Panasonic's ruggedized tablet computer line for field service and industrial workers is being expanded again with the Android-powered Toughpad FZ-B2 7-inch tablet. The machine is joining a tablet lineup that includes 5-inch, 7-inch, 10.1-inch and 20-inch ruggedized tablets running Android or Windows.
The new FZ-B2 tablet, which will retail for $1,299 and be available in February 2015, was announced by the company on Oct. 29. The device is aimed at workers who perform a wide variety of tasks in the field, including manufacturing and inspection, and at others who need a reliable, durable, ruggedized machine to do their jobs, according to Panasonic. It can also be deployed as an upgrade from old-fashioned clipboards and pen-and-paper work processes.
The FZ-B2 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and features a quad-core Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, a 5-megapixel rear camera with auto-focus, a 720P front camera, built-in WiFi, and a removable and replaceable battery that provides about 7 hours of power per charge. Optional 4G LTE cellular capabilities are also available.
The tablet meets the MIL-STD-810G specifications for protection from drops of up to 5 feet, as well as resistance to shock, vibration, altitude, humidity and extreme temperatures, according to Panasonic. It weighs 1.2 pounds and is 0.71 inches thin. Its screen features an anti-reflective WXGA (1,280-by-800) LCD with wide viewing angles and strengthened glass, and it is readable in bright sunlight.
The screen can also be operated by users when they are wearing heavy gloves in the field, giving the device a big advantage over consumer-grade tablets. Other enterprise-ready features include quick-charging, easily replaceable batteries; a fine-tip stylus pen; and a wide range of configuration options for customization by companies, according to Panasonic.
The new FZ-B2 follows the June announcement of Panasonic's FZ-M1 rugged 7-inch tablet, which runs Windows 8.1 and also sells for $1,299, according to an earlier eWEEK report.