After Hours

Photos: Consumer products toughen up

Stricter airport regulations may increase consumer demand for computers and other gadgets with thicker skin. As such, so-called ruggedized devices, which have been primarily targeted at the military and field workers, may start to get a sleeker look that appeals to consumers.

Here, Itronix President and CEO Tom Turner stands atop his company's latest notebook, a pose that Michael Dell or Hewlett-Packard's Mark Hurd are unlikely to duplicate with their newest portable systems. All Itronix notebooks with the "rugged" label have been designed to withstand strenuous tests for pressure and vibration.

Itronix, a division of General Dynamics, plans to release its newest rugged notebook, the GoBook XR-1, in September. The XR-1 isn't cheap, with a starting price of $4,330. But it is designed to withstand falls, spills and other hazards that would render an ordinary notebook useless. Turner said in an interview last week that the company's GoBook line of notebooks is used by the Air Force and have been deployed to the deserts of Iraq.

Tom Krazit/CNET

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...