Announced last year, the Android-based Panasonic Toughpads are making their way to Asia. The 10.1-inch A1 model will be available from September in Asia and cost about $1,599, depending on optional addons. If that sounds very expensive for an Android tablet, remember, this device is targeted at organisations which require rugged computing devices-the premium is for reliability.
The ToughPad A1 has pretty standard specs for an Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) Android 4.0 tablet, including a 1.2GHz Marvell processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB flash memory and a microSD card slot for expansion. Wireless features include the standard Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, with the option for 3G or LTE connectivity.
The big difference from consumer tablets is its dust, water and shock resistance. It can withstand drops from up to 1.2m and can operate in temperatures between -10 and 50 degrees Celsius. These additional features also mean you end up with quite a large and heavy tablet-it measures 266.3 x 212 x 17mm and weighs 970g.
According to Amos Tio, general manager for Toughbook Asia Pacific, the company is also working to get Windows RT on a future version of the Toughpad. This is targeted for launch in 2013.