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Wednesday, September 13, 2006
 Panasonic Introduces Rugged Toughbook Notebooks with Embedded 3G Wireless
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Message Text: Reliable, Wireless-Ready Thin-and-Light and Ultraportable Notebook PCs Feature Panasonic-Engineered Durability, Extremely Long Battery Life and Industry-Leading Warranty and Support

Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, the leading provider of durable, reliable wireless mobile PCs, today introduced three new business-rugged Panasonic(R) Toughbook(R) notebook computers: The ultraportable CF-W5, tablet alternative CF-T5, and the thin-and-light desktop replacement CF-Y5.

The three new Panasonic Toughbooks, the next generation of Panasonic's world-class durable, lightweight notebooks, are engineered and built by Panasonic for maximum reliability. As with all Toughbooks, designed for field service or business environments, the new series of notebooks include magnesium alloy cases, flexible internal connectors and shock-mounted and removable hard drives. Business-rugged Toughbooks are tested to withstand a one foot drop, while the hard drives themselves are rated to survive a fall of thirty inches.

Building on its legacy of leadership in integrating wireless solutions, the new Panasonic Toughbook W5, T5 and Y5 models incorporate a "wireless-ready" design that allows users to purchase, or upgrade to, embedded access to next-generation data networks from all major wireless carriers. The notebooks will ship with optional integrated radio modems to access to the EV-DO networks of Sprint or Verizon or UMTS/HSDPA-based solutions from Cingular Wireless.

"Panasonic has a proud heritage of engineering and building reliable field-mobile notebooks with a variety of wireless options for users in extreme and mission-critical environments," said Rance Poehler, president, Panasonic Computer Solutions Company. "However, mobility has become a mainstream requirement and our business-rugged notebooks are designed with the mobile professional in mind, offering seamless connectivity in a lightweight and durable form factor and very long battery life. In addition to protecting core components of the units and the case itself, users can rest easier knowing that the hard drives in business-rugged Toughbooks are tested to withstand a drop of two and a half feet--that's significant data protection in a very lightweight package."

Added Poehler, "With the introduction of these new products, Panasonic now offers the widest range of notebooks with embedded wireless technology available today, providing enterprise and small business users with the ability to confidently work virtually anywhere."

Toughbook W5: Ultraportable Notebook for the Mobile Professional

The ultraportable Panasonic Toughbook W5, with its integrated DVD/CD-RW combo drive, 12.1 inch anti-glare LCD, and weight of just 3.1 pounds, is ideal for mobile professionals who demand the standard features found in larger notebooks at a decreased size and weight. Equipped with an ultra-low voltage Intel Core Solo processor and battery life of more than eight hours, the W5 is as useful on an airline tray table as it is in the board room.

Toughbook T5: A Tablet PC Alternative with Extremely Long Battery Life

Unique to the Panasonic Toughbook T5 is a 12.1 inch touch-screen LCD as well as a durable frame with a sleek, compact design and an ergonomic hand strap. Equipped with an ultra-low voltage processor, the T5 offers increased battery capability which translates into more than ten hours of life while weighing only 3.5 pounds. These features, combined with the touch screen and the included image rotation software, make the T5 ideal for use offsite and in the office.

Toughbook Y5: Desktop Computer Capabilities in an Extremely Lightweight Package

With a 14.1 inch display, the Panasonic Toughbook Y5 weighs only 3.7 pounds and boasts six hours of battery life. The Y5 includes a built-in DVD/CD-RW optical drive, high-speed Intel Core Duo low voltage processor, and multiple wireless connectivity options. Compared to the W5 and T5, the Y5's larger screen makes it a lightweight desktop replacement alternative that's suitable for presenting to small groups. In addition to the magnesium alloy case and shock-mounted hard drive, the Y5 includes Panasonic's unique "spill-through" keyboard, designed to reduce the risks of liquid damage.

Meeting the Need for Reliable, Connected Notebooks

With the broad availability of wireless LAN and third generation (3G) data solutions, users are increasingly dependent on their mobile PCs. Unfortunately, most notebook vendors fail to deliver dependable products.

According to a June 2006 report by Gartner, Inc., entitled, "Benchmarking PC Reliability Hardware" authored by Leslie Fiering, "Currently, notebook AFRs have declined to 15 percent for the first year (in some instances, considerably lower) with an anticipated 22 percent AFR in the third year."

In its recent (September 2006) annual reader survey, PC Magazine noted past year failure rates of 23 percent for business notebooks.

By contrast, Panasonic Toughbooks, deployed in a wide range of mobile environments, boast significantly lower annualized failure rates. According to Panasonic's internal service records for its entire portfolio of rugged, semi-rugged and business-rugged notebooks, less than four percent of Toughbook products, in and out of warranty, require repair.

In addition to hardware reliability, Panasonic has invested significantly in delivering superior wireless solutions. The company has been embedding wide area wireless solutions into its notebooks for more than eight years, and Panasonic was the first manufacturer to ship rugged and semi-rugged notebooks and tablet PCs with embedded 3G wireless access to UMTS/HSDPA and EV-DO networks.

Unlike wireless PC cards, which introduce an element of risk as an external point of loss or failure, integrated wireless solutions are designed for optimal performance. Like all Panasonic Toughbooks, embedded wireless solutions from Panasonic are evaluated and tested at Panasonic's own factories, including benchmark testing in one of the most advanced electromagnetic interference test chambers in the world.

Superior Warranty and Support

Every Panasonic Toughbook is sold with a standard three-year limited warranty and access to 24/7/365 U.S.-based phone support for the entire life of the product. The company boasts an average call center hold time of less than one minute. In addition, in the unlikely event of a hardware-related failure, Panasonic covers the cost of overnight shipping to and from its national service center. The average turnaround time for repairs is under two days. Panasonic also offers a full range of professional services to support enterprise customers before and after deployment.

Pricing and Availability

The Panasonic Toughbook W5 and T5 will be available in October 2006 at a suggested "wireless ready" retail price of $1,899. Available in December 2006, the Toughbook Y5 will be available at a suggested retail price of $2,199. All units are available through authorized Panasonic Toughbook resellers nationwide. Please visit www.panasonic.com/toughbook for more information.
 
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