A laptop the size of a handheld is how Panasonic Computer Solutions describes the new Toughbook U1, a full PC running Windows XP or Vista, yet weighing less than 2 lbs. The ultra mobile PC (UMPC) is powered by the Intel Atom processor, which provides full PC speed and capabilities with low-power requirements for extended battery life.
Other specifications for the newest Toughbook include a 5.6-in. LCD touchscreen with 1024 x 600 resolution, a full QWERTY keyboard with mouse, a 16GB or 32GB solid state hard drive, a built-in speaker, dual hot-swappable batteries, an SD memory slot and USB ports, all packaged in a 7-in. x 5.75-in. x 2-in. case. A vehicle docking cradle is also available with standard PC ports and an extra battery charger.
The range of integrated options for the U1 includes bar code readers, GPS receiver, still and video cameras, fingerprint reader and a variety of wireless modems. Like all Toughbook PCs, it has a fully sealed ruggedized and spill-resistant case, and comes with a standard 3-yr. warranty.
“This is an evolutionary leap forward in the world of mobile computing,” says Bill Presler, sr. business development manager for Panasonic. “In the past to get the handheld size, you had to compromise service with a small processor or settle for short battery life. Now you can run the same operating system – Windows – on your handhelds that runs businesses around the world.”
Battery life for the new UMPC is expected to be over six hours with a wireless modem and full display brightness, Presler says. “With the hot-swap features and dock recharger, the U1 was designed to be turned on in the morning and stay on all day,” he says.
Because it’s a fully functional PC, the U1 will find applications in long-haul trucking as well as P&D, direct store delivery and other more common applications for handhelds, according to Presler.
Panasonic expects to have limited release of the U1 in August, with full availability in September.