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Panasonic Toughpads debut: other tablets a 'bunch of toys'

updated 09:05 pm EST, Mon November 7, 2011

Panasonic Toughpad A1 and B1 official with Android

Panasonic formally launched into Android tablets on Monday night by rolling out the Toughpad. The 10-inch A1 and seven-inch B1 are considered "professional-grade" and have the durability more commonly associated with Toughbooks. Either can meet US military 810G specs for resistance to shock, dust, water, and sometimes temperature, and they have extras intended for years-long use, such as removable batteries.

Either also gets significant expansion, both for cards and ports as well as peripherals ranging from basic cases to card readers and multi-device charging stations. The screens can support both pen and finger input.

Software is also shipping to help them focus on work. Panasonic is promising hardware-level encryption, better VPN than what Google offers, two-piece authentication, and tools to remotely manage devices, such as pushing apps and remotely wiping or locking down devices that get lost. It should be one of the first Android tablets to meet FIPS 140-2 federal government standards and HIPAA in health care.

The A1 has the most detail and is launching first. It carries Android 3.2, a Marvell-made dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 16GB of built-in storage, and 1GB of RAM. Hardening it against the elements has bulked it up to 2.13 pounds and 0.67 inches thick, but it has a 500-nit, 1024x768 display that's outdoor-viewable. Extras come both through five-megapixel rear and two-megapixel front cameras along with one each of micro HDMI video, microSDHC, and micro USB. Owners can optionally go for either LTE or WiMAX for 4G data if the hardware has to be used out in the field.

Battery life is a standard 10 hours on the A1.

The Toughpad A1 ships first, although a distant release in spring for $1,299 will both make it the most expensive Android tablet ever released and could see it ship with an outdated OS. Little is known about the B1 other than its size and common features, although it too will only come later in 2012.

In launching the Toughpads, Panasonic has been unusually aggressive and claims that other companies are treating tablets as the "flavor of the week" and that everyone has to have a model. The company sees others as claiming to do something but that, for workers, they're all dominoes that can't withstand the demands a pro tablet needs. Other tablets are "just a bunch of toys," Panasonic argues, and puts the iPad as the first model to be knocked down. The statement nonetheless comes with either tablet not shipping for several months, leaving the iPad and others as the only models that customers can actually buy.



Toughpad A1













Toughpad B1





By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999

    -6

    These remind me of...

    Girly men who cannot read topographic maps—or even regular maps—and do nothing but driving those SUVs around shopping centers.

  1. Rezzz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    +8

    A stylus

    How quaint.

  1. facebook_Brandon

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Nov 2011

    +4

    license

    I wish apple would license panasonic to make both a macbook and a iPad for business customers, I'm in the contraction business and would love to have a tougher version.

  1. andrewbw

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2001

    +18

    Toughbooks...

    Are huge in law enforcement. Panasonic has solid millions of them to local police and the military. When you need something for out in the field, they're a great choice. At the very least they're trying to differentiate by serving an under-addressed market segment.

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010

    +1

    Everyone has to have a model....

    including us....Doh!

  1. facebook_Francis

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Nov 2011

    +9

    They have the right idea, but their fatal flaw...

    ...is having a pen. One of the reasons why the iPhone and iPad were so successful is because it's entirely touch driven, and that removed an interface barrier. This won't get very far with a pen in the way of use.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    +11

    @facebook_Brandon ...

    So being in the contraction business, does that mean you're an OB-GYN?

    I can see how some really really really ToughPads could come in handy.

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008

    +12

    Dumb

    Just get a tough case for the iPad. There's plenty of them.

  1. kerryb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +2

    perfect for a combat zone

    are we sure GM is not making these?

  1. revco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005

    +8

    pen and finger

    Sometimes you need a pen i.e., signature, sketch, jot down a note. Also, your job could require you to wear gloves and for that a touch screen would be useless. But it's good to have both options -- pen and finger.

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