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SwitchBack UMPC Unveiled

Black Diamond Advanced Technology will show off its SwitchBack PC, a rugged, ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC) at booth South 4 37014 during CES.

The SwitchBack is built to exceed military specifications for ruggedness so it can be used in harsh environments, the company said. The computer is powered by an Intel 1GHz Celeron M processor, 1GB of DDR2 memory, 60GB hard drive and Wi-Fi; it can run on Windows XP, Mobile, CE and Linux and is built around a 5.6-inch touch screen display. The unit is too small for a full-sized keyboard, 7.5 inches by 5.5 inches by 2 inches, but there is a small thumb keyboard for entering data.

Black Diamond said the primary differentiator for the product is the module design. The computer has an expansion mount on its back where the user expand its functionality by attaching modules containing additional processors, hard drives, batteries, GPS receiver, digital camera or even a laser range finder. Using these modules, a company can reconfigure a single Black Diamond to handle several tasks by simply switching the module.

The SwitchBack will ship during the first quarter of this year; pricing has not yet been set. The initial market will be military, field service, utilities and transportation companies.