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Windows 7 on a phone: the 2-hour post-PC device

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Fujitsu is launching a unique dual-mode smartphone tomorrow in Japan that doubles as a handheld Windows 7 computer. Known as the Fujitsu F-07C, the device works as a Symbian phone for standard phone use but can switch to Windows 7 (s msft) with the touch of a button, notes SlashGear. Pricing won’t be announced until the device goes on sale through NTT DoCoMo, but since the phone has some high-end hardware, it’s likely to cost far more than even the most expensive pure smartphones available today.

If that doesn’t convince folks to buy it, perhaps the “up to two hours” of runtime in Windows mode will. I’m being facetious, of course, mainly because this is as niche as a mobile device gets, and I think Fujitsu would be better off spending the R&D dollars for this product on something with stronger mass-market appeal. While the phone will surely find a small market, I can’t help but think this is the worst possible combination of product brands when it comes to a mobile device.

Symbian was fine in its day and still has a massive global following, but even Nokia,(s nok) its biggest supporter, has dumped it for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform. Speaking of Microsoft, using Windows, a desktop operating system, on a 4-inch, 1024×600 mobile device screen will be an exercise in frustration for all but the most patient. Optimized for mobile use, Windows Phone 7 is enjoyable; Windows, not so much without a mouse and full keyboard. And I suppose that Intel,(s intc) which has been claiming it will power smartphones this year, can add this as a feather in its cap.

There’s a problem though: Intel’s 1.2 GHz Atom Z600 chip is under-clocked to run at 600 MHz in the F-07C, and that won’t bring stellar performance to the phone’s Windows personality. Fujitsu could probably boost the chip to run at full speed, but the handset would then use more power and that quoted “up to two hours” of Windows runtime might be closer to one. Even worse, once you run down your battery using Windows, you’re stuck without a mobile phone.

Don’t get me wrong; the concept of a full computer in your pocket has sounded cool for years. In a world of smartphones and post-PC devices, however, this approach by Fujitsu takes a traditional computer view, and some would argue that today’s smartphones essentially are pocketable computers. It also exemplifies that some companies still don’t understand the mobile space and sadly appear destined to become mobile losers.

10 Responses to “Windows 7 on a phone: the 2-hour post-PC device”

  1. Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

    Well, Viliv got the N5 with 3G to market about a year ago, and it has a 5-6 hour battery life in pocketable size. I would not buy it (I don’t need W7 in my pocket), but this product by Fujitsu seems inferior at this point in the game anyway.

  2. Laughing_Boy48

    Wintards and their urgent need for a Windows desktop in their pocket. They’ll never learn that it’s the most stupidest idea ever. It would be easier for them just to put desktop computer-sized pockets on their pants. 99% of the consumer population would immediately hate the idea of running Windows desktop on a smartphone. Mark this smartphone as another failure in a long, long line of attempts at running Windows desktop on a hand-held device. If Fujitsu manages to sell 1,000 of these tech-nerd smartphones, color me astounded.

  3. Wait, are you saying Intel’s BEST Atom so far that is supposed to compete with ARM has to be underclocked to 600 MHZ and it STILL keeps the phone powered for only 2 hours?

    Intel is in a worse situation than I thought. They should stop competing with ARM using Atom, like right now. If they still aren’t even close to being competitive in 2011, that means they’ll waste a few more years just to improve it, but ARM won’t stand still.

  4. Stuart

    Fujitsu builds this device for the Japanese market only. They have much different needs than the US market. Their version of Symbian is not for the UI like Symbian 3 but more for the internals. It’s perfectly adequate for that. It will be nice if someone can take that device and put other OS on it.

  5. Nigel Tufnel

    Let’s see, they probably spent at least $10M on R&D and tooling on this, and they’ll probably sell, at most, about 10,000 of them, and I think I’m being charitable. So even if they sell each on for $700, it could cost Nokia about $300 for each one they sell. Great business sense, I can’t believe they’re struggling with such great ideas.