Is there room for a thin "business rugged" laptop that costs more than twice what "regular" laptops do? Walking the liminal plane between touch tablets and ultraportable laptops, the newly announced 12.1-inch Panasonic Toughbook C1 looks like an attempt to capitalize on the tablet meme while still catering to a small business crowd that may not take to boxier and more weatherproof designs. Slimmer than many Toughbooks before it but not exactly as super-durable as them either, the newly announced Toughbook C1 bridges the gap with a look that reminds us of mainstream Panasonic laptops past. Despite its hand straps and extra shock support, however, Panasonic boasts that it's the world's lightest 12.1-inch convertible tablet PC.
At a starting price of $2,499, the Toughbook C1 has a magnesium alloy case resistant to 225 pounds of pressure, a spill-resistant keyboard, and a shock-mounted hard drive. The C1 isn't guaranteed to survive long falls, but it is tested to drops of 12 inches on any of its edges or 30 inches on its base.
Although the 2.4 GHz Core i5-520M processor, 12.1-inch combination multitouch display with pen-based digitizer and hot-swappable dual batteries promising 10 hours of battery life are more than attractive specs, the Toughbook C1 is aimed at the health care industry (in Panasonic's own words) and other professions with a need for quick pen or touch input on forms as opposed to regular consumers. Then again, with its hot-swappable batteries, this could be an interesting laptop for an executive who doesn't like to get caught needing to be wedded to an outlet. The C1 also has Gobi2000 mobile broadband included for support with multiple carriers, in addition to the expected host of security and smartcard upgrades.
The Toughbook C1 will be available for purchase this June.