Itronix lightens the load of rugged laptop

New GoBook XR-1 can take just about anything you throw at it, including water, fire and sand. Photos: Laptops take a licking

These notebooks are for real road warriors.

Itronix, a division of General Dynamics, updated its GoBook line of notebooks on Monday with the XR-1. The new notebook is the smallest "rugged" notebook yet built by the company, weighing in at 6.8 pounds.

XR-1

The XR-1 isn't cheap, with a starting price of $4,330. But it is designed to withstand falls, spills and other hazards that would render an ordinary notebook useless, said Tom Turner, president and CEO of Itronix.

The Air Force uses Itronix GoBooks in flight-line operations around the world, and Sears sends its service technicians out into the field with GoBooks, Turner said. He declined to comment on potential customers for the XR-1, but noted that several other GoBooks have been deployed to the deserts of Iraq, where they are able to withstand the fine-grained sand that gets into absolutely everything.

The XR-1 comes with loads of features that you won't find at Best Buy. The screen can be dimmed to a level that looks completely dark, but that can be read with night-vision goggles. The notebook can be fully submerged and is designed to survive a fire. If it's cold outside, the system warms up the hard drive before it fully boots. And it can find a wireless network almost anywhere in the world with built-in radios for multiple bands of both UMTS/GSM (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service/Global System for Mobile Communication) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) cellular networks, plus Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS (Global Positioning System).

Detailed specifications are available on Itronix's Web site. The XR-1 will start shipping in September.

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