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 Android 10
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." 

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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13 Comments

1. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2349; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Whoa... seems tough... but pricey

2. mctcm

Posts: 204; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

$1200 for an android tablet is crazy.

3. s.mrabet

Posts: 147; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

This is the best solution for construction workers etc... A normal Tablet would break the first day.

8. mctcm

Posts: 204; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

what could a construction worker possibly need a tablet for?

9. Gawain

Posts: 437; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

The superintendent or quality control managers would have great use for maintaining daily reports, quality control test results, access to order take-offs for delivery of materials, recording topography for grading and logging other information that occurs throughout the day (that scratches the surface). Project owners require very tight reporting of activities, especially in areas of heavy civil projects. There's a lot more automation/high-tech productivity tools used in construction than many people think. It's not some "dumb" operator running a dozer or a blade. Often they're hooked to GPS to make precise adjustments for moving earth/materials, etc. Some of it is really neat.

12. Radioguy

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

i guess you don't sell to that market then

4. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

thats pretty cool. Glad to see they didnt skimp on specs knowing that they are going to have a near lockdown on people that want/need a tablet in high danger areas.

5. DROIDX0430

Posts: 469; Member since: Nov 24, 2010

At that price, it will be following in the steps of the HP Touchpad...Just a fact!! It has to be better and cheaper than Ipad2-to sell...Motorola, Samsung, RIM and HTC are all finding this out with there outrageous prices on tablets.

13. swh114

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

You obviously don't understand the market. The Toughpad is not a consumer device. It is made for Enterprise environments. It's the same reason that Businesses pay $900-1000+ for an enterprise grade laptop instead of the $500 consumer grade devices at BestBuy. Outside of Financial services, ipads are struggling to make it into the enterprise because of security and manageability...and forget about taking it outside. You can't see the display, even when it's cloudy and at 86 degrees and sunny, the ipad/iphone shuts down b/c of heat. If you're a soldier, a building inspector, or a Coke delivery driver, what good is a $600 ipad or $400 GalaxyTab if you can't use/see it outdoors or in your vehicle. Also note that a $600 ipad becomes a $1200 ipad very quickly once you drop it, even if you have an otterbox. Look for the airlines to replace their ipads with something like this that the pilot will actually be able to see and not worry about breaking.

6. jdrevolution

Posts: 87; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

Well people also have to consider that the ones who work around these tough enviorments are usually willing to pay more for something that will last longer then something that they have to buy three or four of because it just can't stand the enviorment. In the end, they'd pay the same for the replacements that they would for just one rugged device. And there are some companies that buy higher priced rugged devices in bulk. One device I can think of in specific was the ES400S by Sprint. A lot of EMT's ended up buying that because their work paid for it and required it (And that phone is $549.99 after discounts...)

7. Jobes

Posts: 364; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Rugged but does it blend?

10. Radioguy

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

Real simple drop an iPad or any other consumer tablet from 4-6 feet and see if it still works better yet throw it across a room. A credit card will be need to purchase a replacement.

11. Radioguy

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

Also keep in mind that non Android platform tablets will not do flash which means many of the software for Public Safety will not work on them. I haven't tried their band aid for flash so i can't comment on whether it works or not. The Toughpad was designed for field use and as a fully ruggedized tablet it will survive in the field. Other will follow Panasonic but like with Toughbooks they are still the leader

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