Panasonic Produces ‘World’s First’ Rugged Hybrid

By Tom Allen
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A fully rugged, convertible laptop has been introduced by Panasonic – which says that it is the world’s first such unit. The Toughbook 20 features the reliability of the Toughbook brand and the flexibility of hybrid devices.

The 10.1″ touch display (1920 x 1200, IPS panel) has 800 cd/m² of brightness, and is described as sunlight-readable. It can also be used while wearing gloves, or with the supplied waterproof stylus.

Built for challenging environments, the Toughbook 20 meets the MIL-STD-461F and MIL-STF-810G requirements. These mean that it is protected from electromagnetic interference, as well as drops, shocks, vibrations, explosive atmosphere, temperature, humidity, rain and sand. Water and dust cannot enter the housing, as the tablet is also IP65-compliant.

A magnesium alloy case, fanless design, locking port covers, raised bezel, SSD heater and handle (which doubles as a kickstand) further emphasise the tablet’s use in industry.

Multiple options are available, such as a bridge battery enabling battery hot-swap; a second battery (also 2,600mAh, like the main battery) located in the keyboard (which can be swapped to the main tablet); a true serial port; magstripe reader; 1D or 2D barcode reader; dedicated GPS; and 4G multi-carrier modem.

Users can take advantage of six modes: laptop, tablet, flip, convertible, carry and vehicle.

A 1.1GHz Intel Core (Skylake) processor runs Windows 10 Pro, or Windows 7 Professional. 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage are also installed. Security features include the basic Windows and Intel functionality, as well as options such as insertable or contactless smartcard readers and/or fingerprint readers.

HDMI, VGA, serial, RJ45 and USB (one powered) ports are featured on the tablet. Panasonic will begin to sell the Toughbook 20 in February, for $3,100.

Analyst Comment

We heard from a reporter that went to the launch event for this product that the keyboard is very solid-feeling, but that the anti-glare treatment of the display meant unimpressive visual impact – surprising to us given the brightness, but we didn’t get details. Nor were they impressed with the front or rear cameras. (BR)