Panasonic gets rugged with Atom: 4-foot drop approved!

Today Panasonic introduced the U1, an Ultramobile ruggedized handheld Toughbook designed for on the go computing. Created for in-the-field professionals, the super durable notebook weighs in at just over 2 lbs. By using Intel’s Atom processor the U1 gets a full-blown processor, allowing for a full-featured OS.

Panasonic announced the new notebook onstage today at IDF, marking the point by throwing it at Anand Chandrasekher, GM of the Ultra Mobility Group at Intel. After letting an “Oh shit” escape, the audience heard a few examples of BP testing the Toughbook in the field.

By using GPS, workers could trace locations of needed supplies, whether it be in the field or in inventory. With easy-to-use buttons, the unit could be operated even with gloves on. Connecting to a wireless network, updates could be made real-time in the field, without needing to retreat to an internet-enabled device.

I got a chance to play around with the lightweight notebook, and the thing really does feel sturdy. Of course I wanted to drop it to make sure it could still work, but they wouldn’t let me. (Ok, I didn’t ask – maybe they would have.) Anyways, I can totally see this thing standing up to real world conditions – it’s pretty solid.

Specs after the jump.

* Intel® Atom™ Processor Z520 1.33GHz, 533MHz FSB, 512KB L2 Cache
* Integrated options: barcode and fingerprint scanners, camera, GPS, and 3G mobile broadband
* Up to 9 hours of battery life
* Hot-swappable twin Li-Ion batteries
* Solid State Drive
* MIL-STD-810F and IP54 compliant — four-foot drop, rain-, spill- and dust-resistant
* 5.6″ LED touchscreen — sunlight viewable with 1024 x 600 WSVGA
* Backlit QWERTY keyboard with zoom and scroll
* Ultra-lightweight 2.3 lbs

Give it a throw, here. (4 feet or less, please)