Dell Throws Down Rugged PC Gauntlet

Computer tech giant Dell is billing it as the industryEUs first fully rugged convertible laptop that transforms into a tablet. The Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme convertible notebook will soon hit the market, along with the Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme notebook.

Is this really as rugged as it gets? It is, if you believe Dell. Kirk Schell, vice president of commercial PCs in the client solutions group, is letting the PC-buying world know that the company is renewing and expanding its commitment to the rugged space.

In fact, Schell threw down the rugged gauntlet, declaring: EUThe Rugged Extreme line is backed by the Latitude promise of reliable, secure and manageable commercial PCs and can move easily from the boardroom to the battlefield or wherever the job takes you -- an assurance unmatched by the competition.EU However, Dell did not announce the price or exact availability.

Risky Design?

Panasonic could not immediately be reached for comment, but the company is likely to take exception to DellEUs bravado. HereEUs what we can confirm: Dell purpose-built its new rugged models to hold up under dust, moisture, drops, vibration, extreme temperatures and other harsh environmental conditions. You can drop the machine up to six feet and it passes military standards for ingress protection, emissions and hazardous materials.

The bottom line: Dell said its Latitude 12 and 14 Rugged Extreme are built to endure worst-case conditions. ItEUs the materials, including impact-resistant ultra-polymers and sturdy magnesium alloy, that seem to make the difference. The design also helps. Dell explained that data is protected from the harsh elements via sealed doors and compression gaskets even as fourth-generation QuadCool thermal management lets the machine perform at high temperatures.

We caught up with Roger Kay, a principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, to get his take on the new ruggeds. He told us this...

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