Pansonic's line of Toughbook laptops is already pretty extensive, but it's getting more so: Panasonic's just come up with the 8-series of "business-rugged" notebooks. The F8, T8 and W8 all come with a Gobi 3G mobile broadband system built in for roaming internet access. The F8 is being called the "world’s lightest 3G-ready notebook with a 14.1 inch wide display and an internal optical drive," weighs 3.7 pounds and has spill-resistant keyboard and integrated handle. The W8 is an ultraportable with 12.1-inch screen, 7-hour battery, and the T8 is similar but with tablet PC options. All are designed to withstand more than the usual share of knocks and bangs, and rugged businesspersons will be pleased to note they're out November for $2,100 for the W8 and T8 and $2,500 for the F8. Extensive press release below.
Secaucus, NJ, September 25, 2008 – Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, manufacturer of durable, reliable Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computers, today announced major updates to its business-rugged notebook computer line with the introduction of the thin-and-light F8 and upgrades to the tablet alternative T8 and the ultraportable W8 for road warriors, walking workers and mobile executives. 8 Series Toughbook mobile computers will also include the Gobi 3G mobile broadband (WWAN) solution from Qualcomm Inc. that allows connection to high-speed mobile Internet services offered by leading network operators virtually anywhere in the world. These innovative business computing solutions are based on Panasonic’s more than fifteen years of engineering and manufacturing robust notebook computers that deliver the durability, reliability and connectivity essential to keeping government and business professionals working wherever and whenever they need to. “The growing trend of portability in computers–lighter weight, longer battery life, advanced wireless capabilities–needs to be balanced by true durability,” said Daniel Longfield, industry analyst, mobile and wireless, Frost & Sullivan. “Highly mobile government, enterprise and small business users need reliable connectivity to drive continued productivity. Panasonic’s proven business-rugged notebooks enabled with Gobi address this requirement.” The Panasonic Toughbook F8 Adding to the business-rugged basic concept of delivering lightweight and durable systems with long battery life, the new Toughbook® F8 is the world’s lightest 3G-ready notebook with a 14.1 inch wide display and an internal optical drive. Weighing 3.7 pounds, the Toughbook F8 has an integrated handle for maximum portability. The handle is tested to the same standard as the flagship rugged Toughbook 30 handle, which is used in the most extreme computing environments. With the Intel ® Core™ 2 Duo processor, up to 4GB of RAM, bright widescreen LCD and a 160GB shock-mounted hard drive, the new F8 is the ideal tool for the road warrior who needs both an extremely portable and high performance PC. “Panasonic Toughbook business-rugged notebooks are engineered for the truly mobile professional. We have designed these notebooks to offer industry-leading portability, durability and wireless connectivity–a necessary combination for today’s workers on the move,” said Kyp Walls, director of product management, Panasonic Computer Solutions Company. “Reliability is an issue that is coming into the mainstream with a lot of talk about computers being ‘rugged’. While many vendors appear to be making moves in the direction of improved durability, most business notebooks are still seeing annual failure rates in the double digits.” “We believe users with demanding jobs should demand more from their PCs,” added Walls. “Panasonic leads the industry in reliability by engineering and building our notebooks to be durable from the inside-out. We add to that a three-year warranty and an around-the-clock US-based support team to give the highest possible return on investment and lowest total cost of ownership.” A New Level of Performance and Wireless Flexibility Built with the real-world challenges of today’s mobile user in mind, the Intel ® Core™ 2 Duo processor W8, T8 and F8 notebooks offer an ideal combination of the latest computing power, light weight (from 3. to 3.7 lbs) and long battery life—all protected by proven durability that is engineered throughout. Like all Toughbook notebooks, the business-rugged 8 Series notebooks have strong magnesium alloy cases and chassis, shock-mounted hard drives and LCDs, spill-resistant keyboards and flexible internal connectors for additional protection. In addition, the 8 Series business-rugged products offer a range of embedded wireless options for anytime, anywhere connectivity, including 802.11a/b/g/draft-n and Bluetooth 2.0. The 8 Series will ship with optional embedded GobiTM 3G technology. Gobi-enabled products, along with Panasonic’s Carrier Selection Application (CSA) software and more than a decade of experience embedding wireless antennas in notebooks, allow seamless selection between mobile broadband carriers and simplified international roaming within a single embedded device. The Panasonic Toughbook 8 Series will be certified on all major networks worldwide, allowing workers to stay connected regardless of network availability in their current location and whether the network is using CDMA2000 EV-DO or HSPA/UMTS/GPRS technologies. The Panasonic CSA will allow IT administrators maximum flexibility in the management of wireless notebooks. Gobi is designed to lower IT procurement, qualification, support and management costs. Advanced Power Management In order to optimally run the more powerful Intel processors in the small and lightweight 8 Series mobile PCs, engineers from Panasonic and Intel developed a proprietary implementation of Dynamic Power Performance Management technology, which dynamically controls key devices operation to find optimal balance between thermal limits and performance. The Hybrid Cooling System within the 8 Series incorporates a compact fan design as well as a user-adjustable fan utility to help manage fan speed based on ambient conditions and the performance required. Real World Testing In addition to performance, people on the go need a mobile computer that can survive the drops, bumps and spills associated with constant travel. The vast majority of business notebooks lack the brawn to survive a hectic travel schedule. The new business-rugged Toughbook® notebooks are more durable than any other business notebook. The Mil-spec methodology outlines a procedure by which units are dropped onto plywood on 26 different sides, to test rugged performance on every corner, edge and surface. The 8 Series business-rugged Toughbook notebooks successfully survived drops of 12” for the unit itself and 30” for the shock-mounted hard drive. Additional Panasonic drop-testing requires that 8 Series notebooks survive a 30” (just over the typical height of a desk or table) drop to the base of the unit while it is operating. The unique Panasonic spill-resistant keyboard design protects against liquid spills of about 6 ounces (200 cc), and both the lid and base of the notebooks are designed to withstand more than 220 lbs (100 Kg) of pressure. In addition, Panasonic’s commitment to quality—at both the component and finished goods level—results in a total of more than 500 checks and tests during and after production. Business-Rugged Panasonic Toughbook Notebooks Toughbook F8: Desktop Computer Capabilities in an Extremely Portable Package The world’s lightest 3G-ready computer with a 14.1 inch wide display and internal optical drive, featuring an integrated handle, the Panasonic Toughbook F8 thin-and-light notebook weighs 3.7 pounds and delivers approximately 6 hours of battery life. The Toughbook F8 notebook includes a built-in DVD Multi drive, Intel® Core™ 2 Duo standard voltage processor, 1 GB SDRAM (expandable to 4GB) and 160 GB hard drive. The F8’s larger widescreen makes it suitable for presenting to small groups while still being portable enough for road warriors. Panasonic Toughbook W8: Ultraportable Notebook for the Mobile Professional The ultraportable Panasonic Toughbook W8 notebook, with its integrated DVD Multi drive, 12.1 inch anti-glare LCD, and weight of approximately 3 pounds, is ideal for mobile professionals. Equipped with an ultra-low voltage Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor, 1 GB SDRAM (expandable), 120 GB hard disk, and battery life of approximately 7 hours, the W8 is as useful on an airline tray table as it is in the board room. Panasonic Toughbook T8: A lightweight Tablet PC Alternative Designed with input from “walking workers,” the Toughbook T8 notebook is a tablet-alternative notebook with a touch screen, stylus and screen rotating software. The system features a 12.1 inch touch-screen LCD and convenient rubber hand strap. Equipped with an ultra-low voltage Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor, the 3.3 pound T8 provides an 120GB hard drive and 1 GB SDRAM (expandable) and delivers up to 7 hours of battery life, depending on operating environment. Security Options Vital for Mission-Critical Computing The Panasonic Toughbook 8 Series notebooks all provide significant data security features including trusted platform module (TPM) security chip v. 1.2, the Computrace theft protection agent in the BIOS, a cable lock slot, password security and an optional fingerprint scanner. The T8 was designed without an optical drive, enhancing data security in highly sensitive environments such as healthcare. Superior Warranty, Support and Professional Services Every Panasonic Toughbook notebook includes a standard three-year limited warranty and free access to 24/7/365 U.S.-based phone support for the entire life of the product. The Panasonic call center hold time averages less than one minute. In addition, in the unlikely event of a hardware-related failure, Panasonic covers the cost of overnight shipping to and from its national service center, where the average turnaround time for repairs is less than two days. Panasonic also offers a full range of professional services to support customers during and after deployment. Pricing and Availability The 8 Series Panasonic Toughbook notebooks will be available beginning in November 2008 at an estimated base street price of $2,099 (W8 and T8) and $2,499 (F8). All Toughbook notebooks can be purchased from authorized Panasonic Toughbook resellers nationwide. Please visit www.panasonic.com/toughbook for more information. Detailed Product Features and Specifications* Panasonic Toughbook F8 • Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor SP9300, 2.26 GHz (6MB L2 cache, 1066 MHz FSB) • 1GB DDR2 SDRAM standard, expandable to 4GB • 160GB HDD, shock-mounted • Integrated DVD Multi Drive • 14.1" 1280 x 800 WXGA anti-glare TFT active matrix color LCD • TPM Security Chip, v1.2 • Intel® WiFi Link 5100 802.11a/b/g/draft-n • Genuine Windows Vista™ Business (with XP downgrade option) • Dimensions: 9.9"(L) x 12.8"(W) x 1.0"/1.9" front/rear (H) (without protrusion) • Weight: Approximately 3.7 lbs • Battery life: Approximately 6 hours • Wireless on-off switch (WWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) • Bluetooth® v2.0 + EDR • Optional integrated Gobi(TM) 3G global mobile Internet (EV-DO and HSPA) Panasonic Toughbook W8 • Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor SU9300, 1.20 GHz (3MB L2 cache, 800 MHz FSB) • 1GB DDR2 SDRAM standard, expandable to 4GB • 120GB HDD, shock-mounted • Integrated DVD Multi drive • 12.1" 1024 x 768 XGA anti-glare TFT active matrix color LCD • TPM Security Chip v1.2 • Intel® WiFi Link 5100 802.11a/b/g/draft-n • Genuine Windows Vista™ Business (with XP downgrade option) • Dimensions: 8.4”(L) x 10.7" (W) x 1.4”/1.9” front/rear (H) • Weight: Approximately 3.0 lbs • Battery life: Approximately 7 hours • Wireless on-off switch (WWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) • Bluetooth® v2.0 + EDR • Optional integrated Gobi(TM) 3G global mobile Internet (EV-DO and HSPA) Panasonic Toughbook T8 • Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor SU9300, 1.20 GHz (3MB L2 cache, 800 MHz FSB) • 1GB DDR2 SDRAM standard, expandable to 4GB • 120GB HDD, shock-mounted • 12.1" 1024 x 768 XGA anti-glare TFT active matrix color LCD with touchscreen • TPM Security Chip v1.2 • Intel® WiFi Link 5100 802.11a/b/g/draft-n • Genuine Windows Vista™ Business (with XP downgrade option) • Display Image Rotation software • Dimensions: 8.4”(L) x 10.7" (W) x 1.4”/1.9” front/rear (H) • Ergonomic rubber hand strap • Weight: Approximately 3.3 lbs • Battery life: Approximately 7 hours • Wireless on-off switch (WWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) • Bluetooth® v2.0 + EDR • Optional integrated Gobi(TM) 3G global mobile Internet (EV-DO and HSPA)