While recently perusing a brochure from a local IT mall, I was simultaneously amused and impressed to see that Lenovo Thinkpad computers are now being advertised as "military grade" laptops. Apparently this goes back to a recent press release by Lenovo announcing that its laptops have met military specs for semi-rugged computing. Having owned a Thinkpad for five years, I think I understand, because we have sort of "semi-rugged" computing conditions in our family, kindly provided by our two children, two dogs, and my wife. The Thinkpad runs almost 24/7, playing cartoons for the kids, functioning as a mobile office for my wife, and serving me on occasional field trips, demos, and network tests, while it is downloading files at night time. It has been shoved and pushed, stepped on, licked by the doggies (they do love Thinkpads) and various liquids were spilled on it in the course of its life. After five years, I have just replaced the batteries and the hard disk and I expect it to go another few years. You could say, I am quite happy with Thinkpad performance.
Another class of devices that qualifies for rugged deployment are Nokia phones. The picture on the left probably speaks for itself. My wife just replaced this phone after three years of tough service during which the phone spent most time skidding around the dashboard of her car. In addition, it has survived several falls from considerable hight, including a spectacular one at the Mae Sa waterfall in Chiang Mai, and the usual wet conditions during the rainy season in Thailand. Finally, Pioneer has my admiration for its exceptionally long-lived optical drives. I recently replaced my Pioneer DVD/CD Player after ten years of service without failure or repair. Of course, I bought a new Pioneer player.