June 21, 2007 Rugged laptops with wireless connectivity are well suited to a lot of professions, from industrial and military to environmental and emergency services. As such, they've been gaining in popularity, with Panasonic's Toughbook, Sahara's Tufftab and even a Hummer laptop muscling into the market. General Dynamics now takes the rugged, go-anywhere laptop one step further, by reducing it to a quarter of the size with its GoBook MR-1, which meets the toughest standards for humidity, temperature, vibration, dust, rain and drop-resistance.

At 1.56” (H) x 6.0” (W) x 4.33” (D), and weighing only 2lbs, the GoBook MR-1 is a rugged wireless laptop that's small enough to be truly hand-held without sacrificing the feature level of a full-sized machine. The tiny device can be used and abused in the field, or docked at a workstation back at the office.

Featuring a 1.2Ghz Intel Core Solo Processor, 533MHz FSB, a 128MB 3D graphics card and up to 1gb of RAM, it will be powerful enough for the bulk of situations. A 5.6" SVGA outdoor-viewable LCD screen delivers the visuals and user input is via a thumb-typable keyboard, direction pad, thumbstick and touchpad, so there's no lack of options there.

Shock-mounted 40/80GB hard drives are standard, but the unit is also available with 16/32GB solid state flash drives for high-vibration environments where spinning discs would be at high risk. In-built GPS is a factory option, and the standard battery is good for between 3-6 hours.

It's an interesting concept - the GoBook MR-1 sits halfway between a palmtop and a laptop, ultra-portable and heavy duty while still acting as a complete laptop and docking to deliver a decent office PC experience too. Its size opens up a new range of possible applications where handhelds just haven't yet had the processing power and storage to compete. Watch this space.