Panasonic's awesome - but expensive - ToughBook S30 is to get multi-mode wireless broadband and GPS.
If you're wanting a laptop that can get online just about anywhere, think about a ToughBook.
Panasonic's range of ruggedised laptops – beloved of anyone careless with their toys and a large enough wallet – is due to get a new communications chip from Qualcomm dubbed Gobi and described by the company as a “global mobile Internet chip
As revealed by BetaNews
, Panasonic's plan is to integrated the chip – which provides support for EV-DO revision A, UMTS, and HSDPA high-speed mobile broadband technologies in a single device – into its next ToughBook hardware refresh.
As well as providing just about every format of mobile broadband going – bar the increasingly unpopular WiMAX – the chip will give the ToughBooks built-in GPS functionality, so you'll know exactly
which crevasse you dropped your laptop into.
Starting this October, the chip will be introduced into the ToughBook 19 tablet and the ToughBook 30 notebook and from there rolled out across Panasonic's entire range of mobile computing devices. Which is nice.
However, all this multi-format mobile broadband needs a data carrier – and the rumour is that the company is in agreement with Vodafone and Verizon to provide international roaming for data traffic. What isn't
mentioned, and possibly for very good reason, is the price: international data tariffs tend towards the eye-wateringly expensive, and there's no reason to believe that this will be any different. That said, if you can afford a top-end ToughBook – prices for the pre-Gobi ToughBook 30 start at around £3,500 – then a few tenners a month on data is unlikely to cause you any problems.
Would you opt for a Gobi-enhanced ToughBook, or are you waiting for the first sensibly-priced Gobi netbooks to become available? Share your thoughts over in the forums