One of the nicest things about a new toy is those first weeks and months when it still looks brand new and has yet to show any signs of wear and tear. With devices like tablets and smartphones featuring massive screens that cover one side of the entire device, our gadgets are becoming more susceptible to damage and scratches, scuffs and even cracks are becoming more common. Panasonic is hoping to turn things around with what it's calling the world's most reliable 7- and 10-inch tablets.
Aimed at those in the aviation, construction, field sales and public sector, where exposure to extreme environments is a pretty frequent occurrence, the Toughpad A1 and B1 are both Honeycomb devices. While Panasonic didn't reveal much about the 7-inch B1, the A1 (which will be available first) boasts a 10-inch 1024x768 anti-glare display (with stylus), a 1.2GHz dual-core Marvell processor, 16GB of integrated storage (expandable to 32GB via microSD), optional 4G (LTE or WiMAX) mobile broadband, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, satellite GPS, and a removable battery that's good for 10 hours.
Of course, the most interesting feature of these tablets is their ruggedness. To that end, Panasonic says the A1 has a drop-test rating of 4ft; can operate between 14F and 122F; has an Ingress Protection rating of IP65, meaning it's totally resistant to dust and protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions; a magnesium alloy chassis with elastomer bumpers on the all four corners; vibration resistance; and compliance with the MIL-STD-810G military standard for environmental engineering.
The ToughPads are aimed more at businesses, as opposed to consumers. In an effort to better target business customers, Panasonic's new tablets also offer a custom set of low level controls that provide IT administrators with the ability to control the Android-powered tablets and allow them to deploy and manage tablets in the field. They also support the Business AppPortal, an enterprise-focused app store.
The Toughpad A1 will be available in the Spring of 2012 starting at $1299 while the less talked about Toughpad B1will be released later in 2012, with more details coming closer to availability.
Check the video below to see these rugged devices in action: