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Panasonic Upgrades Toughbooks

9/25/2008 02:55:00 PM Eastern

Secaucus, N.J. — Panasonic updated its Toughbook line of rugged business computers with the introduction of its 8 series models

The new Toughbooks feature a new F8 along with next-generation upgrades to its tablet alternative, the T8, and its ultraportable device, the W8.

The F8 is 3G-ready and offers a 14.1-inch widescreen LCD display and an internal optical drive at a weight of 3.7 pounds. It has an integrated handle to increase portability. Internally, it features an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, up to 4GB of RAM, and a 160GB shock-mounted hard drive. The device is said to offer approximately six hours of battery life.

The W8 offers an integrated DVD Multi drive, a 12.1-inch anti-glare LCD display and weighs approximately 3 pounds. It features an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of RAM (which can be expanded), a 120GB hard disk drive and offers a battery life of approximately seven hours.

The T8 is said to be designed for “walking workers,” Panasonic describes it as a “tablet-alternative notebook.” It offers a 12.1-inch touchscreen LCD, a stylus and screen rotating software. It is equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of RAM (also expandable), a 120GB hard drive and also delivers about seven hours of battery life.

Like the rest of the Toughbook line, the new models feature the line’s magnesium alloy cases and chassis, shock-mounted hard drives and LCDs, spill-resistant keyboards and flexible internal connectors.

Each of the 8 Series devices offer a range of embedded wireless options including 802.11 a/b/g/draft-n and Bluetooth 2.0; Qualcomm’s Gobi 3G mobile broadband service will be available as an option.

In terms of power management, the 8 series models will incorporate Dynamic Power Performance Management technology, developed by Panasonic and Intel to control “key devices operation to find optimal balance between thermal limits and performance,” said Panasonic. The machines’ Hybrid Cooling System is said to incorporate a compact fan design and a user-adjustable fan utility for managing fan speed based on conditions and required performance.

For security, each notebook has trusted platform module (TPM) security chip v1.2, the Computrace theft protection agent in the BIOS, a cable lock slot, password security and an optional fingerprint scanner.

Each model is covered by a standard three-year limited warranty and each comes with free access to 24.7 US-based phone support.

The 8 Series Toughbooks will be available in November with estimated street prices starting at $2,099 for the W8 and T8 and $2,499 for the F8.

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