ToughBooks get Gobi

ToughBooks get Gobi

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.


Discuss in the forums Reply
liratheal 12th September 2008, 14:38 Quote
If I could afford it, I so would.

I can't, so instead, I shall dribble.
Bluephoenix 12th September 2008, 14:43 Quote
very nice.

throw a GPU in there on the tablet and I might just have to get one when I'm due for a hardware replacement of the laptop. :p
mclean007 12th September 2008, 14:49 Quote
Originally Posted by liratheal
If I could afford it, I so would.
Why? Expense aside, toughbooks are ugly as sin, heavy and bulky because of all the armour, and not particularly quick. So why bother unless you're an oil rig engineer or are running Antarctic scienctific experiments, or you're an infantryman needing front line intelligence updates, and actually need the ruggedised finish?
perplekks45 12th September 2008, 22:54 Quote
Hm... spam?

On topic:

I have to agree with mclean here. There is absolutely no need to get one just to use it as a normal notebook.
LordPyrinc 13th September 2008, 01:03 Quote
It's the same reasoning behind buying an off-road capable vehicle that you drive back and forth on the highway everyday. People buy crap that they don't need just to say 'Look at me!'. I personally drive an SUV because it's versatile and I can carry crap when I need to, but my Grand Cherokee Laredo is not four-wheel drive. On the rare occassion we get any snow accumulation around here, I can still drive it just as fine without needing 4WD. I don't have a tow hitch either because I didn't expect to be hauling any sort of trailer. That being said, I know plenty of people with 4WD SUVs with beefy tow packages that have never hauled anything more than a large load of groceries.
DOA Draven 13th September 2008, 12:37 Quote
Fond memories..remeber buying a thousand units, CF71s, and having the privilage [or fun] to drop test one to destruction. Why did I ever loose that job? A serious piece of kit, designed for the serious enviroment, and we are not talking about the odd coffee drip and biscuit crumbs on the office desk :-)
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