Panasonic says that it is filling a gap in the tablet market. Rance Poehler, president, Panasonic Solutions Company, said in a press release that enterprise customers are looking for a tablet that fills their needs. Up to now, none of the tablets on the market will do. Every part of the Toughbook's design has enterprise users in mind. For example, the 10.1 inch XGA screen is not the same glossy display that other tablets are equipped with, which becomes unreadable in the sunlight. The screen on the Toughbook can be read under all lighting conditions, which is important in a business like healthcare where having the information on the display washout is just not acceptable. A stylus will allow users in healthcare or in sales to obtain a signature when needed.
To make sure that information is protected, security is in place at the hardware level. And the new tablet is durable, able to withstand extreme operating conditions. Also on board is a satellite based GPS, a battery that will last a worker's full shift and optional 3G/4G mobile broadband connectivity.
Panasonic expects to have the tablet in the market by the fourth quarter of the year. There is no word on whether or not Honeycomb will be powering the device and information about mundane items like pricing and carrier availability will have to wait for another day. The important thing to note is that the manufacturer feels that it has found a gap in the tablet market for a rugged device that is designed for those whose business comes to a standstill when they can't process certain information in a timely manner.
If the Panasonic Toughbook name sounds familiar, back in 2008 the company introduced a tablet PC running Windows Vista Business under the same moniker. That product cost $2,499 and offered optional 3G broadband, GPS, a fingerprint scanner and even a camera. Four years before that, the manufacturer released the Panasonic Toughbook CF-P1, a mobile phone that could withstand a drop of 1.2 meters and was encased in shock resistant magnesium which also protected the device from rain, dust and pings. A touchscreen device, the model had a $1,000 price tag and offered Bluetooth connectivity and Wi-Fi. Powering the device was Microsoft Windows 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition with 64MB of RAM. We sure have come a long way since then.