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Photos: Asus reveals rugged UMPC

Not content with releasing a ruggedised laptop, Asus takes time to show us its semi-ruggedised ultra-mobile PC

The Asus R2H was one of the few ultra-mobile PCs we actually liked, so you can imagine our delight when we encountered its successor at CeBIT today. Asus refers to it as the "Highly integration UMPC" (sic) and its major selling point is that it's semi-ruggedised.

Like the full-sized Rugged Military NB, it's not designed for the everyday consumer. It's for the sort of bloke/bird who might find themselves climbing a mountain, traversing the desert, or possibly fighting insurgents in hostile environments.

Asus wouldn't say exactly how rugged it is, but this early prototype has a 7-inch 800x480-pixel screen, integrated GPS for satellite navigation, a 1.3-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and some form of Via processor. It's completely fanless, so it's silent, and its 3.5W power consumption means the battery should last a long time.

The device is fully 'convertible', meaning it can work in standard laptop mode, or in tablet PC mode. Just twist the screen on its hinge and away you go.

Here's the screen laid flat against the keyboard. The UMPC can now be used with a stylus or a finger. This is particularly handy when you're fiddling with the GPS software, or if there's no desk nearby.

A couple of USB ports, yesterday. Adjacent you can see a 4-in-1 memory card reader, and a LAN port. The laptop also features integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

At the rear there's an ExpressCard slot, the bulbous housing for the hinge, a D-Sub port and a couple of audio jacks.