While we're not buying Black Diamond Advanced Technology's claim that its SwitchBack UMPC (no relation to the Kyocera Switchback) is the world's first such ruggedized device -- either the P630 Spartan or Catcher holds that honor -- it is by far the most versatile. This three-pound jack-of-all-trades comes equipped with a 1.0GHz Celeron M processor that not only runs Windows XP or Linux, but Windows CE and Windows Mobile to boot -- and not just one at time, but simultaneously as well, meaning that you can effortlessly switch between Internet Explorer and Pocket Internet Explorer (even though you wouldn't really want to). Also packed into the magnesium and rubber housing are a 5.6-inch, WSVGA (1,024 x 600) display, 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, 40GB removable hard drive, 1GB of 400MHz DDR2 RAM, and even a weird little QWERTY thumb board underneath the screen. Perhaps the best part of the SwitchBack, though, is its Handspring-like upgradability, meaning that separate back modules can be attached to endow it with added functionality such as GPS, fingerprint scanning, additional processing power, digital camera, and even a breathalyzer to make sure your fellow troops aren't too drunk to shoot straight. The initial units -- price unknown, meaning they probably cost a grip -- will ship sometime in Q4 as XP-only machines, with the multi-OS upgrade coming in Q2 2007, hopefully in time to help out our armed forces before they get involved in yet another major conflict.

[Via PR Newswire]

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