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Switchback UMPC shipping, manufacturer Black Diamond acquired

Nilay Patel

It's been a bumpy ride for the rugged SwitchBack UMPC we first saw over a year ago -- the developer, Black Diamond Advanced Technology, was purchased by Roper Mobile Technology, and plans for a multiple-OS support were axed in favor of an Windows-only system -- but the device is finally shipping, as is a BackPack expansion module that extends the unit in various ways. Features include a 5.6-inch touchscreen with your choice of XP or Vista on a 1GHz Celeron M with 2GB of RAM and up to 120GB of storage with SSD options, that funky Alien-looking keyboard, a hot-swappable battery, optional Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11g, and GPS radios, and military-grade shock, vibration temperature, and immersion resistance. The optional BackPacks can be outfitted in almost limitless configurations, with plans for digital cameras, biometric security units, RFID readers, USB 2.0 ports, Type II slots, and audio in / out. There's still no word on price, but Roper says the SwitchBack and a basic BackPack with audio I/O, serial and USB ports, and video-out are available immediately.

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