Panasonic has formally announced the Panasonic ToughBook CF-U1, an ultraportable device powered by a 1.33GHz Intel Atom CPU. The device has been shown at various events going back to Cebit Germany, but today marks the official announcement of availability and pricing.
It has a 5.6-inch widescreen touchscreen display (putting it into the same class as the Fujitsu Lifebook U810 and its sequel, the Lifebook U2010). Storage consists of a 16GB or 32GB Solid State Drive (SSD). It will weigh around 1.06 kg (2.34 pounds).
One of the unique features is that the 61-key keyboard is directly under the display – it’s more of a Tablet form factor than a laptop, but it includes a full keyboard (that is split in the middle with a numeric pad taking up the center). There is an optional 10-key keyboard that functions more like an enhanced Tablet PC. It also features a two battery system that, in addition to the up to 7-10 hours of battery life, can allow for the batteries to be hotswapped for continuous use.
As with other Panasonic Toughbooks, it has rubber seals for I/O sockets (USB, etc.) along with other measures, to protect the device from water being accidentally splashed on it or dust getting inside. In addition, its rugged design protects it from accidental drops to the ground/floor.
It will be available in both North American and Japanese markets later this year (availability in Europe and other parts of Asia is not known at this time). North American customers can expect to see it in August, with a starting price in the $2500 range.
– Panasonic ToughBook page (Panasonic.biz, Translated from Japanese)