Samsung's first business-targeted and ruggedized tablet, the new Galaxy Tab Active, is available for preorders and will be shipping by the beginning of November. With an 8-inch display, anti-shock protection, IP67-certified water resistance and multiple charging options, the new tablet can be used by workers in the field who need a device that can function in harsh conditions outside of the office, according to Samsung.
The Galaxy Tab Active also includes a replaceable battery so that workers can use it for extended periods even when they don't have access to charging facilities. Each battery lasts for an estimated 10 hours, according to the company.
The anti-shock protection includes an optional protective rubber case that provides drop protection from up to 4 feet, while the IP67 certification means that the machine will survive temporary immersion in water.
The new tablets also feature enterprise-ready compatibility with Citrix and SAP certification for SAP Work Manager and SAP CRM Manager, with additional built-in application support and capabilities to come, according to Samsung.
Workers will be able to use the tablets even while wearing gloves or other hand protection through the inclusion of an integrated C-pen stylus, which can be used to "write" on the Galaxy Tab Active's screen.
The first devices will include WiFi capabilities and will be priced at $699 with a three-year warranty, while a cellular-equipped device is being considered in the future, according to Samsung.
Jennifer Langan, director of product marketing for mobility at Samsung, told eWEEK in an Oct. 8 interview that the company held a special workshop before developing the device and received input from about 25 Fortune 500 business users about what they wanted to see in an enterprise-targeted tablet device that could be used inside their industries.
"What we saw here was an opportunity for a business-rugged device," she said. Some devices already are available for ultra-hazardous industrial use, but a niche was found to target the new Galaxy Tab Active as a tougher machine aimed at workers in the field, including in transportation, logistics and manufacturing, said Langan.
Such workers are "out and about, outside the typical walls of the office" so they require ruggedized devices that are also enterprise-ready and will integrate with existing business infrastructure, she said.
"That is what we heard from customers," said Langan. "We had a lot of customer input into the design" of the new tablets. "We think this is an untapped market. Take a look at the workforce here in the U.S. Approximately half of them work outside an office."
Not all of those workers need such a device, she said, but for the ones who do, it could be a useful productivity and customer-engagement tool that will provide access to remote information and data.
One of the key factors that customers mentioned that they sought in a business tablet is longer battery life, which is why the new device includes a removable battery so a discharged battery can be easily swapped out for a charged unit, Langan said. "Battery life is critically important, customers told us," she said. "Now you can carry a spare battery with this tablet."
A POGO charging connector is also included and can be used with an optional POGO fast charger. Included with the device is a standard micro-USB charger cord.
The built-in integration with a growing number of enterprise applications for businesses is also a key part of the new devices, said Langan. "We want to facilitate an easy integration into an existing enterprise IT environment."
Also included in the new devices are near-field communication (NFC) capabilities to allow easy data exchange with other devices and defense-grade mobile security using the company's Samsung Knox application.
The new Galaxy Tab Active is not actually the first device that Samsung has aimed at a market outside of traditional consumers. In May, the company launched its Galaxy Tab for Education, a 10-inch device aimed at K-12 students and schools.
Samsung's latest consumer tablets, the 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and the 8.4-inch Galaxy S Tab 8.4, were unveiled in September.