Panasonic toughens up the Toughbook series, unveils the Toughbook F8, adds new features to the T8, W8

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Step right up, get your plug-in Jeep


Today, Panasonic unveiled the latest rugged Toughbook in Tokyo, the F8. If you’re unfamiliar with the Toughbook series then take notice because these laptops are built like tanks and deliver on all the features you’d expect and want. The F8 can claim a world’s first by being the lightest 3G-ready 14.1-inch widescreen notebook, too. See that handle?

The F8 is not only equipped with Gobi 3G WWAN (which will come with proprietary carrier selection software that let’s you pick your carrier of choice), but it only weighs 3.7 pounds and it comes with an internal optical DVD writeable drive because those aren’t dead yet. It’s built to meet military specs for ruggedness and these things really are like tanks. I’ll have video and images from the factory where they’re made later on. The latest Toughbook is equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo proc, handles up to 4GB of RAM (comes with 1GB standard), and a 160GB shock-mounted HDD. It also boasts a six-hour battery life on top fo the magnesium alloy body, spill-resistant keyboard and flexible internal connectors. The F8 will be available in November and starts at $2,499.

The Toughbook T8 and W8 were updated today with Gobi and a new power management system that Panasonic developed alongside Intel, which is better explained in the press release than my sleep deprived, jetlagged mind can comprehend at the moment.

In order to optimally run the more powerful Intel processors in the small and lightweight 8 Series mobile PCs, engineers from Panasonic and Intel developed a proprietary implementation of Dynamic Power Performance Management technology, which dynamically controls key devices operation to find optimal balance between thermal limits and performance. The Hybrid Cooling System within the 8 Series incorporates a compact fan design as well as a user-adjustable fan utility to help manage fan speed based on ambient conditions and the performance required.

The W8 sport a 12.1-inch LCD, weighs roughly three pounds and comes with equipped with an Intel C2D proc, 1GB of RAM (expandable), 120GB HDD and seven whopping hours of battery life. It’s the perfect size for coach class seats on a plane. This too will be available in November starting at $2,099.

The T8 is the tablet variation and has a 12.1-inch touchscreen LCD, which also includes a rubber hand strap near the hinge and a stylus. It weighs 3.3 pounds and comes with a 120GB HDD, 1GB of RAM and seven hours of battery life. Availability and pricing are the same as the W8.

Oh, and if you think these are expensive then think about how many notebooks road warriors will have to go through because they can’t handle the bumps and bruises. Here are some numbers that should sway your IT department and sway any general consumer for that matter. The failure rate for business notebooks is 24 percent annually whereas the Toughbook line is under three percent. And they come with a 3-year limited warranty and lifetime US-based phone support. Talk about that around the watercooler.

Panasonic Toughbook F8
• Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor SP9300, 2.26 GHz (6MB L2 cache, 1066 MHz FSB)
• 1GB DDR2 SDRAM standard, expandable to 4GB
• 160GB HDD, shock-mounted
• Integrated DVD Multi Drive
• 14.1″ 1280 x 800 WXGA anti-glare TFT active matrix color LCD
• TPM Security Chip, v1.2
• Intel® WiFi Link 5100 802.11a/b/g/draft-n
• Genuine Windows Vista™ Business (with XP downgrade option)
• Dimensions: 9.9″(L) x 12.8″(W) x 1.0″/1.9″ front/rear (H) (without protrusion)
• Weight: Approximately 3.7 lbs
• Battery life: Approximately 6 hours
• Wireless on-off switch (WWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth)
• Bluetooth® v2.0 + EDR
• Optional integrated Gobi(TM) 3G global mobile Internet (EV-DO and HSPA)

Panasonic Toughbook W8
• Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor SU9300, 1.20 GHz (3MB L2 cache, 800 MHz FSB)
• 1GB DDR2 SDRAM standard, expandable to 4GB
• 120GB HDD, shock-mounted
• Integrated DVD Multi drive
• 12.1″ 1024 x 768 XGA anti-glare TFT active matrix color LCD
• TPM Security Chip v1.2
• Intel® WiFi Link 5100 802.11a/b/g/draft-n
• Genuine Windows Vista™ Business (with XP downgrade option)
• Dimensions: 8.4”(L) x 10.7″ (W) x 1.4”/1.9” front/rear (H)
• Weight: Approximately 3.3 lbs
• Battery life: Approximately 7 hours
• Wireless on-off switch (WWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth)
• Bluetooth® v2.0 + EDR
• Optional integrated Gobi(TM) 3G global mobile Internet (EV-DO and HSPA)

Panasonic Toughbook T8
• Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor SU9300, 1.20 GHz (3MB L2 cache, 800 MHz FSB)
• 1GB DDR2 SDRAM standard, expandable to 4GB
• 120GB HDD, shock-mounted
• 12.1″ 1024 x 768 XGA anti-glare TFT active matrix color LCD with touchscreen
• TPM Security Chip v1.2
• Intel® WiFi Link 5100 802.11a/b/g/draft-n
• Genuine Windows Vista™ Business (with XP downgrade option)
• Display Image Rotation software
• Dimensions: 8.4”(L) x 10.7″ (W) x 1.4”/1.9” front/rear (H)
• Ergonomic rubber hand strap
• Weight: Approximately 3.3 lbs
• Battery life: Approximately 7 hours
• Wireless on-off switch (WWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth)
• Bluetooth® v2.0 + EDR
• Optional integrated Gobi(TM) 3G global mobile Internet (EV-DO and HSPA)

We’ll have a hands-on shortly. But they can all be found here.

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