HP goes rugged

Hewlett-Packard Co. today joined the ranks of shockproof notebook makers with the magnesium-cased Rugged Tablet PC tr3000 and the Rugged Notebook nr3600.

'We listened to public-sector customers' in the military and public-safety and intelligence agencies, said Ramona Thibeault, HP's vice president of business notebooks. 'This is the first time HP has been in the truly rugged market.'

The computers have been tested for compliance with Mil-Spec 810F and meet dustproof and waterproof requirements, said Ben Thacker, manager of HP's mobile rugged computing. The 7.9-pound, 12.1-inch notebook has a shock-mounted, removable 40G hard drive; the 3.7-pound, 8.4-inch tablet's similar drive is not removable.

Thibeault said government discounts have not yet been set for the $4,099 notebook or the $3,449 tablet. Both systems have Pentium processors, 256M of RAM standard and run under Microsoft Windows XP. Also included is iCareMobility software to make wireless roaming easier.

The most unusual feature, Thacker said, is an architecture designed for easy migration to IEEE 802.11a, 802.11g and other types of wireless LANs and WANs.

'The Common Radio Module Architecture puts the radio in its own protected bay, away from the electrical noise inside the computer,' he said. The user can swap PC Cards or radio modules as connectivity needs change. Both systems can accept up to three radio-frequency modems at once.

Thacker said HP provides services such as spare batteries and repairs under a standard three-year warranty covering the case, connectors and components.


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