National Products/RAM-Mounts of Seattle, Washington -- undisputedly the leading manufacturer of rugged, durable mounting systems and docking stations for mobile electronics with their patented ball and socket mounting system that allows you to mount practically anything anywhere -- has introduced a whole line of mounting products for the Panasonic ToughBook U1.
First, what is the Panasonic ToughBook U1? It is an "ultra lightweight PC" Panasonic introduced in June of 2008. Technically, it's a rugged Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC), really, and exactly the type of device we suggested would make sense when Microsoft first introduced the UMPC platform two or three years ago. It is a magnesium-bodied 7.2 x 5.9 inch device with a 5.6-inch sunlight-viewable display that is just over two inches thick, weighs a bit over two pounds, and it powered by Intel's super-efficient 1.33GHz Atom Z520 processor. The U1 was designed for use in fields as diverse as construction, mining operations, oil and gas refineries, manufacturing, railroad yards, city streets and storage warehouses, and to be used by insurance adjusters, building inspectors, police officers, firefighters and other first responders.
What this means is that the tough compact Panasonic U1 will be used in many different settings, and have many different mounting requirements. To fill those needs, RAM Mounts has designed a whole system of mounting products for the U1. Let's see what is available:
RAM's designers and engineers started by creating both a powered dock and a passive cradle. The powered dock provides DC input and addresses the U1's shortage of onboard connectivity. Whereas the basic U1 computer requires an expansion module for anything other than audio in/out and its single USB port, the RAM Powered Dock provides:
Obviously, having this additional connectivity can make a huge difference. USP ports, especially, are being used for everything these days, and having three instead of just one will certainly come in handy.
- Serial (DB9 connector)
- VGA out
- RJ-45 LAN
- Dual RF pass-throughs
- 3 x USB
As far as mounting options go, RAM-Mounts offers no fewer than five different options for the Panasonic Toughbook U1:
The basic RAM No-Drill Vehicle Mount with both the powered dock (RAM-VB-XXX-PAN4PU) and the passive cradle (RAM-VB-XXX-PAN4U). This setup also includes a keyboard attachment.
For applications that require a control box, RAM offers their RAM Tough-Box Console Mounts with either the powered dock (RAM-VC-XXX-PAN4PU) or the passive cradle (RAM-VC-XXX-PAN4U). For a detailed description of the RAM Tough-Box, see RuggedPCReview's RAM Tough-Box Consoles or RAM's page on the Tough-Box.
A Clamp Mount comes in handy when you need to use the Toughbook U1 in a fork lift, lift truck, or in other situations where a clamp attachment works best. Here again RAM offers a solution with the powered dock (RAM-2461-247U-3-PAN4PU) or the passive cradle (RAM-2461-247U-3-PAN4U).
If the computer is going to be used on a shop floor or anywhere else where there are flat surfaces for mounting, the RAM Flat Surface Mount is a simple, elegant solution that provides maximum flexibility (Powered: RAM-101U-2461-PAN4PU; passive: RAM-101U-2461-PAN4U).
Finally, RAM offers a Power Adaptor specifically engineered for the Toughbook U1. It has an input range of 12 to 28 Volts DC and provides six different voltage output levels to offer the proper voltage for multiple uses.
The RAM Mounts for the Panasonic Toughbook U1 will be available in February 2009.
See RAM Mounts for the Panasonic Toughbook CF-U1 page at Ram-Mounts.