Ever since the 1990s, laptop computers have made for a convenient and often fun alternative to stationary desktop PCs for both work and leisure, and many such laptops can be either plugged into an Ethernet cable or connect to wireless Internet services. For example, such laptops can be very useful for traveling business professionals who need to get some work done on a trip, and laptops can be used on board a private jet or a bus. In other cases, however, a worker is outdoors or in other strenuous environments, and an ordinary laptop, when used, might get damaged if it is dropped or transported on a vehicle going over rough terrain. Thus, a semi-rugged laptop is the better choice for military agents, outdoors workers such as park rangers, police officers, factory workers, or even food processor workers. A semi-rugged laptop can endure the rougher conditions of such work sites, and they can often handle drops and spills. Durable laptops may come with drop shock protection, and even the highest performance semi-rugged laptop models may not suffer at all from a rough work environment. Who needs a semi-rugged laptop today? Will a police toughbook do the job?
A semi-rugged laptop is part of the larger industry of such mobile computers, which has grown enormous by the late 2010s. When someone combines laptops with other portable computers such as tablets, a truly impressive industry emerges. Today, there are an estimated 1.43 billion tablet users worldwide, and many of them might have laptops, too. Such computers can be used for leisure, such as Internet surfing or gaming, and many professionals are adopting their use as well, especially in recent years. Such computers can be used by a store associate to browse a store’s catalog or inventory, for example, which can be a quick and convenient way to check product availability for a customer right there in the store. These tablets can even be used to browse the Internet to find relevant information for a customer’s questions, and laptops may also have chip readers plugged into them. This means that a tablet acts as a portable cash register for debit or credit cards, which can be very convenient in some situations.
Some jobs only need ordinary laptops or tablets, while others require a tougher model that can endure being dropped, jostled roughly, or even spilled on. Indoor workers such as business employees may only need regular laptops, such as when they go on business trips. During a flight on board a chartered jet, for example, such a worker can use wireless Internet services to access his or her company’s Cloud storage to share and receive files to stay productive. The same is true while the employee is elsewhere on their trip, or for remote workers who work from home. But in other cases, a tougher laptop is needed where regular ones might shatter or malfunction.
The branches of the American military are always looking for new hardware to help increase combat effectiveness and defend American interests, and this certainly includes computers. In fact, many aspects of the military have become computerized, including robotic combat units that operate both in the air and on the ground. Some military agencies already deploy wheeled, armed combat drones, but someone needs to control them. For this need, military personnel can be trained to remotely operate a land-based or airborne drone with a computer, and out on the field, this means laptops. A laptop out on the field may be exposed to danger, however, especially if there is active combat taking place. During a skirmish or battle, a drone operator in the back of a truck or at a base may drop his laptop or even have it thrown through the air, and the laptop must be able to survive and keep functioning. A robotic combat drone may not be very useful if its controlling laptop is too easily damaged and knocked offline. Something similar might be said about construction workers or park rangers who have physically demanding jobs and may sometimes trip and fall or drop their laptops or tablets. A tough shell and shock absorption can help these computers survive any trauma at the workplace and keep running.