According to a recent survey, over five million Australians are using tablet computers, and while the popularity doesn’t take us by surprise, the fact that 73 percent of failure in these devices comes from being dropped might. With that in mind, Panasonic has launched new machines that can survive most things you throw at them.

True Toughbook story: when this journalist was coming back from a business trip recently, he had a beer spilled on him.

Twenty minutes into the first leg of a trip, the guy next to me accidentally bumped his shoulder into his freshly poured beer, which then spilled onto me, my chair, my pants, and my iPod and headphones.

It was an accident, and thankfully I had an extra pair of pants in my carry-on luggage, but it was when I saw that he pulled out a Panasonic Toughbook to work on only ten minutes later, I thought “figured,” given what had just happened.

Toughbooks aren’t just for clumsy people, however, with many business cases ideal for the insane military spec ruggedisation that Panasonic puts into these things.

The latest of the Panasonic Tough-branded computers arrives in two forms running on Windows 8, with the new Ultrabook style Toughbook CF-AX2 fetching a price of $2499 and featuring an ultra-low voltage Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 1.8GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB solid-state drive, a couple of USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, SDXC slot, VGA, HDMI, a thickness of 18mm, a weight of 1.15 kilograms, and an 11.6 inch HD screen that also supports ten points of touch.

And yes, it’s an Ultrabook Touch.

While you can’t rotate the screen in the way the last Toughbook could, you can push the screen so far back on its hinge that it folds against the back of the keyboard, making it very easy to jump between being a laptop and a tablet.

That’s the latest model of Toughbook, but then there’s a new model for Panasonic, with the Toughpad sporting similar innards inside an even more rugged shell.

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 packs in an 1.9GHz Intel Core i5 into a 10.1 inch 1920×1200 screen display which is not only designed to take a beating, but is apparently brighter than other consumer grade tablets and works in most lighting conditions, sunlight included.

Taking a beating, a thrashing, is what many will be interested in the Toughpad for, and we’ve been told it’s rated for surviving a drop of 1.2 metres, and features IP65 certification for resistance to dust, water, and extreme temperatures.