The CF-U1, the first ultra-mobile PC in the Toughbook product line, is 7 inches wide, 6 inches deep, and 2 inches high. The device has a 5.6-inch touch screen that viewable in sunlight and a Qwerty keyboard. The computer is powered by Intel new low-energy Atom processor and comes with 1 GB of memory.
Data capture options include barcode and RFID readers and a 2-megapixel camera. The computer comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, with 3G support optional. The machine is available with Windows XP or Windows Vista.
The all-weather CF-U1 is fan-less for quieter operation and includes hot-swappable batteries for replacing power supplies without disrupting operation. Approximate battery life is nine hours. The device, which weights 2.3 pounds, has a magnesium alloy chassis that protects against bumps and drops of up to 4 feet.
The Toughbook CF-U1 is scheduled to be available in Panasonic resellers and distributors in August. Pricing starts at $2,499.
Panasonic is one of many vendors offering rugged computers for field workers. Dell (Dell), for example, in March introduced its first notebook for government and commercial customers looking for a computer that can withstand extreme temperatures and moisture.
The Latitude XFR D630 includes a 14.1-inch LCD screen, but is available with an optional touch screen that supports finger, gloved, or stylus inputs. The system is powered by a 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 processor, and comes standard with 512 MB of RAM, Windows XP Professional, and a 160 GB hard disk drive. Solid-state drives are also available.
The XFR D630, which is certified by the Department of Defense for extreme field conditions, costs between $2,699 and $4,000, depending on configuration.