Panasonic Updates Fully-rugged Convertible Tablet PC

Panasonic's new Toughbook 19, which can weather six-foot drops, rain, and sand, now has an Intel Core i5, Windows 7 Professional, and a Qualcomm GOBI2000 mobile broadband module.

Daniel Dern, Contributor

June 1, 2010

4 Min Read

Panasonic's new Toughbook 19, which can weather six-foot drops, rain, and sand, now has an Intel Core i5, Windows 7 Professional, and a Qualcomm GOBI2000 mobile broadband module.Tablet computers, with their touch-sensitive displays, let people use computers like electronic clipboards or drawing pads. "Convertible" tablets, where the display can swivel and fold over the keyboard-holding chasses, can weigh a little more than a regular tablet, but offer more flexibility, since they can also be used as a regular keyboarded notebook.

For applications and environments where a regular business/consumer-class machine isn't robust or protected enough, Panasonic introduced on May 24, 2010 a new model of its Toughbook 19 convertible tablet PC.

Although there are no absolute industry standards (or even standard terms), "business rugged" typically means "can survive being dropped from typical table/desk height" -- whether that's with the display open or shut depends on the vendor. If nothing else, it tends to imply the hard drive has acceleration, motion or shock sensing sufficient to park the drive, plus other shock mounting. And it may -- or may not -- mean that the keyboard can survive a cup of coffee or soda being spilled (or poured) on it.

Models tolerating even an even greater and wider range of abuses get called "semi-rugged" to "fully-rugged." (There are standard tests and designations for certain aspects, like resisting wind, sand, rain, cold, heat, etc., e.g., the U.S. Department of Defense's MIL-STD810G, and "Ingress Protection" -- IP -- ratings that define how much and what "foreign bodies" -- fingers, tools, water, dirt, etc., an enclosure will keep from getting in.)

Two of the big challenges in "ruggedizing" mobile/portable gear are that it typically adds to the weight, bulk and price, and, because higher IP ratings mean no openings for exhausting heated air (to keep components from overheating), processors usually have to be lower-powered, and therefore lower-performance.

The Toughbook 19 uses a magnesium alloy case, shock-mounted hard drive, and has a UL1604 Class I Division 2 certification, and, according to Panasonic, is "optimized to operate in hazardous and mission-critical environments."

The new model which now uses an Intel Ultra-Low-Voltage (ULV) Core i5-540UM vPro processor (1.2Ghz, up to 2.0Ghz using Turbo Boost) and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology and Intel Virtualization Technology, with Windows 7 Professional (with the XP downgrade option), 2GB of DDR3 RAM (expandable to up to 8GB), and supports both multi-touch as well as digitizers, so you can use fingers, gestures, or an electronic stylus pen.

Weighing in at 5.1 pounds and rated for up to 9 hours of battery life, the Toughbook 19 has a 10.4" LED backlit display, choice of 160GB SATA hard drive (shock-mounted, quick release) or 128GB SSD), 802.11a/b/g/n, with optional GOBI and WiMAX mobile broadband.

Optional integrated features include camera, GPS receiver, fingerprint reader, SmartCard reader, backlit keyboard, dual antenna pass-throughs, and a lock for the hard drive and battery.

The Toughbook 19 has an IP65 certification, which means you should be able to use it in extreme weather like heavy rain or sand storms, and the display brightness can be adjusted from 2 nits, adequate in very dark places, to up to 1,000 nits, suitable for use in direct sunlight.

The Panasonic Toughbook 19 is available now with estimated street price starting at $3,399.

Earlier this year, Panasonic introduced its Panasonic Toughbook C1 rugged convertible tablet, intended for mobile workers including those in healthcare, field service, sales and education; its Toughbook H1 Field rugged tablet computer; and Panasonic Toughbook 31 fully-rugged notebook, for use by military personnel, first responders, military personnel, and field workers in industries like utility, energy, and telecom.

Ruggedized computers, including "business-rugged ones," may cost more than regular consumer and business machines, but for road and even corridor warriors, but the greater in-service time is likely to repay the investment. And, of course, if you need to use the computer somewhere that a less rugged one won't work -- or would quickly break or fail -- a semi-rugged or fully-rugged machine means you can take it with you.

Don't Miss: Panasonic Simplifies Notebook WWAN Provisioning, Switching With Gobi2000

About the Author(s)

Daniel Dern


Daniel P. Dern is an independent technology and business writer. He can be reached via email at [email protected]; his website,; or his technology blog,

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