Weapons: The Lieutenants Friend


August 17, 2006: The laptop computer has become a weapon. Increasingly common on the battlefield, defense contractor General Dynamics now manufactures a line of "ruggedized" laptops aimed at the military market, and commercial users who need a machine that can survive in harsh environments.
The new GoBook XR-1 is what young infantry officers are going to be lusting after in the next few months. At 6.8 pounds, it is resistant to water, sand and multiple three foot drops on hard surfaces. It's also protected against the relentless vibrations found in military vehicles and aircraft. It will survive temperature extremes (from –10 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit). It has a glow-in-the-dark keyboard, and a 12.1 inch color display designed to be visible in bright sunlight. It's small (12x10x2 inches) and powerful (1.87 GHz Intel Core Duo CPU, using up to two gigabytes of RAM). The removable SATA hard drive (80 gigabytes and up) has a built in heater, to insure quick boot in very cold weather.
The XR-1 supports a wide variety of wireless communication (WAN, WLAN, BlueTooth and CRMA), all of which can work with internal GPS. Also has a smartcard reader, as well as fingerprint sensor for security. There are many other security features as well. For those operating in a combat zone, there is a stealth boot mode (no sound or light). A dock is available, and several other accessories. Uses Microsoft Vista, the XR-1 will ship this Fall. Prices start at $4,400. The perfect Christmas gift for any trooper in the sandbox. There are competing models available at lower prices, but the XR-1 is, for a few months, the top of the line.


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