Panasonic releases rugged Toughpad tablet (+ 25 photos)

Vendor expects the durable Android tablet to appeal to local industries such as mining and healthcare

Panasonic unveiled its Toughpad at a media event in Sydney

Panasonic unveiled its Toughpad at a media event in Sydney

With its range of rugged Toughbook notebook PCs already on the market, Panasonic is hoping to get its foot into the tablet space with its new Toughpad.

Panasonic Australia Toughbook group manager, Deane Hornsby, said the timing is right for the product as tablets have helped change the way Australia works.

“However, consideration of real value is required before selection and deployment,” he said.

As a result, Panasonic is introducing a fully rugged Android tablet that aims to meet the performance, protection and productivity demands of the Australian environment.

The Toughpad is not Panasonic’s first foray into the tablet space. The vendor began experimenting with the compact technology as early as 1996 with its CF-01 non-rugged tablet.

Hornsby said the vendor added ruggedness to its tables starting in 2001 with the MDWD wireless rugged tablet, which was the followed by the CF-P1 in 2002 and CF-08 in 2007.

The difference with Toughpad is that it is Panasonic’s first tablet designed for business and field services.

Tougher than the rest

The Toughpad is not the only tablet on the market, but Panasonic is aiming to make it stand out through its ruggedness.

“200,000 tablets in Australian will fail this year because of accidental damage,” Hornsby said.

Panasonic’s Toughpad has been built tough so that it is drop resistant from 120cm, as well as water and dust resistant.

It has a 10.1-inch anti-glare capacitive multi-touch display and digitiser, which Hornsby said makes it sunlight readable, and has up to 600 nit brightness with anti-reflection film.

Devices such as the iPad has an operation range up to 35 degrees celcius, which means it is often unsuitable for certain work environments that can be found in Australia.

“Our device is certified, and it works in temperatures of -10 to 50 degrees celcius,” Hornsby said.

Tight security

In the area of protection, the Toughpad has a dedicated security core for encryption and circuitry that responds to physical access.

“The Toughpad is the only Android tablet available that is FIPS 140-2 Level 2 compliant,” Hornsby said.

The tablet also comes with Micro-USB, microSDHC, micro HDMI and headphone/microphone ports for added expansion and flexibility, with a rubber casing to cover the ports.

In a sign that Panasonic is embracing the local Android developer community, Hornsby says the vendor is inviting Australian application developers to participate in new program for industry.

“Toughpad presents real value for Australian business working in unique environment,” he said.

The Toughpad is available now and retails for $1499.

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