Tough guys don’t need to pussyfoot around with a dainty, iOS-running iPad in hand. No, you want something rugged, something extreme … something that runs the equally wild and rugged Android OS.
Panasonic launched two Android-powered Toughpad tablets on Monday: the 10-inch A1 and 7-inch B1. Designed for “highly mobile outdoor workers,” they’re best suited to those in rough-necked folk in fields like construction, aviation, the military and field sales. And they’re fast, too — 4G fast.
The A1 has a 10.1-inch XGA capacitive-touch display that Panasonic claims is easily viewable in daylight. The multi-touch display responds to both finger and stylus, featuring handwriting recognition and signature capture technologies. That means saying adios to pen and paper. To boot, it can operate in extreme temperatures ranging from a frigid 14 degrees fahrenheit to a swelteringly hot 122.
Panasonic isn’t new to the rugged tablet space. In early 2010 the company launched the clunky, forgettable Toughbook H1 Field, a bulky tablet with a handle that could only be loved as an outdoor-appropriate device. We first heard about the Toughpad (then referred to as another Toughbook) in mid July.
The Toughpad A1 includes a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2-megapixel forward-facing camera. With micro-USB, microSDHC and micro HDMI ports, it can interface with a number of different peripherals. In addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, the tablet will be 4G (LTE or Wi-Max, so it’s not clear which carrier will offer the device). It’s reported to have a battery life of 10 hours.
If security is a major component of your tablet needs, the Toughpad offers enterprise-level security such as software and hardware encryption, dual-factor authentication and enhanced VPN. This makes it compatible with government use (FIPS 140-2) and healthcare use (HIPAA).
It probably won’t survive a fall from a high-rise build site, but if it slips off a four-foot tabletop, the Toughpad should weather the fall just fine.
The 10-inch Toughpad A1 will be available for a whopping $1,300 in early 2012. The B1 will be released later in 2012, with pricing to be revealed closer to launch.