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Panasonic Flashes ‘Business-Rugged’ Toughbook

Now, the business or government traveler can benefit from Panasonic’s years of ruggedization research.

Panasonic’s Toughbook laptops have been in patrol cars, military units, and industrial roles for years. Now, the business or government traveler—facing the tough environment of airports, hotels and taxis—can benefit from Panasonic’s years of ruggedization research with a sturdy unit that doesn’t look like it belongs on a battlefield.

The new CF-F8 is drop-tested to 2.5 feet (unlike the 36-inch drop rating for the traditional Toughbooks).

It’s made of super-light magnesium and is Panasonic’s first thin laptop with a handle.

The company has also been excited about its ever-improving regular old Toughbooks. The full-sized CF-30 has boosted its hard drive from 80 GB to 160 GB, brightened the screen and expanded the battery life by 40 percent.

For law enforcement on patrol, it also offers a one-touch “concealment” mode, instantly turning off the screen and all the miscellaneous LED indicators on the unit, so the lights don’t give away the officers’ presence.

Panasonic Toughbook Arbitrator plus laptop

Panasonic also notes that its experience in the Toughbook realm continues to make the units good choices; for example, the company has not changed its in-car Toughbook mounts in some 10 years, allowing installation of new computers without any work on the car.

At FOSE in Washington, Panasonic also showed its Toughbook Arbitrator, a system including the in-car camera, a remote, wearable mic for the officer, and a computer with a small display resembling a GPS unit. It uses solid-state storage, and Panasonic is looking at connecting it with even smaller cameras.

Panasonic also has a handheld Toughbook for medical applications, the H1, a unit that can be completely sanitized.

Panasonic CF-U1

The company has also been touting a super-mini handheld computer with an Intel Atom processor, a bar-code reader, a fingerprint swipe reader, and a 2-megapixel camera. The CF-U1 includes a convenient zoom function on the small screen, making it easy to read dense documents like spec sheets; it’s becoming popular in helicopter and military vehicle repair bays, according to Panasonic.

It’s drop-tested to 48 inches.

Panasonic engineers destroy about 1,000 Toughbooks a year to find improvements, a company spokesman said.