Panasonic's Toughbook notebook computer, in its military-qualified form, is already used in operational systems such as L-3's Rover. However, users have asked for a more portable version, and Panasonic has introduced a new model, the Toughbook U1. It is on show at the Association of the US Army convention in Washington DC.
Weather-resistant and designed to survive a four-foot drop test - "the engineers in Japan destroy thousands of computers every year", brags a Panasonic marketing guy - the U1 is the first production computer to use Intel's Atom processor. Included in the 2.3 pound package (including batteries) are integrated 3G and WiFi networking, two hot-swappable batteries with 9 hours running time, a camera, a bar-code scanner and a fingerprint scanner for user identification.
One literally cool design feature: the U1 is designed to radiate heat from the screen, rather than generating unwelcome toastiness in the proximate parts of the user's anatomy. It's hot enough out there as it is.