Panasonic Toughbook is celebrating 20 years of the legendary rugged mobile computing brand on September 26th, 2016, and to celebrate those still in possession of one of the earliest working Toughbook notebooks could win the trip of a lifetime to Japan.
The Toughbook ancestry stretches back almost 30 years to 1987 where Panasonic gained experience in producing portable PCs and acting as a channel OEM. The market highlighted very early the need for professional level, rugged computing devices with enhanced durability and reduced cost of ownership. This realisation led to Panasonic developing plans and ultimately building a purpose built factory in Kobe in Japan to produce the rugged notebooks.
Twenty years on and the latest analysis by VDC Research shows Panasonic leads the European rugged notebook and tablet markets with a 66% rugged notebook and convertible share of sales and a 59% rugged tablet revenue share of sales in 2015. In fact, the Panasonic Toughbook and Toughpad range sold more devices across Europe in 2015 than the rest of the rugged notebook and tablet competition combined.
A combination of listening to the market and a passion to meticulously research, develop, build, test and market its own products has helped Panasonic Toughbook achieve a range of firsts that have set the benchmark for rugged mobile computing devices in the 20th and 21st centuries.
1994: The CF-41
The world’s first notebook to integrate a CD-ROM drive
This device, with its inbuilt CD-Rom and use of Magnesium alloy, was the basis for the future Toughbook range.
1996: The Toughbook CF-25
The birth of the Toughbook brand
This pioneering device was designed to withstand falls from up to 70 centimetres, resist dust and humidity – elements which became the blueprint for future Toughbook models.
1999: The Toughbook CF-27
The world’s first integrated GSM and WAN capabilities and touchscreen
The world’s first notebook to introduce integrated GSM or WAN capabilities allowing mobile workers to communicate with each other, their office or the outside world. Also the first Toughbook to have the option of a touchscreen and the first with its Hard Disk Drive (HDD) surrounded by a gel and foam block to keep it secure and absorb any impact forces.
2001: The Toughbook CF-07
An innovative rugged mini PC with mobile wireless data display
The Toughbook CF-07 mini PC broke new ground by introducing a revolutionary wireless display. The PC and separate display unit could communicate up to 50m, bringing a whole new level of flexibility and mobility to the work environment.
2009: The Toughbook CF-U1
The world’s first Ultra Mobile PC – bridging the gap between notebook and handheld
The CF-U1 took the rugged heritage of Toughbook to a more mobile, handheld level. It featured a full Windows operating system and a host of integrated features such as barcode scanner, fingerprint reader, camera and hot-swap batteries, enabling mobile field workers to do more on the move.
2012: Panasonic Toughpad
The launch of rugged Toughpad tablets
The Panasonic Toughpad product line is purpose built for professional use. The range of ruggedised tablet computers is extremely durable, resistant to high drops, dust, water spills and high temperatures.
2015: The Toughbook CF-20
The world’s first fully rugged detachable notebook
The combined rugged tablet and notebook delivers unrivaled versatility for mobile – a fully rugged notebook with detachable tablet that can be used in 6 different modes to meet every business need.
“The range of Panasonic Toughbook and Toughpad solutions continues to evolve with mobile retail and payment solutions, our own docking solutions business and our extension into the rugged handheld market but the essence of our success over the past 20 plus years will remain with us as we move forward,” said Kevin Jones, Managing Director for Panasonic Computer Product Solutions Europe. “We will continue to listen to our business customers and develop solutions for their mobile workforces that improve productivity and reduce costs. We will continue to innovate with our functionality and ergonomic design, and with our partnerships, to produce business solutions that solve our customers’ challenges.”
Commenting on Panasonic’s future direction, Nick Parker, Corporate Vice President of the OEM Division at Microsoft Corporation said: “Our strategy and vision align with what Panasonic is doing with its Toughbook product line, which is to build the best mobile and productivity services for today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world,” said Nick Parker, Corporate Vice President OEM Division, Microsoft Corp. “With Windows 10, we are pushing the boundaries of modern computing to bring exciting new software and services capabilities to the market, and industry partners like Panasonic are also pushing the limits with fantastic new hardware that brings these new experiences to life in remarkable ways.”
“Throughout the twenty year evolution of Toughbook, Panasonic engineers have taken full advantage of the computing power and reliability of Intel processors to create one of the world’s most rugged PCs,” added Navin Shenoy, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Client Computing Group, Intel Corporation. “We’re proud that Intel technology has contributed to Toughbook’s success, and we look forward to continuing the great work with Panasonic for years to come.“