The Toughpad family is designed to meet the same durability standards as the company's Toughbook laptop product line.
Panasonic unveiled the
Toughpad FZ-A1, a 10-inch tablet and the first in its Toughpad family of Google
Android-powered tablets designed for highly mobile outdoor workers in
conditions like aviation, construction, field service and public safety.
Panasonic said it would add a 7-inch tablet to the Toughpad range in the second
half of 2012.
The FZ-A1, introduced Nov.
7, has a high brightness, 10.1-in XGA, capacitive multitouch,
daylight-viewable screen with an anti-glare coating, an active digitizer that
records pressure, direction and speed along with the signature, so the signing
of a document has greater legal authority. In addition, the battery is
replaceable, ensuring mid-life battery upgrades. The 10-in. Toughpad will be
available in Europe in the spring of 2012 for about $1,175 for the standard
model and $1,380 for the 3G model.
The Toughpad family is
designed to meet the same durability standards as the company's Toughbook
laptop product line. The FZ-A1 has a military standard (MIL-STD) 810G rating
for 4-foot drops as well as an IP65 ingress protection rating for resistance to
dust and water. The FZ-A1 is also rated for use in extreme temperatures. The
range of tablets will be supported by an ecosystem that includes a range of
work accessories, such as vehicle mounting and ergonomic hands-free holsters.
Panasonic and its partners said they would also provide professional services
such as project management, imaging and kitting.
The CPU in the FZ-A1
incorporates a dedicated, tamper-proof, security processor, which frees up the
multi-purpose CPU core for other tasks. The security CPU core handles software
and data encryption, enhanced VPN, authentication, trusted boot and device
management. This enhanced level of device security means the system-on-a-chip
family of Toughpads will be compliant with FIPS 140-2 level 2. The tablet
offers as standard Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, GPS and optional
3G mobile broadband offering up to 21M bps download speeds.
"Consumers have enjoyed
tablet computing for a number of years now with almost no uptake in the
workplace due to fundamental design limitations. Now, users in business and
industry can also benefit from the ease of use and portability of tablet
computing," Hiroaki Sakamoto, managing director of Panasonic Computer Products
Europe, said in a statement. "Toughpad takes all the Toughbook experience of
rugged computing we have gained since 1996 and focuses it into tablets designed
for the workplace."
Earlier this year, the
company introduced the Toughbook C1, a lightweight 12.1-inch convertible tablet
notebook. The new version comes equipped with a 320GB base hard drive, up to 12
hours of battery life, 2GB RAM (expandable to 8GB) and an increased Intel Core
i5-2520M vPro processor (2.50GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz). The notebook
is able to withstand drops from approximately 30 inches, and comes with a
battery life of 12 hours (with optional second battery), enabled by a
hot-swappable twin battery design.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.