Panasonic is expanding its Toughbook range of ruggedised laptops with the addition of an Android-based tablet device. Dubbed the Toughbook tablet, the 10.1-inch tablet is not aimed at the retail market, but rather is geared towards the industrial and commercial sectors, where ruggedised laptop are traditionally used out in the field, or areas where traditional laptops or handsets are subject to tough environmental conditions.
According to Panasonic, the Toughbook is targeting “mission critical government personnel, highly mobile field forces, SMB’s looking for a competitive edge, security conscious IT managers and bottom-line focused CFOs.”
The tablet will come with a 10.1 inch XGA multi-touch display but it will not be a glossy one which we expect in consumer tablets. Rather, it will have a display that is clearly visible even in bright sunlight so that mobile workers, in markets like field service, home healthcare and public safety, can easily see critical data and operate the device regardless of lighting conditions.
Another pointer to its intended core market is the addition of an active stylus, which is traditionally used on industry handsets when signing for a package.
Other features of the device will be similar to Panasonic’s existing Toughbook portfolio – it will focus on reliability and durability, even in extreme operating environments.
Panasonic is also promising GPS and full-shift battery life, coupled with “professional-grade accessories and optional embedded 3G mobile broadband connectivity”. Other details about the tablet are not yet available.
Panasonic will, however, be not alone in the space as recently Motion Computing, a USA based company, came out with a 10.1-inch CL900 tablet, designed to fulfil the needs of engineers, utilities workers, and the aviation and healthcare industries.
These devices, of course, present something of a challenge for IT managers, who have to mitigate the possible security risks. And keeping that in mind, Panasonic tablet will come with security embedded at the hardware as well as software level.
The tablet is expected to be launched in United States sometime in the fourth quarter of 2011.