Panasonic toughens up Toughbook

Government agencies have their choice of another rugged notebook, the Toughbook CF-29, which Panasonic Computer Solutions Co. of Secaucus, N.J., released this week with new touch-screen technology and wireless connectivity.

Weighing in at 7.9 pounds, a pound less than the Toughbook CF-28, the new notebook is Panasonic's first rugged unit to incorporate Intel Corp.'s Centrino wireless chip. It houses a 1.2-GHz Pentium M processor, a 40G hard drive and RAM from 256MB to 768MB.

The Toughbook, which meets Military Standard 810-F for shock and vibration, has a touch-screen that is 25 percent brighter than the company's previous notebooks.

It supports IEEE 802.11b wireless LAN, Bluetooth, General Packet Radio System, Code Division Multiple Access, Global Positioning System and wired analog modem service. The notebook's four rugged internal antennae switch from one wireless network to another.

A company spokesman said the unit is priced around $4,000.

Panasonic, however, has much competition in the Centrino notebook market. Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. and Acer America Corp. of San Jose, Calif., also offer the chip in portable products.

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