstream devices. It starts with a 12.5 inch (31.8 cm) display that strikes a perfect balance between mobile and stationary work modes as it's easy to carry around but also has enough screen real estate to be ergonomic to work on if it's used as a notebook or desktop for extended periods of time. Moreover, unlike comparable products the STYLISTIC R726 is not only available with conventional glare displays; instead, customers may choose the anti-glare option that enables users to work under any kind of ambient lighting conditions, including outdoors or fully illuminated offices, without distracting screen reflections. Even better, the graphics experience on the R726 matches the display technology since every edition of the FUJITSU STYLISTIC R726 comes with an integrated Intel® HD Graphics 520 processor and a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) internal display. Along with the latter, this graphics unit also supports two external displays, yielding 4K resolution via its HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces on the cradle, but can of course also use the mini DisplayPort on the tablet. A magnetic keyboard that can be attached or detached in virtually no time and a tablet stand with a 135° tilt angle only add even more comfort.

It almost goes without saying that our new flagship 2 in 1 provides the best possible mobile experience and therefore comes with a host of connectivity options, namely WLAN, 4G/LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and Intel's Pro Wireless Display (WiDi) technology. LTE is a main differentiator simply because our biggest competitor in the business 2 in 1 area still doesn't support the technology – and thus, fast data transfers and affordable data plans. From a usability perspective, NFC and WiDi are also of particular interest: combined with a contactless SmartCard, NFC adds an elegant path for secure authentication, while Wireless Display technology lets users connect to any kind of enabled receiver – for example, projectors or TVs – to run perfect presentations in the meeting room. Further smart features that contribute to and expand the flexibility of the STYLISTIC R726 include a Dual Digitizer that supports 10-finger touch and pen input, in this case with an active pen that enables audit-proof signatures, and UC&C capabilities. Last not least, users requiring the full set of desktop capabilities may always plug the STYLISTIC R726 into the matching cradle and connect to peripherals like external displays, mouse, keyboard, printers, DVD drives etc. The video below gives a compact overview.

Important as they are, all of these hardware features would be worth little without an operating system to support them. That's why we opted for Windows 10 Pro, which not only fits best with our concept of a business-class 2 in 1, but allows us to further enhance this device's functionality. For instance, Windows 10's Continuum feature automatically adjusts the user interface depending on whether or not a keyboard is attached, enabling users to seamlessly switch between tablet and notebook or desktop mode. And the integrated Edge browser lets them add notes to web pages with either keyboard or pen, instead of having to print out those pages or worse, keeping tons of notes but losing track of the page they refer to.

From talks with our channel partners we have also learned that businesses and IT departments often refuse to deploy tablets and 2 in 1s because they lack upgrade and repair options. In contrast, the STYLISTIC R726 was designed to provide optimum serviceability: practically any component can be replaced with an identical or better one through our global network of channel partners.

Use Cases
Given this thorough reworking of the tablet concept, it is only logical that the FUJITSU STYLISTIC R726 adapts to a large number of use cases that were previously considered too demanding for such a device. As mentioned above, this model in fact suits a wide range of industries and verticals and may successfully be deployed to accommodate one of the following scenarios:

  • Banks and asset managers can use them to devise financial development plans, collaborating with customers at their home while still being able to remotely access and work with data and resources stored centrally or at a branch office. In addition, this will enable them to build fully-digitized, paperless environments where applicable.
  • Airlines and their flight captains can switch from carrying large and heavy documentation to a fully digitized Electronic Flight Bag that provides all information needed, like maps, checklists, aircraft manuals in a modern application cockpit. Moreover, flight attendants may tick off items on their pre-flight checklists, register passengers or tag inventory and baggage while on the go, thus enabling better, faster services and minimizing or eliminating issues with lost or misplaced suitcases.
  • Business professionals can move their entire office into the digital world. The digital pen and digital ink allow digitization of meeting notes and scribbles, audit-proof signatures can be done directly on the tablet, thus enabling a truly paperless office.
  • Sales processes can be faster and more efficient than ever before. Sales staff will be able to access crucial customer data in the CRM whenever needed, present catalogues and information on the tablet and even do the entire order contract right away when at the customer, even with a audit-proof digital signature.

This of course is only a small selection of possible usage scenarios. But the STYLISTIC R726 will easily adapt to almost any other kind of job your customers may come up with.

For more information, please refer to the product page and data sheet.

The FUJITSU STYLISTIC Q Family
While the STYLISTIC R726 is definitely our most complete and versatile 2 in 1, one should not forget it's part of a larger product family that includes devices of almost any form factor and size that are suitable for almost any role customers want them to play – from serving strictly as a companion device to a desktop or notebook to acting as a full-on replacement in companies that aim to transform workflows from the ground up and truly digitize their business. A particularly capable and important family member in this latter context is the STYLISTIC Q736, which we introduced earlier this year. It also is a 2 in 1 that belongs to the same performance class as the STYLISTIC R726, but takes a very different approach towards security, in fact providing the most thorough security features in the market:

  • Data and user security are enhanced through a variety of biometric authentication options and hardware protection mechanisms. Most important among these is that the Q736 can be delivered with an integrated FUJITSU PalmSecure vein scanner that is virtually impossible to deceive and was therefore chosen as authentication solution by Japanese banks. Customers who can afford to rely on less secure procedures may instead opt for a conventional fingerprint or SmartCard reader. Moreover, as you would expect this tablet also supports 2-factor authentication, combining biometrics with SmartCards.
  • Regardless of authentication method, every STYLISTIC Q736 has Workplace Protect preinstalled, a specially developed software that ensures a user's ID and access rights are confirmed before the system even boots up, thus preventing adversaries from 'seizing' the device and compromising confidential information.

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Fig. 2: The FUJITSU STYLISTIC Q736 (here with optional palm vein scanner) provides the most thorough security features in the tablet/2 in 1 market

The most visible difference, however, is the detachable keyboard, which is available in two different versions: with interfaces or with interfaces and a second battery to enhance the device's runtime, thus ensuring that data can still be saved when the regular workday is over. Its 13.3 inch (33.8 cm) Full HD IPS display will be very welcome among users who generally prefer conventional working scenarios, but nonetheless demand tablet-typical mobile capabilities every now and then. What's more, the STYLISTIC Q736 even supports 4K resolution on external displays via HDMI.

For more details, please see the product page and data sheet.

Availability and Price
The FUJITSU STYLISTIC R726 and FUJITSU STYLISTIC Q736 are available immediately. Prices vary depending on configuration and region.

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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