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Panasonic Toughpad A1 and Toughpad B1

 Panasonic Toughpad A1 Available now
9th November 2011

Panasonic gave us a glimpse of their first rugged Android tablet some months ago, but now their first tablet has a name - the Panasonic Toughpad A1, a 10.1" Android 3.2 device with a dual-core processor, due for release in spring 2012. This will be followed by the more compact, 7" Panasonic Toughpad B1 which is due in the autumn.. so there's quite a wait yet for that particular device.

The technical specifications of the B1 aren't known at the moment, although it will basically be a scaled down version of the Toughpad A1. And because you will have to wait almost a whole year before the B1 is available, we will concentrate on the larger tablet instead.

Based on a similar design philosophy as Panasonic's legendary line of Toughbook notebook computers, the Toughpad A1 is designed for demanding commercial and industrial environments, and users for whom the term "in the field" actually does involve being in a field. Certified to IP65 and MIL-STD-810G standards for protection against dust, water and shocks, both these devices are much more durable than a standard consumer tablet.

 Panasonic Toughpad  A1 and B1 Underneath, the Panasonic Toughpad A1 is a powerful device with a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage plus a microSD slot. On the front is a bright and daylight readable 10.1" 1024 x 768 pixel display and a 2 megapixel video calling camera, plus a 5 megapixel primary camera on the back. The A1 has built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS plus optional 3G and 4G capabilities. There's a microHDMI socket as well, plus a 3.5mm audio socket and USB connector, and there's also an optional stylus available for the screen.

The operating system is Android 3.2, although we suspect that Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" will be available during 2012 for these devices. Also included on the Toughpad tablets is on-device encryption and VPN support.

The A1 is a big beast, measuring 210 x 266 x 17mm and weighing 966 grams. The A1 has a magnesium alloy chassis with an ABS and elastomer exterior to protect the unit. The smaller B1 has a footprint of about 131 x 197mm and will be considerably lighter.

 Panasonic Toughpad A1 In the US, the Toughpad A1 is slated to cost $1299, given the price differential between the US and Europe, we would expect it to cost about €1500 on the other side of the pond. That may seem expensive, but if you are running business critical applications in demanding environments then you will already know why you need one of these.

The smaller Panasonic tablet will be competing directly with the Motorola ET1 which should be available much sooner than the B1. Panasonic say that the Toughbook A1 should be available during spring 2012 with the B1 following on sometime in the autumn.

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Panasonic Toughpad A1 at a glance

Available:

Q2 2012

Network:

Various CDMA / GSM

Data:

LTE / WiMAX / EVDO / HSPA / WiFi

Screen:

10.1" 768 x 1024 pixels

Camera:

5 megapixels (main)

2 megapixels (sub)

Size:

Large tablet
210 x 266 x 17mm / 966 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Memory card:

MicroSD (16GB internal)

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Optional

GPS:

Yes

OS:

Android 3.2

Battery life:

10 hours

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