Panasonic’s Toughbook tablet aims to make your tablet look like a wuss

June 17th, 2011 | by Raymond Lau
Panasonic’s Toughbook tablet aims to make your tablet look like a wuss

Want something more durable than the delicate confectionary of glass and aluminum that is the iPad? Then you’ll want to take a look at the Toughbook Android tablet, an upcoming addition to Panasonic’s line of ultra-rugged computers.

There are several compelling features the 10.1-inch tablet offers, including a matte screen which improves visibility in direct sunlight. It will also come with an active stylus, no doubt targeted at industries such as healthcare and mobile point-of-sale environments, or in workplaces where users are required to use gloves.

Other features to be offered on the Toughbook tablet include satellite-based GPS, full-shift battery life, professional-grade accessories and optional embedded 3G/4G mobile broadband connectivity.

Rance Poehler, Panasonic Solutions Company’s president, said that the Toughbook tablet is meant to address a gap in the current tablet space. Most existing tablets are designed with consumers in mind, and enterprise customers interested in deploying tablets might be frustrated at the lack of options.

To address this need, the new Toughbook tablet is being designed with security embedded in the hardware. “Like all Toughbook products, our Toughbook tablet will be designed and constructed with the mission-critical mobile user in mind,” said Poehler.

But when you think enterprise-grade tablets and mission-critical applications, the operating system which immediately pops into mind is Microsoft Windows, not Android. Further confusing the situation is the Toughbook tablet’s images, which shows it running a 2.x version of Android. I’d be hard-pressed to think of any mission-critical phone apps.

The Toughbook tablet is set to be released in Q4, so hopefully Panasonic will have time to customise Honeycomb for it and work out its kinks, and maybe even give buyers an option for Windows. No word on how much it will cost, though there will likely be a rather heavy premium for its ruggedness.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on a test unit and drop it into a pool of mud just to see what happens.

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