Fujitsu first announced their new 10-inch, waterproof Android tablet, the oddly-named Arrows, back in September. Released in October in Japan, sales figures (or price!) haven't been made available in the West, but it's apparently enough of a success that they're planning to bring it stateside fairly soon. We got a close look at the thing during the CES Unveiled event on Sunday, and though it isn't the game changing iPad killer of our dreams, it's a solid, fairly lightweight (if a bit thick) Android tablet that also comes with the added bonus of being impervious to the whims of Poseidon.
A fully functional display model was available and though it was entirely in Japanese, anyone with prior Android tablet experience will have no problem using it. I managed to get to the Japanese version of Twitter, watch a couple of videos and learn again and again that I know nothing about the Japanese language without any issue (other than comprehension, of course). Running Android 3.2, its 10-inch screen gets 1280 X 800 res, and it has both front-facing and outward cameras, a 1 GHz dual-core processor and 16 GB of memory in the basic unit. In other words, it's a decently powerful tablet on par with several already available in the West. Ho-hum. But the important thing is that it actually is waterproof. Seriously, it functions without issue after being fully submerged in a fish tank. That's James Bond-style durability.
It is presently available only in Japan. We were told that the Fujitsu is 'definitely working' to bring the Arrows tab to North America in 2012, but a rep confirmed that they're still negotiating with North American providers, so no timetable is possible at this time. (Pssst, T-Mobile! Now's your chance to salvage your fortunes after the collapsed AT&T deal.) As for the cost, we just don't know. As stated above, price information is not available. However, soon after checking it out, a colleague pointed out to me that Arrows is similar in specs to the Xyboard, so I expect when it finally sells in the US, it will clock in at or just under $500.00 for the 16 GB version. That would make the most sense, of course. Waterproofing is a cool feature, but as most people don't swim and play Angry Birds at the same time, it isn't enough to justify a price tag that surpasses that of the iPad. Then again, Panasonic thinks people will pay $1299 for their upcoming ToughPad. If that staggering idea turns out to be true, Fujitsu may just follow their lead.