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Itronix toughens up its tablet PC

Company soon will release a rugged new dual-mode touch-panel PC, the Duo-Touch, for workers in the field. Photo: This PC's for mountaineers

Computer maker Itronix is hoping to see a big bump in sales to outdoor types with the release of a rugged slate-tablet PC that it says can withstand temperature extremes and other harsh conditions.

Called the Duo-Touch, the new portable PC will be available next month with a limited three-year warranty and a base price of $3,195. Itronix said it's focused on selling the computer to mobile professionals who work in industries such as telecommunications, utilities, government and insurance.

The name Duo-Touch refers to the company's redesign on the touch panel that allows users to work with either an active touch screen or a passive touch screen and standard digitizer.

Itronix Duo-Touch

Itronix has outfitted the new device with a 1.1GHz Intel Pentium M processor and shock-mounted 2.5-inch 40GB hard-disk drive with Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 pre-installed.

Measuring 10.6 inches by 7.2 inches and weighing 3.9 pounds, the computer keeps the user connected with a combination of wireless-radio broadband protocols (EV-DO, EDGE and GPRS, UMTS and 802.11 b/g network support), as well as the option to support three wireless radios and/or an internal GPS feature that can be used in both passive and active mode.

Similar to Itronix's GoBook Tablet PC, the Duo-Touch can withstand rain, snow, wind, dust, vibration, shock, chemical exposure temperature extremes, from minus 4 to 140 degrees. The new tablet also is backward-compatible with most GoBook Tablet PC peripherals and accessories, including the desk mount and vehicle cradles.

The Duo-Touch has an all-magnesium case for better wireless reception and the same quadrifilar Helix antenna used on the GoBook III.

"The first GoBook Tablet PC was designed specifically with the field worker's need in mind...many of the improvements to the Duo-Touch were implemented based on feedback we received," Matt Gerber, a senior vice president of product-line management at the Spokane, Wash.-based firm, said in a statement.