Panasonic Toughpad A1 is a rigid $1299 Android 10" tablet with 4G radios, 7" B1 is on the way

Panasonic Toughpad A1 is a rigid $1299 10" Android tablet with 4G radios, 7" B1 is on the way
The Panasonic Toughpad A1 Android tablet got announced, and it follows in the footsteps of the company's Toughbooks, which have earned it street cred in challenging working conditions - from law enforcement, to construction sites.

Being the first brand name rugged Android tablet, it does pack some surprises inside as well as outside. Inside it is the first Android tablet we've heard of with the chip maker Marvell's 1.2GHz dual-core processor. After Intel sold a mobile processor unit to Marvell, they have been working hard on ARM-based versions as well, and a lot of their silicon can be found in e-readers, for example. 

Marvell outed a 1.5GHz dual-core processor last year, the Armada 628, which is probably what we have in the Panasonic Toughpad A1, underclocked to 1.2GHz to save on battery. Armada 628 has a third core, clocked at 624MHz, for the mundane tasks, similar to the designs of TI's OMAP, or NVIDIA.

The rest of the hardware specs are 1024x768 pixels of resolution for the "high-brightness, daylight-viewable" 10.1" display, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory plus a microSD slot, 5MP rear camera and 2MP front-facing one for video chat, plus Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and your flavor of 4G radio choice - LTE or WiMAX. There is also a microHDMI port, and the battery is rated for 10 hours of usage. 

The dimensions, you would ask? It's 0.67" (17mm), and 2.13 pounds (1kg) of weight. Not the most elegant out there, but not nearly as bad as we would expect from a tablet that corresponds to military grade specifications for resistance to dust, shock and water. There will be docks and keyboards available as accessories, and the Toughpad A1 comes with an active stylus for the digitizer. The camera obviously has some OCR software attached to it as Panasonic says it is a "documentation camera", and the handwriting recognition is able to capture your signature for signing them docs on the go.

Android 3.2 Honeycomb runs the rugged show, and there will be a 7" version called the Toughpad B1, which doesn't have specs released yet. The wonderful flexibility of Android to offer diverse and specialized devices comes with a price in the case of the Panasonic Toughpad A1 - and it is $1299, but you get 3 years of warranty. With that price tag, only big corporations and government agencies that are spending tax dollars will be the likely clients, so we can't say we didn't laugh at the comment under the promo video: "Now the Army can play Angry Birds, too." 

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Watching the video below might make you really, really want one too, though, so be warned. In this case, hold your horses until Spring 2012, when the A1 will be hitting hardware stores.

source: Panasonic

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