The market for rugged mobile devices has been heating up in recent weeks, with new tough tablets being announced by Panasonic and Motion Computing, just to name two. Now Dell is upping the ante for ruggedized laptops with the introduction of the Latitude 14 and Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme, the latter a convertible model that doubles as a tablet.
In the arms race that is the rugged device market, you can never be tough enough, so Dell claims its new Latitudes include a slew of features that the competition don't offer. For instance, the touchscreen on the Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme is designed so it can be used even with thick work gloves. The company says that the hinge on the Latitude 12, which allows the device to switch from laptop to tablet, is first rugged version the industry offers. The display has also received an upgrade that allows much-improved outdoor readability, according to Dell.
Given the history of Dell's ruggedized portables, of course, the new Rugged Extreme laptops meet the criteria to be MIL-STD-810G rated for durability against extreme temperatures, moisture, sand and dust, shock from drops, and more. Dell says they are made from "ultra-polymers" and magnesium alloy, with sealed doors, gaskets, and backlit keyboard. Virtual security takes the form of a Trusted Platform Module and the company's Dell Data Protection|Encryption and ControlVault technology.
Internal components include Intel's Haswell processors, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of solid-state storage, discrete graphics options on the Latitude 14, and an 8-megapixel camera on the Latitude 12. Mobile broadband connectivity, as well as dedicated GPS functionality, are options.
None of this comes cheap, though that comes with the territory with these devices when they're being used by clients like the U.S. military under harsh conditions. When they are released next month (May 6 for the Latitude 14, and slightly later for the Latitude 12), the Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme will have a starting price of $3,499, while the Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme begins at $3,649.