Fujitsu is taking the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend in the workplace seriously with the introduction of the Stylistic M532, an Android-based tablet that is designed to have the same consumer appeal as the iPad or Asus Transformer Prime, but with applications and features to enable it to play nicely in a business environment.
Announced in May and available now, the Stylistic M532 is a slimline 10.1in tablet with discreet styling running the Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google's mobile operating system.
It is intended to complement rather than replace the firm's Windows-based Stylistic Q550 tablet, which shipped last year and is likewise aimed at the corporate market. However, the Stylistic M532 seems to be aimed as much at end users who might otherwise be tempted by Apple's iPad as those holding the purse strings for business procurement.
With its quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 1GB memory and 32GB built-in storage, the Fujitsu tablet bears comparison with most high-end tablet models on the market today, but it also has a few extra features to make it appeal more to business customers.
These include Nitrodesk's Outlook-compatible Touchdown HD client, the ThinkFree Mobile for Tablet office suite, a set of remote screen clients for accessing virtual desktop sessions, Norton Tablet Security, plus built-in support for the Absolute Computrace remote tracking and lockdown service.
While many of these can easily be purchased and downloaded from Google Play, Fujitsu has effectively done the work for you, making it much easier for professional users to get up and running right out of the box.
The device can also be managed by Fujitsu's Managed Mobile service, which enables administrators to remotely configure and manage a range of mobile devices.
As befits a device aimed at mobile workers, the Stylistic M532 has integrated mobile broadband supporting 3G/HSPA+ download speeds up to 21MBit/s, in addition to 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
We were mostly very impressed with the Stylistic M532, but there are one or two things about it that should be mentioned. The first is that the tablet has a plastic casing rather than the machined aluminium of the Asus Transformer Prime, no doubt to keep the weight down.
The second is that the Stylistic M532 exhibited some quirks that suggest there are still kinks in the software for Fujitsu to iron out. For example, the device spontaneously rebooted a couple of times during our tests, and when connected to a Windows PC via USB, it occasionally dropped the connection when its display timed out.
However, these issues only manifested themselves during the first few hours of our tests, performing faultlessly for the rest of the time we used it.
Having said that the device is constructed from plastic, it actually feels reassuringly solid to hold, and does not seem like it would break easily. It does have a metal band around its edge that probably offers some protection against knocks.
At 560g, the Stylistic M532 is lighter than either the Asus tablet or Apple's iPad, so that you barely notice it when carrying it around in a backpack or briefcase. But the device may still prove tiring to hold and use in one hand for any length of time, which goes for any tablet.
With its Tegra 3 processor, the Stylistic M532 certainly feels responsive, opening applications swiftly and responding instantly to fingertip swipes, and a sample MP4 video pre-loaded on the device by Fujitsu played as smoothly as any we have ever watched.