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Fujitsu to launch Blu-ray, HD-DVD PCs

Hedging its bets

Fujitsu hasn't taken sides in the next-generation DVD format battle, planning a late-June launch for a desktop PC with a Blu-ray Disc drive and a laptop PC with an HD-DVD drive, the company said yesterday.

The format decision was largely one of necessity, said Miho Hirasawa, a spokeswoman for Fujitsu in Tokyo. At present, Blu-ray Disc drives are available only for desktop systems, while HD-DVD drives exist only for laptops, thus the selection, she said. She declined to name the drive manufacturers.

The drive in the FMV-Deskpower TX95S/D desktop will be a Blu-ray Disc reader/writer compatible with pre-recorded movie discs and recordable and rewritable data discs of 25GB or 50GB capacity, she said. The machine combines a 37in LCD (liquid crystal display) panel monitor with a computer in a single case and is designed to look like a flat-panel TV. It includes a digital TV tuner, HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) input connector and is based on an Intel Pentium D 820 processor, has 1GB of memory and a 600GB hard-disk drive.

The FMV Biblo NX95S/D laptop has a 17in widescreen XGA+ (1,400x900), which is slightly less than full 1,080 high-definition available from HD-DVD. There's a video-output socket on the laptop, but that's limited to standard definition so there is no way of watching content in full HD quality. At its heart is an Intel Core Duo T2300 processor. The computer has 1GB of memory and a 320GB hard-disk drive.

Neither computer will be cheap. The desktop will cost around ¥600,000 (about £2,900) while the laptop will cost about ¥400,000 (£1,950), said Hirasawa. At present Fujitsu has no plans to sell them overseas.

Earlier this week Toshiba, which is the main backer of HD-DVD, laid out plans to sell an HD-DVD equipped laptop in mid-May. The Qosmio G30 also has a 17in widescreen LCD panel but it has a higher resolution of 1,920x1,200 (WUXGA). The machine is due on sale in Japan, Europe and the US and in Japan it will cost about the same as the Fujitsu laptop.

Sony, which is the major force behind Blu-ray Disc, is planning to launch desktop and laptop PCs with Blu-ray Disc drives in the middle of this year, it said today.

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