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Fujitsu to launch Blu-ray, HD-DVD equipped PCs in June

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Fujitsu Ltd. hasn't taken sides in the next-generation DVD format battle, and as such it plans to launch in late June a desktop PC with a Blu-ray Disc drive and a laptop PC with an HD-DVD drive, the company said Tuesday.

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 desktops, 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 25G bytes or 50G bytes capacity, she said. The machine combines a 37-inch 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 Corp. Pentium D 820 processor, has 1G byte of memory and a 600G-byte hard-disk drive.

The FMV Biblo NX95S/D laptop has a 17-inch widescreen XGA+ (1,400 x 900 pixels), which is slightly less than full 1080 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 and the computer has 1G byte of memory and a 320G-byte hard-disk drive.

Neither computer will be cheap. The desktop will cost around Ľ600,000 (US$5,064) while the laptop will cost about Ľ400,000, said Hirasawa. At present Fujitsu has no plans to sell them overseas.

Earlier this week Toshiba Corp., 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 17-inch widescreen LCD panel but it has a higher resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels (WUXGA). The machine is due on sale in Japan, Europe and the U.S. and in Japan it will cost about the same as the Fujitsu laptop.

Sony Corp., 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 Wednesday.

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