Panasonic has announced an overhaul of a handful of its rugged Toughbook and Toughpad devices, adding Intel's latest 5th Generation Core vPro processor technology.
Due to go on sale from February, the upgraded models are the fully rugged Toughbook CF-31, the convertible Toughbook CF-19, and the Toughpad FZ-G1 Windows tablet, making them among the first rugged devices to be equipped with the new Intel architecture, Panasonic said.
However, the upgrade seems to be more about getting the performance and battery life benefits of Intel's latest processors rather than the wire-free innovations in the rest of the platform, as Panasonic said it was ensuring that customers could gain the maximum return on investment from their existing peripherals and docking stations.
The Toughbook CF-31 fully rugged system has been upgraded with a 5th Generation Core i5-5300U vPro chip, which enables it to deliver increased computing power and an extended 18-hour battery life, Panasonic said.
It also features the latest 802.11ac WiFi technology for faster data transfers than its previous incarnation, while an optional second LAN connection has been upgraded from 100Mbps to a Gigabit Ethernet connection.
Meanwhile, the convertible Toughbook CF-19 has been switched to an embedded processor, in this case the Core i5-3610ME vPro, to ensure the long-term availability of this model, according to Panasonic.
Intel's embedded processor line typically has a longer lifecycle to meet the requirements of equipment vendors that may need to support devices like ATMs and other hardware for longer than the lifespan of the average PC.
Over the past decade, the Toughbook CF-19 has been the biggest selling device for the Panasonic Toughbook range across Europe, becoming the rugged laptop of choice for mobile workers from many different industry sectors, the firm claimed.
The Toughpad FZ-G1 rugged tablet has also benefited from a battery boost from 10 hours to 13 hours, thanks to its upgrade to a Core i5-5300U vPro chip, while the inclusion of Intel HD 5500 graphics with DirectX 11 support makes it capable of running the most demanding office applications in the field.
All of these devices also now feature Microsoft's Windows 8.1 Pro Update platform, with Windows 7 Professional downgrade rights available on the Toughbook models.
Prices for the updated models start at £2,736 plus VAT for the Toughbook CF-31, £2,256 plus VAT for the Toughbook CF-19, and £1,604 plus VAT for the Toughpad FZ-G1.
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