If you think your Toughbook or Itronix laptop is hardcore, then you haven't been formally introduced to Kontron's forthcoming NotePAC. While we've seen our fair share of rugged (and not-so-rugged) devices, this bad boy definitely ups the ante. Presumably designed to literally go through hell (and back), the nearly 13-pound beast can survive a 3-foot drop onto solid concrete, is MIL-STD 810F and IEC 529 certified for shock and vibration tolerance, and there's even an available upgrade that adds MIL-STD-461 certification for low electromagnetic radiation output, and ATEX (atmospheric explosives) certification "for use in areas where the slightest spark could prove deadly." Besides the tank-like armor surrounding it, it holds a 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo T2300 processor within, accompanied by up to 2GB of DDR RAM, a 12.1- or 14.1- touchscreen LCD, removable 80 GB / 120GB SATA hard drives (mounted in shock absorbing, sealed cartridges, no less), and a hard disc heater that keeps your platters spinning down to minus 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, you'll find twin PCMCIA slots, gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, VGA output, and a myriad of connectivity options that include UMTS, GSM, GPRS, GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth. Notably, the system has been "fully validated" under Windows XP, but can also be ordered sans an OS if users wish to install Linux, and the company's own product manager stated that Kontron had already tested SUSE Linux and found that it "ran well" under the circumstances. Though we've no idea how much coinage this uber-tough NotePAC will demand, it'll be available to customize starting next month.

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Kontron intros ultra-rugged 13-pound NotePAC