Switchback UMPC For The Outdoor Nerd!

Check out the Switchback UMPC, a ruggedized computer designed for use in extreme conditions anywhere on the planet.

UMPC stands for Ultra-Mobile Personal Computer, and the Switchback has the “ultra-mobile” part down. It is small and lightweight, just 3 pounds, with a 5.6 inch touch screen. It’s powered by a 1 Ghz Celeron processor and can come pre-loaded with Windows XP or Vista. (1 Ghz Celeron and Vista? Go with XP. Thank me later) It has 120 GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM, hot swappable batteries, and a host of wireless connectivity, including Bluetooth, 802.11g, and GPS reception.

All of those tech specs sound great, but it’s the ruggidization that makes it so interesting. The device can withstand extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, as well as altitude and it is water proof up to 1 meter in depth for more than 30 minutes. It’s also highly customizable, with add-on “backpacks” that provide the ability to take atmospheric reading of temperatures and humidity or even add a built in 3 mega-pixel camera. The details on the backpacks are a bit sketchy at this point, but it sounds like the manufacturer, Roper Mobile has some big plans for adding functionality in this way. The Switchback also comes with built in auto-diagnostic tools to facilitate repairs in the field, something that could be very handy while on an expedition somewhere.

This thing looks like it could be a great edition for explorers on the go who don’t want to give up too much pack space, or carry too much weight, yet still have a device that’s designed to withstand the elements. The interface is certainly unique, and with all the wireless options, you might even be able to play World of Warcraft in your tent on the way to the South Pole. 😉 If anyone over at Roper would like to send me one to test out, I’d be happy to put it through it’s paces!

Kraig Becker

3 thoughts on “Switchback UMPC For The Outdoor Nerd!”

  1. These are certainly some pretty powerful devices.

    As cool as it would be to have some video games while you’re out in the wild, these could probably also have some pretty interesting uses in remote field research, and the like.

    I’m almost afraid to ask how much they cost!

  2. You’re right Daniel, it would make a great field research tool. It would also be great for communicating with base camp during expeditions, or blogging while in the field which has become pretty common these days as well.

    While yet, it would be fun to use it to pass the time in the tent for entertainment purposes, those kinds of things can put a real hit on the battery and wouldn’t really be a great use for this kind of tool.

    No idea what the price is. I hadn’t seen it listed on their website or in any of the previews of the device that I’ve read either.

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