Which netbook or tablet will you pack for your next Antarctic expedition?

HumanEdgeTech

Netbooks and tablets have become pretty popular as consumer devices over the past few years, but they also serve a number of niche markets such as education, government, or industrial settings. It turns out there’s also a demand for light weight and durable computers at the South Pole. A company called HumanEdgeTech has put together a couple of kits featuring HP netbooks and tablets for use in the Antarctic or other extreme settings.

The prices are pretty high, but the devices have been modified for use in remote, cold, and high-altitude conditions.

The netbook is a modified HP Mini 110 with a 60GB shock-mounted solid state drive and a 1.66 GHz Intel Atom processor. It’s designed to work with a satellite modem and can be used with an optional solar charger. The base price of an “Expedition Netbook” is $895, but you can also buy a package which includes a solar charger, satellite phone and data plan, rugged case and other accessories for about $4600.

HumanEdgeTech’s tablet offering is a version of the HP Slate 500 which works with satellite internet. It runs $1095 or you can shell out $4800 for a complete package.

Honestly, it’s not all that clear what changes have been made to these products that justify the premium price. You could probably save some money by picking up an HP Mini netbook for around $300 or an HP Slate 500 for about $800 and then adding the solar charger, rugged case, and other goodies on your own. But I suppose if you’re going to be relying on this equipment at the South Pole, you may want to make your purchase from a company that specializes in this sort of thing. On the other hand, HumanEdgeTech isn’t an authorized HP reseller and explicitly states that the laptops and tablets are not covered under any warranty — including HP’s.

via ExplorersWeb

  • Mr. T

    I assume they”ve cracked open the cases and coated the electronics with a silicone grease to prevent moisture condensation from interfering with their operation. For high altitude, the only thing you’d worry about is whether the fan could keep the unit cool in warm conditions, so maybe they’re put in slightly larger fans, but I doubt it — there’s just not that much extra room inside a netbook case. I doubt they’ve done anything with the batteries, although battery capacity would be slightly reduced at lower temperature.