At first sight, Poqet Computer Ltd’s prospects do not look promising: every week seems to see the arrival of another notebook machine, competitively priced and with the might of a Toshiba Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, Compaq Computer Corp or IBM Corp behind it. Furthermore, a lot of those machines boast 80286 or 80386 chips and some […]
At first sight, Poqet Computer Ltd’s prospects do not look promising: every week seems to see the arrival of another notebook machine, competitively priced and with the might of a Toshiba Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, Compaq Computer Corp or IBM Corp behind it. Furthermore, a lot of those machines boast 80286 or 80386 chips and some even offer 40Mb of memory. What is more a price war is just heating up with both Compaq and Toshiba cutting prices over the last few weeks. So is Mike Harrison, managing director of the UK Poqet operation and international vice-president, a worried man? The Poqet PC is built around the 80C88 chip running at 7MHz with 640Kb ROM and 512Kb RAM, but it does have two advantages over its more powerful rivals – it weighs 1 lb, against an average weight of 6.5 lbs for the others, and it has an average battery life of 25 hours as against four hours. As Harrison puts it do notebook users need the power of the 80386SX? From his viewpoint, Poqet is one of the few truly portable computers and let’s face it portability does have more to do with weight and battery life than go-faster stripes. Harrison is targeting the Poqet PC at the field automation market. One part of this market is the delivery driver, who, when armed with a Poqet PC, can do the job of the route salesman by capturing shelf information and putting the next order in. Another market for the Poqet PC is the financial services market where agents are building up direct sales forces. So far the company has sold a few thousand units, mainly into big companies for pilot projects. Harrison says that it will take a few quarters for these firms to come through with serious contracts. He also thinks that Poqet will win a lot of accounts from vendors selling rugged, proprietary, small-screen, hand-held bricks. Companies that bought rugged hand-held computers are now looking to upgrade to MS-DOS, suggests Harrison. Applications for the Poqet are simply developed on the XT and downloaded onto a card. As for distribution, Poqet is working with a number of value-added resellers in the field sales automation market and has no intention of building up a large direct sales force. Harrison believes that the particular market that he is targeting with the Poqet PC is a far more focused approach than that offered by certain other rivals which are simply attempting to sell small computers in the high street. Field automation is admittedly a niche market, but Harrison believes that it is a large niche market. He forecasts that if Poqet corners 5% of this niche by 1993 it will be a billion dollar company. Fujitsu Ltd currently owns 47% of Poqet’s shares and is taking a long-term view of the market.
Fujitsu radio modem
It is particularly interested in developing a radio modem to offer the Poqet PC as a data interception point on corporate networks. Poqet acquired the software development company Delta Logic a year or so ago, which has a high-level language called Entryway for writing interfaces to MS-DOS. At present this development team is beavering away creating a user-friendly front-end for time and information management systems. Poqet may also license Entryway to other companies. So what about rival products from companies such as Hewlett-Packard? I have no worries about competing head-to-head said Harrison.