Panasonic Launches Toughbook C2 Running Windows 8 Pro

Panasonic has introduced a semi-rugged Toughbook C2 tablet PC on Windows 8 Pro geared toward the health care industry.

Panasonic has introduced the Toughbook C2, a semi-rugged convertible tablet PC optimized for the new Windows 8 Pro OS.

Launched Oct. 26, the Toughbook C2 is geared toward health care, education and field sales. The new tablet comes a day after Microsoft introduced Windows 8 at a New York City event.

With a starting price of $2,949, the convertible tablet runs Intel Core i5-3427U vPro up to 2.8 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology. It features a built-in keyboard as well as a touch-screen. A triple-hinge design provides support for users rotating the device from one mode to the other.

Physicians will be able to use the device to do charting in tablet mode, said Kyp Walls, director of product management at Panasonic, told eWEEK.

Panasonic designed the Toughbook C2 based on the user experience with its predecessor, the Toughbook C1, said Walls.

"They liked the thin, lightweight design of a machine that is sanitizable," said Walls. Users also liked the drop resistance and convertible design, he said.

The Toughbook C2 has 11 hours of battery life depending on use conditions, compared with six hours for the Toughbook C1.

Windows 8 adds improved battery life and a faster boot time, compared with previous Windows versions. Additional battery life should allow a nurse working in a hospital or visiting nurses to complete their shifts without running out of power, said Walls.

A bridge battery allows doctors and nurses to hot-swap the battery to avoid having to power the machine down in the middle of an exam, Walls said.

The unit features a 12.5-inch 500-nit daylight-readable high-definition display with anti-reflective and anti-glare treatment. Daylight readability will enable first responders to use the device for triage, said Walls.

"Now if people are using them outside in an ambulance bay or in a natural-disaster situation, you can actually see the display," said Walls.

In addition, the HD screen will bring a crisper view of medical charts and radiology images. The unit's Gorilla Glass makes it more durable to withstand drops by mobile workers.

It weighs 3.9 pounds and has a magnesium-alloy design. For wireless connectivity, the tablet runs WiFi, Bluetooth and is compatible with 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology or 3G Gobi mobile broadband.

Unlike a business rugged unit such as the Toughbook SX2, which can withstand a 30-inch drop to its base while powered on, the semi-rugged Toughbook C2 can survive a 30-inch drop to all six sides.

"A semi-rugged product has more drop resistance," said Walls.

Fully rugged devices like the Toughbook 19 can survive rainstorms and are a better fit for public safety personnel and the military, Walls noted.

The Toughbook C2 also features a spill-resistant keyboard for areas like hospitals, which contain many fluids.

A fanless design can minimize the spread of airborne pathogens, said Walls.

"You can't really disinfect the fan compartment of the computer," he said.

The Toughbook C2's built-in digitizer allows doctors' practices to capture the signature of patients.

A built-in microphone and Webcam enables video conferencing for potential telehealth sessions. A rear-mounted camera could be used for assessment and video recording of wounds, said Walls.

Panasonic also recently upgraded another semi-rugged model, the Toughbook 53, which starts at $1,399 with an Intel Core i5-3320M vPro processor.

The Toughbook C2 will be available in December.