back to article Fujitsu unveils new laptops 'optimized for remote work' – erm, isn't that what laptops have always been for?

Fujitsu's PC unit has announced a new range of laptops it says are "optimized for remote work". That's a claim that rather caught our eye here at The Register, seeing as laptops were conceived of as a product that enables remote work and haven't really deviated from that since. So we decided to dig into just what Fujitsu PC, …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    Nope missing an obligatory element

    If this were a true remote working solution it would have a coffee machine attached to it. And probably a fridge magnet as an authentication device.

    Fujitsu Marketing must really be full of complete numpties if this was there best effort at creating a selling point. Remote working has its own constraints and none of which are covered here.

    1 : must have a damned good DSL or Fibre connection.

    2 : the company must have an even better fibre connexion. And a good VPN / Firewall.

    3 : anti virus must be good, computer must be locked down to Company standards or only RDP allowed through firewall.

    4 : the company should already have a no paper policy.

    5 : good to have a dedicated space at home

    6 : the list can go own for a long time...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Nope missing an obligatory element

      I have no idea why you are banging on about bandwidth and implying Internet connections. I use a simple dial-back modem connection for more than 95% of my remote work.

      Dial up to work system from home, login & password, work system signs out & dials back the telephone number assigned to that login & password combo, and asks for another password. Connection made, encryption optional. Simples. And no Internet inherent lack of security to worry about. What's not to like?

      1. ZenaB

        Re: Nope missing an obligatory element

        "What's not to like?"

        The bandwidth for one, I'd imagine..?

      2. Steve Todd Silver badge

        Re: Nope missing an obligatory element

        That MAY work for character based systems (heck, when I started out we had an entire team of devs sharing a single 64K link to a remote IBM3090), but dial-up systems are FAR too slow for modern graphical environments. Even a 512K link can be painfully slow for that, and these days I’m happy enough with an 80Mbit link, but that requires VPN, multi-factor authentication etc as it’s just not practical to buy a team of devs their own dedicated lines. It’s the fact that the internet is packet switched and shared that makes this kind of peak bandwidth at all practical.

      3. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Nope missing an obligatory element

        jake> I use a simple dial-back modem connection for more than 95% of my remote work.

        How quaint. Do you party like it's 1999 too?

        [Secretly wishing I could go back to using Pine...]

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Nope missing an obligatory element

      All of those except 3 are optimisations in the infrastructure and environment, not the laptop itself. What I consider to be a laptop optimised for home working is one designed not for portability, but one on which one can work the full workday at home. Battery life should not be a particular consideration, it's going to be plugged in all day.

      So effectively we're talking desktop replacement : large, high-quality screen, excellent keyboard that includes numeric keypad etc.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. james 68

      Re: Nope missing an obligatory element

      Funny you should mention a fridge magnet as an authentication device.

      I used To work for an ISP and the pencil botherers decided that every internal door should have magswipe security which doubled as timecards and basic workplace snooping. My domain in the server room and "control suite" already had good old fashioned pin number locks.

      Cue much frustration and general gnashing of teeth as people forgot their ID cards at home or on their desks.

      Until some scruffy intern in the web design department discovered that using any magnet from any of the memo boards liberally distributed around the company would open any door with a quick swipe down the card slot.

      Bloody expensive but about as secure as a politicians moral compass.

    4. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Nope missing an obligatory element

      You've also missed:

      7: external monitor so you can see what you're doing, and/or

      8: a stack of books to prop your laptop on so it's raised to a proper eye level, to save your neck

      9: External keyboard & mouse.

      Oh fuck it - might as well have a desktop.

  2. jake Silver badge

    Alternate viewpoint.

    "seeing as laptops were conceived of as a product that enables remote work and haven't really deviated from that since."

    For almost 20 years now I've been selling laptops as desktops in order to save my clients money on their power bills. The vast majority of these laptops are permanently chained to a desk.

  3. SecretSonOfHG

    As you may have not noticed lately

    For a number of reasons, a lot of corporate office space is built around the idea of everyone having a laptop, even if that laptop does not ever go outside the office. There are many advantages of building a fleet of laptops vs. dropping dumb terminals across the office. Among them:

    1- Laptops can be moved to meeting rooms, cafeteria, office lobby and other spaces where no one would have ever though that people would like to work. That is an additional plus of flexibility. The usual alternative to laptops is dumb terminals, which require a network port, keyboard, monitor and mouse anyway. Replace the dumb terminal with a docking station and you have a seat that can be used by anyone with his own laptop, even someone from outside the company.

    2- These dumb terminals get quite expensive when you add up the cost of the massive server farms and bandwith necessary to support the 9:00 AM login rush. And your mobile workforce needs laptops anyway, so you're going to incur the expense of building the corporate image and deploying the standard tools on these machines anyway.

    3- Offices are no longer able to host the full headcount, it is assumed that there is always a percentage of the people that for a number of reasons (company policy of "two days a week", sick leaves, people travelling) work from somewhere else. Depending on the location (London?), square meter of office space is costly enough to make this later point a significant saving.

    In the end, corporate sees that, except for harsh environments or high end engineering machines, it makes sense and is cheaper on the long run to build a laptopt for everyone. Even if half of them will never step outside HQ.

    Hence laptop manufacturers used to corporate accounts are quite right in seeing mostly laptops in the offices, even if they don't see them much outside. Agree that from the outside it seems absurd to promote laptops as a good fit for "remote working" when they were supposedly created with that use in mind, but this is where things are today.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As you may have not noticed lately

      This.

      The company I work for has issued laptops out for at least the last 5 years for this reason and a few more besides (much easier to repair/replace faulty machines when laptop sized).

      It's also why the ones we got all came with docks as standard.

      Annoyingly though because they're so locked down for security it means all devs have 2 laptops.. One Corp machine and another to actually work on (currently running a 6 year old mac book pro, which I doubt a similarly priced lenovo would get the same resale value when I finally get an upgrade, but I'm holding out until I know I can get one with a working keyboard).

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    Never let a good crisis go to waste

    Marketing wonks love to have any reason to wheel out the same old promotional material.

    Washing machine detergents have been washing whiter every year since my Dad bought a telly in the fifties, I'm sure nothing was radically different from one year to the next but if you say it's better enough times, someone will believe it.

  5. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    "optimized for remote work"

    My first laptop was optimized for remote work - it had a built-in 1200 baud modem!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "optimized for remote work"

      So was my old Nokia Communicator with its 9600 baud modem and that wasn't a laptop. It wasn't even a smartphone.

  6. Tony Gathercole ...
    Facepalm

    Project Athena ?

    Did anybody else do a double-take and miss the "Intel" qualifier and wonder why new laptops needed to have anything to do with the getting on for 40 year old MIT Project Athena?

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "laptops that can survive for nine hours on a single battery charge"

    Doing what ? Typing memos ?

    This kind of declaration is completely useless. If you're editing video on a laptop, there's no way it can last nine hours on battery. Even if you're just watching videos, I highly doubt it.

    1. Steve Todd Silver badge

      Re: "laptops that can survive for nine hours on a single battery charge"

      Just watching videos these days is a hardware accelerated activity (mainly by the GPU) with little work required by the CPU. You shouldn’t have much problems getting 9 hours of viewing time. There are some hardware based encoders (Quick Sync from Intel for example), but they tend not to be as good as software so editing on batteries would likely be a no no.

  8. Blackjack Silver badge

    Laptops were originally made to have a portable computer you could take anywhere. It wasn't until the late 90s that "remote work" started to become common. And even then it wasn't really practical until Internet services started to become cheaper and faster.

    Of course that does depend on your definition of remote work.

  9. HildyJ Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Fujitsu

    Fujitsu used to be an innovative company that produced quality laptops.

    In years past, before Fujitsu got sold to Lenovo, I seriously considered buying one myself as a portable PC but decided to go with a ThinkPad, also innovative and also before it got sold to Lenovo.

    Nowadays Lenovo is still innovative but only under their own brand and Fujitsu has become little more than a step up from generic.

    BTW, their marketing wasn't any better then that it is now.

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