NEC launches tough laptop with a splash

NEC Corp. launched its latest laptop PC on Tuesday with a splash. A bottle of water was poured over the computer while it was operating to demonstrate its toughness to harsh environmental conditions.

The “Shield Pro” FC-N21S laptop is rated to IP54, an environmental protection rating developed by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). IP54 signifies that the machine is protected against ingress of dust at levels that would harm operation and also against splashes of water from all directions.

It can also be dropped from waist height onto a hard surface and survive, as NEC also demonstrated at a Tokyo news conference. NEC guarantees the machine will be safe when dropped as long as its a drop of fewer than 90 centimeters, the machine is switched off and the lid folded down.

The computer has a 12.1-inch touch panel LED-backlit screen and is a convertible-type laptop, which means the screen can be flipped around and folded down on the keyboard so that it resembles a tablet PC. At its heart is an Intel Corp. Core Solo processor running at 1.2GHz. NEC looked at using a Core Duo processor but the desire to keep the PC fanless meant that it wasn’t possible to use a more powerful chip because of the amounts of heat that it would generate.

Users can choose between a 60G-byte Serial ATA or 40G-byte Ultra ATA hard-disk drive. Users also get to choose between Windows XP Professional or Linux as the operating system.

The machine will go on sale in Japan in January for between

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