Throughout history, hardware developed for the military has been fine-tuned for civilian operations. It's a given that combat is a make or break proving ground for gear.

The makers of Getac rugged computers know very well that military hardware has to be built tough. They have been making rugged and ultra-rugged computers for the U.S. military since 1989. Getac was born that year when GE Aerospace formed a joint venture with Taiwanese computer manufacturer MiTAC.

And for more than 15 years now, the company has been making rugged notebook systems designed for use on patrol by law enforcement officers. Getac's latest law enforcement model is the upgraded V100 rugged convertible notebook.

The V100 is a combination notebook and tablet PC with a standard 10.4-inch touchscreen display. To convert the notebook into a tablet, all the user has to do is rotate the display. Protected by a magnesium alloy case, the V100 meets MIL-STD 810F for vibration and shock and IP-54 for liquid resistance.

Getac Director of Marketing John Lamb says the V100 is so tough that it is "somewhat overengineered for the typical law enforcement purposes. Our roots are in the military but, in most cases, law enforcement doesn't use computers under the same conditions as the military."

For example, according to Lamb, dust and sand and driving rain are not major concerns for law enforcement mobile computers. However, vibration and shock are huge concerns for cops. Lamb, who serves as an auxiliary officer, says the way cops drive to emergency scenes can be really hard on computers.

"If you've ever seen these guys go over curbs and speed bumps, you know they go over them at full speed," Lamb explains. "So our computers have to withstand not just vibration but actual shock."

During testing Getac rugged computers are vibrated for hours in a special machine to see if the connectors and boards and hard drives will malfunction. Shock testing is even more of a torture test. The computers, including the new and improved V100 rugged convertible notebook, are dropped 26 times from a height of 1.2 meters on two-inch-thick plywood.

The new and improved V100 rugged convertible notebook has been upgraded to increase its processor speed and to update its memory components. The processor has been updated from a 1.2GHz Intel Merom to a 1.4GHz Penryn. The front side bus has been increased from 533MHz to 800MHz, and the 2MB L2 cache has been increased to 3MB of memory. To accommodate the growing RAM demands of software, the V100 now has 4MB of RAM instead of 2MB. Hard drive capacity has also been increased from 120GB to 160GB, expandable to 320GB.

Lamb says the 160GB hard drive will be plenty for most law enforcement users. "Most police departments need the Windows operating system, a computer-aided-dispatch system, and Microsoft Office on their mobile computers. They are not storing a lot of data on their hard drives," he explains.

The one upgrade that Lamb believes most users will find essential is the improved V100's 802.11n wireless connection. "That was something that a lot of our customers really wanted," he explains. "Some people wonder why they don't want 3G, but the reason is natural disasters. If you went down to Katrina, you would have seen that all the cellular networks were down. A fast 802.11n wireless card can be really valuable when cell service is disrupted."

Suggested retail prices for the new and improved V100 rugged convertible notebook begin at $3,499.

For more information visit Getac Online.