Panasonic Toughbook CF-54 targets field workers

panasonic toughpad1
Panasonic is offering Toughbook CF-54 to field workers.

“We are making it available for people like service engineers and sales persons who do a lot of travelling and carry a normal device. These devices fail in a few months if they drop it. But with this device we are saying no problem,” said Gunjan Sachdev, Panasonic India general manager and national business head – Toughbook.

Launched last year as a part of Panasonic India’s focus on product differentiation, the Toughbook CF-54 is a semi-rugged laptop that can withstand rough handling, including the damage caused by dropping, heat and water, and combines industry-leading balanced mobility with integrated handle and high definition display.

The 29.8 mm thin and 1.99 kg device can be customised as per users’ requirements with integrated ports, 3G, dedicated GPS and other preference-based requisites — without compromising on the aesthetic appeal of a notebook.

The basic CF-54 model is equipped with a 5th Generation Intel CoreTM i5-5300U vProTM processor with a 3MB cache, 2.3 GHz and a 4GB RAM. This can be upped to 2.9 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology and the RAM can be expanded up to 16GB.

The port replication option provides for a smart card reader, fingerprint reader and contactless smart card reader in addition to various interfaces and options like Serial Port, VGA, PC Card, Rugged USB and second LAN.

The honeycomb-designed four-side magnesium alloy-enclosed device features a sunlight viewable screen that enables visibility while working in extreme outdoor and demanding conditions. With an impeccable spill resistant keyboard and a one-of-its-kind shock resistant attribute up to 2.5-foot drops, it sets new standards of durability.

Its battery gives 11 hours of operational backup and the laptop is fitted with a briefcase-like handle for easy carrying.

The device comes with a hot swappable battery option which enables a user to change batteries without shutting down the computer and extend the operating battery life to 18 hours.

“You can use it for the full day without charging in any environment. It also comes with a ‘bridge battery’ that gives a 2-3 minute backup while changing the battery,” Sachdev noted.

The CF-54 offers 4-5 metre GPS accuracy and comes with an option of extra security for SIM cards and HDD (and SSD) that can be obtained by special screws and screwdrivers from the company.

The semi-rugged series starts at Rs.1.2 lakh. Questioned about this, Sachdev said: “Basically it is a total cost of ownership. Of course the initial price will be double but when we add tangble and non-tangible costs like less breakages and no business loss, over a five year period, Toughbook actually comes to be cheaper.”

Although the semi-rugged models are not fireproof, some of its fully-rugged models like FZ-G1 can work seamlessly in explosion zones.

Asked about the competition and future strategies to top them, another executive said Panasonic has some core technology that no one can replicate.

“Unlike our competitors who just assemble components from different manufacturers, Panasonic has in-house manufacturing of important components like battery and mother boards at Japan- and Taiwan-based units,” Kosuke Kagawa, assistant manager, overseas sales department, told IANS.

“Moreover, we have 20 years of experience in manufacturing these devices; so it is difficult for the competitors to come up with a similar type of product,” he added.

To expand its business in India, the company opened a new configuration centre in Malaysia.

Panasonic India is currently tied up with automotive, railway and defence sectors and looks to expand its business in the aviation, utility and logistics space.

Sourabh Kulesh / IANS