updated 12:55 pm EDT, Tue June 5, 2007
GD GoBook VR-2
General Dynamics on Tuesday became one of the first rugged PC makers to offer Intel Santa Rosa in a notebook by releasing the GoBook VR-2. The notebook packs a 2GHz Core 2 Duo with the faster system bus, improved graphics, and 802.11n, but also features a uniquely survivable design meant as much for use in the field as in an office. Key to this is a new display technique called DynaVue, the company says: instead of simply increasing the brightness of the 13.3-inch touchscreen, the process cuts out reflections within the LCD itself and boosts contrast ratio to render the image visible even in bright daylight. The VR-2 also meets military-spec resistance to dust, shock, and humidity, and has a spill-proof keyboard.
Providing as much or as little access to the outside world is a similar specialty of the notebook. Besides the enhanced Wi-Fi standard, the VR-2 has support for either EVDO or EDGE/HSDPA cellular access, Bluetooth, and a pre-installed GPS receiver for tracking the system's location without an extra device; in extreme situations, however, an owner can lock down all wireless links with a single password and prevent thieves from even starting Windows through a separate pre-boot password. Extras such as a fingerprint reader and a car mount also prevent the system from being easily compromised or stolen.
The combination of ruggedized technology raises the price to $3,500 for the standard notebook with 5!2MB of RAM (upgradable to 4GB). Though intended for outdoor workers, soldiers, and other pros, the system is available to the general public through the company's reseller channels.