16 Breakthrough Laptops: From Prototype Portables to Tantalizing Tablets

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The Rugged Laptop

The Rugged Laptop: In 1996, at a time when most computer makers were training their efforts on slimmer and faster models, Panasonic aimed for thick-skinned and break-resistant. The result was the Toughbook CF-25--the first model in a line of rugged Panasonic Toughbooks that continues to this day. The CF-25 was designed to survive 2-foot drops and to withstand dust and humidity. The original Toughbook came in an aluminum alloy case, and came loaded with a 166MHz Intel Pentium I processor, up to 96MB of RAM, and (typically) a sub-1GB hard drive. Though the laptop's internal specs didn't match its burly appearance, the original Toughbook did enable people to operate a computer at disaster scenes, on battlefields, and in other places where regular laptops might easily expire.

Photo credit: Toughbook via eBay

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