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Toughbook Computers: Making it Tough

Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computers and Toughpad® tablets are designed to handle almost any situation—from business-rugged computers that withstand bangs, bumps and spillage, to fully-rugged that can survive extreme conditions, such as drops up to six feet, rain, oil, pressure, dust and extraordinary swings in temperature.

Panasonic has a long track record of investing heavily in research and development of high quality materials, innovative technologies and highly sophisticated, vertically integrated manufacturing facilities. By coupling these investments with a rigorous testing process, Panasonic continues to achieve legendary status for durable, reliable mobile computers.

Failure Rates
For mobile computer users, computer failure is not an option. Downtime results in lost productivity and costly repair expenses.

Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers and Toughpad tablets rarely fail. In fact, Panasonic mobile computers and tablets are nearly ten times more reliable than standard business laptops and tablets. PC Magazine, in its May 2011 issue, reported an industry average failure rate of 15%. Panasonic's service records (as of June 2011, for units in and out of warranty) show an average annual failure rate of only 2.4% for Toughbook mobile computers.*

 

Core Manufacturer
The proven reliability and low failure rate of Panasonic computers and tablets begin in the factory. Panasonic is the only major manufacturer that designs, builds and tests its laptops and most components in its own factory. This allows Panasonic to control quality, consistency and parts availability every step of the way. By producing most of the components in-house, Panasonic is able to assure quality, consistency and parts availability throughout the manufacturing process and during the warranty period that follows.

Lower failure rates translate to less downtime, fewer repair expenses and a lower total cost of ownership. Compared to commercial-grade laptops, Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers and Toughpad tablets average better than 15% lower total cost of ownership. Over the life of a typical mobile computer, that adds up to savings of hundreds of dollars, plus a better overall user experience.

On the rare occasion when a Toughbook computer does fail, Panasonic's industry benchmark service and support system assures the repair time will be minimal. Panasonic offers award-winning technical support and an array of warranty services, including priority overnight exchange of user-replaceable parts. Laptop magazine gave Panasonic an "A+" for phone support in their July, 2008 issue, citing that "the company's 24/7 phone support was swift, informative, and efficient."

 

Commitment to R&D
Through extensive research and development, Panasonic continues to improve current products and develop the next generation, cutting-edge technology that enables customers to succeed in some of the world's most demanding environments.

  • Over 2,500 engineers across six factories all focused on innovation
  • Among the top 20 investors in research and development
  • Hundreds of U.S. technology and process patents have been secured

Greater Customer Satisfaction, More Deployments
With 95 years of serving customers, 20 years of computer expertise and industry-leading customer loyalty, Panasonic achieves more rugged PC deployments at larger organizations than any other brand.

  • Panasonic's mean rugged PC install base is nearly double the industry average
  • 88% of Panasonic Toughbook® customers are highly likely to make a repeat purchase based on satisfaction with repair rates

Materials
Because Panasonic is a core manufacturer using superior materials and stringent quality control processes, Toughbook® mobile computers and Toughpad® tablets are approximately 6 times more reliable than standard laptops*. Inside and out, Toughbook mobile computers are packed with the best materials and technologies available for mobile computing.

Features on many Toughbook mobile computers and Toughpad tablets include:

  • An magnesium alloy case to assure superior resistance to drops and applied pressure.
  • Shock-mounted hard drives with proprietary foam technology developed by Panasonic to protect against drops and vibration, which can lead to data loss. And, quick-release hard drives employ metal enclosures that encase both the shock-mounting foam and the hard drives to protect them when they're removed.
  • Innovative technologies, such as custom-built heat-pipe assemblies to funnel heat away from sensitive internal components. These technologies also eliminate the need for fans, a major point of failure and contributor to dust and moisture ingress.
  • The latest Intel® processors, delivering innovations such as multi-core mobile performance, greater power efficiency and vPro™ technology.
  • Advanced LCD technology, along with anti-glare and anti-reflective features, provide excellent outdoor visibility for fully-rugged models.

Technology
In addition to using high-quality components, Panasonic is a technology leader with a rich history of innovation in mobile computing.

Through the development and manufacturing of the Toughbook line of computers, Panasonic was the first manufacturer to:

  • Create rugged laptops in a standard form factor and in a convertible tablet
  • Integrate CD-ROMs into laptops
  • Encase LCDs in magnesium alloy
  • Engineer ruggedness into ultra-portable, business-rugged laptops with shock-mounted hard drives, magnesium alloy cases, spill resistant keyboards, and embedded wireless solutions
  • Deliver integrated mobile broadband with support for EDGE/HSDPA and EV-DO

Panasonic subjects the components and materials used in manufacturing Toughbook mobile computers to rigorous testing and quality control. The computers are tested for drop and shock resistance, liquid resistance, vibration resistance, particle resistance, temperature resistance, pressure resistance, humidity resistance and resistance to dust and water ingress.

Research

Panasonic, a Fortune Global 100 company, spends approximately $5 billion annually on research and development. The investment is integral in designing and building more than 14,000 different products worldwide.

Panasonic has been manufacturing mobile computers since 1993 and introduced the Toughbook® brand in 1997. Panasonic continues to invest heavily in research and development to maintain its leadership in manufacturing the world's most durable and reliable mobile computers.

This on-going investment has led to significant breakthroughs for Toughbook products. For example, Panasonic was the first computer manufacturer to integrate with wireless WAN technology and to adopt the Gobi™ mobile broadband solution for easy connectivity with leading wireless networks.

Research activities also led to Panasonic being the first manufacturer of a fully-rugged medical clinical assistant (MCA) device — the Toughbook H1 Health. The Toughbook H1 Health (now replaced by the Toughbook H2) also was the first:

  • MCA computer with a fanless design to minimize the transporting and spreading of germs in healthcare environments
  • MCA computer with a built-in sanitization reminder system
  • MCA computer with dual hot-swappable batteries

Ongoing research activities involve many dedicated Panasonic employees as well as Toughbook customers who provide Panasonic feedback on their usage and experience with the products.

The people who buy and use Toughbook computers heavily influence product development decisions. To better understand user needs, Panasonic's R&D and product development personnel sponsor advisory councils and participate in industry-specific focus groups and trade associations. Through these contacts and daily dialog with customers, Panasonic has a keen understanding of the needs of mobile professionals in all major industries and applications.

Then, it is the job of Panasonic product engineers to economically meet market needs with the best available technologies. Working with leading technology companies, such as Intel and Microsoft, Panasonic engineers evaluate the latest chipsets, materials, power management techniques, LCD screens, wiring, hard drives and components. They study the effects of continuous use in challenging environments. They find the optimum balance between reliability and weight. And they continually discover better ways to keep Toughbook computers performing under extraordinary conditions.

Highly Accelerated Life Tests (HALT), a stress testing methodology used to obtain product reliability information, is one example of Panasonic's research regimen. Panasonic engineers subject electronic components to elevated operating temperatures to find each component's upper operating limit. By HALT testing a component for a short period, engineers can observe a component's performance over its full life cycle and correct any problems before manufacturing begins.

Another example of Panasonic's research regimen is in wireless technology. Panasonic operates one of the world's largest anechoic chambers in the industry. By precisely measuring the amount of electromagnetic radiation produced by Toughbook mobile computers, anechoic chamber testing enables engineers to maximize wireless performance.

The result of these ongoing research activities is a line of Toughbook computers and Toughpad tablets that continually changes to meet the rigorous requirements of Panasonic's customers.

 

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