Have you ever seen umpc? It stands for ultra-mobile personal computer. Most designs are sketchy if best. They have difficult to add hardware, and seeing them in the direct sun is nearly impossible. So when are they going to invent one that actually is ultra-mobile?
The answer to that question has been answered by Black Diamond. The switchback is the new toy for those who like their computer on the go. This baby is bad to the bone. It’s waterproof up to three feet. It has a magnesium housing reinforced with rubber isolators and shock mounted circuit cards. It has MIL-STD specifications for shock, vibration, humidity, and low temperature operation and storage with sealed I/O ports. Need I say more?
There’s plenty more to say, because if all that wasn’t enough, it can operate on Windows XP, Windows mobile, Windows CE, and Linux. It’s a pretty versatile machine. It’s powered by an Intel 1.0 GHz Celeron processor with up to a GB of memory. For something this small, it’s a very powerful machine.
It also contains a 40 GB removable hard drive, hot swap lithium-ion batteries and you can charge them while you play! If that wasn’t enough it also contains a touch screen display with stylus, and a pointing device. Although it does have a keyboard, it’s a condensed QWERTY, so unless you’ve got some tiny fingers, it’s a little difficult to type.
The display is relatively large for such a small handheld device, sporting a 5.6 sunlight viewable LCD, since most people do tend to take portable (hence the word “portable”) computers outside. It does have 1024×600 wsvga resolution, which is nice when viewing those pictures of your family and friends or even videos.
As far as graphics are considered, it boasts a powerful Intel GMA-900 graphics chipset, which for this little toy works out nicely. Its also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi ready, but GPS is an optional add on.
If all these features aren’t impressive enough, you can add devices to the back such as extra USB 2.0 ports, High definition audio outputs or compact flash. This military grade device will probably end up in law enforcement, due to its sturdy design and easily added devices. That’s probably their intention since you can add a breathalyzer. There web site states that there are many addable modules for numerous applications from cameras to extra power, so its foreseeable future in government and law enforcement is probably inevitable.
It carries a large price tag of $3700, so it’s most likely out of range for most people with a budget, but for the technophiles out there, this toy is it.
They also market the device as military grade. With its GPS added, it would be the perfect map and navigation device. It also claims to be able to operate unmanned vehicles, from small R.C. type cars or planes to a fully integrated weapons system. It is very impressive for connecting to existing legacy equipment or custom interfaces for controlling such devices as diagnostic systems for engines, or targeting equipment. You can add a RFID, barcode scanner, or COMSEC radio, enabling it to connect with satellites for communication capabilities.
It could also be marketed in the medical field, whether it is with the military or paramedics. They claim to be able to see medical records and history instantly, so you could find out what the particular patient needs or if they are allergic to certain medications.
This device is probably not for the common computer user, but it is a very cool new ultra-mobile pc. Hopefully, we can see a price drop soon, to make it a little more available for us all.