Consumer electronics giant Panasonic unveiled its latest mobile offering for businesses—the Toughpad FZ-R1, a 7-inch, all-in-one, mobile point-of-sale (POS) tablet running Windows 8.1 that is aimed at retail environments.
With the FZ-R1 and the retailer's own store applications, the retailer's salespeople can assist customers with product comparisons, check inventory, or change an item's style, color or size from the sales floor.
"One major trend we are seeing in the retail space is mobility," Dan Diliberti, senior product development manager for tablet and payment systems at Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, told eWEEK. "The POS terminal is becoming more mobile, and with increased mobility comes increased opportunity for damage to the device or exposure to elements. If these devices fail, it could mean lost revenue and decreased customer satisfaction.
"With that in mind, reliability is of critical concern," Diliberti added. "The Toughpad FZ-R1 is designed to deliver all the functionality retailers want and the reliability they need."
Powered by an Intel Celeron processor, the FZ-R1 includes enterprise-grade security features such as Trusted Platform Module (TPM).
Other features include a user-replaceable, full-shift battery with an optional bridge battery and high-capacity battery, a 20-point capacitive multitouch screen, an integrated EMV reader with PIN pad, an encrypted magnetic stripe reader, an optional POS cradle and a range of configuration options.
"We see the Toughpad FZ-R1 being used in any type of retail environment, from big box stores to luxury stores and even table serve restaurants," Diliberti said. "It's ideal for any environment where you are trying to bring the experience—shopping or payment—to the customer."
Diliberti noted that the tablet can be used for other customer engagement applications in retail, table service restaurants and hospitality, including line busting, order taking, kiosk usage and inventory management.
"Mobility makes professionals of all kinds more productive and efficient. With the right tools, workers can do better work from wherever they are," he said. "The mobility trend has carried over to the retail industry as well with retailers looking to generate a high level of traffic in their stores while still maintaining a quality omni-channel customer experience."
The FZ-R1 will be available through authorized and select resellers and distributors in late spring 2015, with the base model including Windows 8.1 and a standard magnetic stripe reader starting at $1,799.
"Customers can be discouraged by long lines and a lack of inventory, making mobile POS an important feature of any retail operation," Diliberti said. "Mobile POS devices help improve customer engagement by enabling checkout anywhere on the sales floor as the sales force can emerge from behind the register, reducing lines and improving speed of service."