It’s been exactly twenty years since, in that distant September 26, 1996, Panasonic used for the first time the “Toughbook” brand for its line of armored notebook. It was the Toughbook CF-25, a cutting edge laptop designed to withstand drops from 70 cm height, and resist dust and moisture. The launch took place two years after the debut of the Panasonic CF-41 (not yet Toughbook), known to history as the world’s first notebook with integrated CD-ROM drive and magnesium alloy chassis, the basis for future Toughbook range. And then we know how it went:
Toughbook CF-27 (1999): The world’s first notebook with integrated GSM or WAN capabilities, can enable mobile workers to communicate with each other, with the office or with the outside world. It was also the first Toughbook with optional touchscreen and the first hard disk contained in a gel block and foam to protect it and to absorb any impact.
Toughbook CF-07 (2001): The PC and separate display unit could communicate up to 50m away, providing work environment a new level of flexibility and mobility.
Toughbook CF-U1 (2008): the first UMPCs in the world with full Windows operating system and a set of integrated features including barcode reader, fingerprint reader, camera and hot-swappable batteries, to allow mobile workers still perform most activities in motion.
Toughpad (2012): first armored tablet. The Panasonic Toughpad line is designed specifically for professional use. The range of rugged tablet is extremely durable and resistant to falls from great heights, dust, splash water and high temperatures.
Toughbook CF-20 (2016): the first fully-rugged notebook detachable in the world, which can be used in 6 different ways to respond to any business need.
Panasonic Toughbook CF-25
At the time, the Japanese company working in the industry for 10 years (exactly from 1987) and had gained experience in manufacturing rugged mobile PCs, much to establish itself as OEM channel. Basically, with Panasonic, they were born the first portable computers reinforced for use in inaccessible and dangerous environments for workers or those who simply loved outdoor activities.
The market pointed out very early the need for rugged devices for professional level, with improved durability and reduced cost of ownership, and this awareness led Panasonic to develop the dedicated plans and finally to build a dedicated factory for the production of rugged notebooks in Kobe, in Japan.
Since then, the situziona has not changed much: the latest analysis of VDC Research shows that Panasonic is a leader in the European market of notebooks and rugged tablet, with a 66% share in sales of notebooks and convertible rugged and 59% in sales of rugged tablet in 2015. They are in fact were sold in Europe in 2015 more devices of the Panasonic Toughbook and Toughpad lines out of the total of notebooks and rugged tablet competitors. With a combination of close attention to the market and passion to research, develop, build, test and sell its products, Panasonic Toughbook has achieved a number of firsts that have represented a benchmark for rugged mobile device of the twentieth and twenty-first century.