Weighing only 4.3 pounds, Panasonic's new Toughbook features a CD-ROM drive

Weighing only 4.3 pounds, Panasonic's new Toughbook features a CD-ROM drive

Taking aim at government users who want a durable but not necessarily military-rugged notebook PC, Panasonic Personal Computer Co. has integrated a CD-ROM drive into its slimline Toughbook 37.

The 4.3-pound, notebook has a 366-MHz Celeron processor, 64M of RAM expandable to 192M, 12.1-inch active-matrix touch screen, 10G hard drive, 24X CD-ROM drive, built-in 56-Kbps modem, touchpad pointer and one Type II PC Card slot. Options include an Ethernet port and a DVD-ROM drive. It's priced at $2,699.

The Toughbook 37 comes with a magnesium-encased LCD, magnesium-alloy lower frame and case, rugged hinges and shock-mounted hard drive. John Harris, vice president of marketing, says Panasonic is patenting the magnesium construction, which extends beyond the case into the mounting system for the drives and system board.

The touch screen display can be flipped 180 degrees with a software tool for interactive viewing. The presenter faces the keyboard while the viewer sits across the table and sees the display right side up on the folded-back screen.

Extra hours

The unit's multimedia pocket, which normally holds the CD-ROM drive, can also accept an optional Imation Corp. LS-120 SuperDisk drive or an extra battery pack. The extra battery extends operating time to about six hours, Harris said.

Theresa Nozick, an industry analyst with researcher Mobile Insights Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., said the Toughbook 37's internal media bay is unusual in a machine only an inch thick. Panasonic's emphasis on ruggedization has served it well, bringing 67 percent growth in unit sales in the last year, Nozick said.

More information about government and military contracts carrying the Toughbook line appears on Panasonic's Web site, at www.panasonic.com/toughbook.

Contact Panasonic at 800-662-3537.

'Mark A. Kellner


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