Panasonic's set to release an updated 7-series version of their Toughbook laptops that can drop 76 centimeters, or 2.49 feet, while on and still function correctly. Although 2.5 feet isn't all that tall, it's about the height of the average desk, which means you can safely launch the so far Japan-only Intel Santa Rosa-based laptops onto the ground and still be able to work some spreadsheet magic afterwards. No US pricing or availability yet. [PCWorld]
Panasonic is hardly ready to "throw" their toughbooks anywhere, except maybe onto a pile of pillows.
What Panasonic hides in their weasily lawyer speak is that most of their units are "designed" to meet MILSPEC, not certified for MILSEPC. Go to any trade show... ask to drop one of their toughbooks. They'll turn it off, latch the case shut, and let you drop it from exactly 3 feet, exactly horizontal. Threaten to throw it and they'll freak out.
Want to take it outside and toss it in the fountain? "Sorry, they're designed to withstand water, but designed to be used under water." Huh?
Even Garmin is clever enough to bring a tub of water to store their rugged GPS units. Want to try one out? They'll let you fish it out of the tub. When you're done, just THROW it back in.
We've quit using the "Toughbooks". Their failure rate was just too high. Our non-rugged Dell's last longer and withstand mistreatment better than toughbooks (and that's a really sad statement).
Want to use your toughbook outdoors? Don't let it get dusty or it'll fail (it's only "sealed" when off and closed).
Want to get it wet? Make sure it you turn it off, close the case, and remove any USB accessories or you'll flood the motherboard.
Want to drop it? Make sure it doesn't hit a corner and you've shut it downit (HD isn't shock-rated—on or off).
Want to run it over? Sorry, it's not rated for that (even though MILSPEC says it is)!