Android is putting on the hardware equivalent of a Kevlar vest in the latest tablet announced by Panasonic. The overwhelming majority of (read: all) Android tablets have been built for and marketed toward consumers, but that is no longer the case now that Panasonic has presented the rugged Toughbook Android tablet.
Generally speaking, enterprise tablets run Windows; consumer tablets run iOS, Android, or webOS; and in-between tablets run BlackBerry Tablet OS. Panasonic is going against the grain with the Toughbook, however, which will have the maturity, security, and functionality expected of a rugged business tablet, all run using Google’s Android operating system.
Panasonic’s introduction of the Toughbook is a bit scarce in terms of details. Price, release date, and which version of Android the Toughbook will run are just a few of the important specifics missing from the initial announcement.
What Panasonic did announce, however, is a small list of hardware specs that appear to marry some of the highlights of both modern consumer and enterprise tablets. The Toughbook will feature a 10.1-inch matte screen, which will allow for a greater ease of readability in direct sunlight and bright settings, as well as stylus support.
While Panasonic’s Toughbook introduction did not focus on this aspect, the Toughbook line is notoriously sturdy, meeting military standards for resistance to shock and water. Panasonic did not list specifics on how hardy the Android Toughbook would be, but considering Windows devices of the same name that came before it, chances are it will live up to its title.
Other details Panasonic did release include satellite-based GPS, full-shift battery life, and 3G/4G mobile connectivity. All of that is well and good, but big questions remain, mainly: what version of Android will the Toughbook run (i.e. will it be Honeycomb), and will it be available at a reasonable price?
If Panasonic can answer those questions correctly, it could have a very intriguing device on its hands.