Panasonic, a Fortune Global 100 company, spends approximately $5 billion annually on research and development. The investment is integral in designing and building more than 14,000 different products worldwide.
Panasonic has been manufacturing mobile computers since 1993 and introduced the Toughbook® brand in 1997. Panasonic continues to invest heavily in research and development to maintain its leadership in manufacturing the world's most durable and reliable mobile computers.
This on-going investment has led to significant breakthroughs for Toughbook products. For example, Panasonic was the first computer manufacturer to integrate with wireless WAN technology and to adopt the Gobi™ mobile broadband solution for easy connectivity with leading wireless networks.
Research activities also led to Panasonic being the first manufacturer of a fully-rugged medical clinical assistant (MCA) device - the Toughbook H1 Health. The Toughbook H1 Health (now replaced by the Toughbook H2) also was the first:
- MCA computer with a fanless design to minimize the transporting and spreading of germs in healthcare environments
- MCA computer with a built-in sanitization reminder system
- MCA computer with dual hot-swappable batteries
Ongoing research activities involve many dedicated Panasonic employees as well as Toughbook customers who provide Panasonic feedback on their usage and experience with the products.
The people who buy and use Toughbook computers heavily influence product development decisions. To better understand user needs, Panasonic's R&D and product development personnel sponsor advisory councils and participate in industry-specific focus groups and trade associations. Through these contacts and daily dialog with customers, Panasonic has a keen understanding of the needs of mobile professionals in all major industries and applications.
Then, it is the job of Panasonic product engineers to economically meet market needs with the best available technologies. Working with leading technology companies, such as Intel and Microsoft, Panasonic engineers evaluate the latest chipsets, materials, power management techniques, LCD screens, wiring, hard drives and components. They study the effects of continuous use in challenging environments. They find the optimum balance between reliability and weight. And they continually discover better ways to keep Toughbook computers performing under extraordinary conditions.
Highly Accelerated Life Tests (HALT), a stress testing methodology used to obtain product reliability information, is one example of Panasonic's research regimen. Panasonic engineers subject electronic components to elevated operating temperatures to find each component's upper operating limit. By HALT testing a component for a short period, engineers can observe a component's performance over its full life cycle and correct any problems before manufacturing begins.
Another example of Panasonic's research regimen is in wireless technology. Panasonic operates one of the world's largest anechoic chambers in the industry. By precisely measuring the amount of electromagnetic radiation produced by Toughbook mobile computers, anechoic chamber testing enables engineers to maximize wireless performance.
The result of these ongoing research activities is a line of Toughbook computers that continually changes to meet the rigorous requirements of Panasonic's customers.
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