Panasonic gets tough with the Toughpad A1 tablet

Panasonic gets tough with the Toughpad A1 tabletThe iPad's stellar success in the tablet game has attracted just about all the big players in the electronics game, but there are still a couple of notable names who still haven't come out with a slate of their own as yet.

One of them is Panasonic, but that's now set to change with the introduction of the Toughpad family of Android tablets, which come with the same hard-as-nails credentials that make the Toughbook laptop range so, well, tough.

Rugged is no doubt the word Panasonic would rather have us use, but either way the Toughpad range looks set to handle all sorts of abuse.

Kicking things off is the Toughpad A1, a 10in Android 3.2 Honeycomb tablet that boasts a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, plus a drop rating of 4 feet, dust and water resistance, the ability to withstand drastic temperature variations plus anti-reflective and anti-glare displays for use in extreme outdoors conditions.

On top of that, FIPS 140-X data encryption compliance proves it's not just physical protection Panasonic is offering here.

Clearly things have moved on a bit since we first heard about Panasonic's rugged tab plans back in June – that dual-core processor wouldn't have been on the menu back then, for instance.

But there still doesn't seem too much of a rush to get the Toughpad on the shelves: the A1 has been given a Spring 2012 launch window, along with a US price tag of $1,299, while a more compact 7in variant called the Toughpad B1 is being lined up for later in the year.

But Panasonic may just have the last laugh – with so many me-too Android tablets out there going the tough-guy route instantly gives these babies unique appeal. The Toughbook laptop range has dominated the rugged notebook market for years now, and Panasonic clearly sees a small but lucrative market for a similarly beefy tablet.

Read more about: Android

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