Panasonic today added a tablet UMPC to its rugged Toughbook line. Sure, you could buy six Asus Eee PCs and still have some walking around money left for the price of one $2,499 Toughbook CF-U1, but we doubt you'll grab your lunch pail and Eee PC and head down to the mine. Panasonic's latest Toughbook is, of course, built for use in the field. It's "engineered for the walking worker," according to Panasonic, and comes loaded with features.
The 5.6-inch LED backlit LCD touch screen is designed for viewing in direct sunlight, and below it is a backlit thumb keyboard divided by a number pad and arrow keys in its middle. On the right side, you can see a hand strap, but should you choose not to tether yourself to the Toughbook CF-U1, you can rest easy knowing it's been engineered to survive a four-foot drop and to resist rain, spills, dust, and vibration. It ships with two batteries, which, according to Panasonic, adds up to 9 hours of running time. The unit measures 7.2 inches wide by 5.9 inches deep by 2.2 inches high. It weighs a trim 2.3 pounds, which includes lugging around both batteries. It's completely fanless and uses a solid-state hard drive and an Intel Atom CPU, all of which should aid battery life.
In addition to a 2-megapixel Webcam and fingerprint scanner, it also features barcode and RFID readers and GPS. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G-mobile-broadband are also onboard. Many of these features are listed as options, so they most likely will add to the $2,499 price. Panasonic expects the Toughbook CF-U1 to ship in August.
Full specs after the break.… Read more