BERLIN: PANASONIC LAUNCHED its Toughpad FZ-E1 and FZ-X1 Windows and Android tablets at IFA that it calls "indestructible", as its latest entries in the $800m rugged device market.
The Windows Embedded 8.1 powered FZ-E1 and Android powered FZ-X1 were unveiled at MWC in February and are designed to offer enterprise firms working in hazardous industries a 4G-enabled mobile solution.
Panasonic director of product solutions Mark Thorne said, the firm expects them to fill a gap in the enterprise product market and were designed based on customer feedback.
"Our entire product development is designed to create a better life and doing this we listen to our customers. We have people using handheld devices [tablets] but they've said traditionally the devices are too weak or not strong enough and complained that don't have a removable battery," he said.
"Then with smartphones we found our customers said they're not enterprise ready as they're not secure and don't have key functionalities, like a barcode reader."
He said the move is part of Panasonic's ongoing strategy to become a business-to-business company and expects them to earn the firm at least $8m within on year.
"Panasonic for years has been famous for consumer products, but recently this market has become very competitive, so we've been moving from a business-to-consumer to a business-to-business company," he said.
"If we look at small-form rugged device forecasts, this business is currently worth $800m. In the first year we want one percent of that."
Both Panasonic Toughpads feature 5in HD 1280x720 resolution displays, with a glove-use mode, water mode and sunlight readability functions, and both come with IP68 certification.
The certification means the Toughpads can survive in hazardous conditions. Panasonic claims they can survive a three-metre fall, and a 400g iron ball being dropped onto them from heights up to 80cm.
Both Toughpads have docks for add-on peripherals, meaning those who need to can add new functions to them. Thorne highlighted the Toughpads' peripheral support as a key selling point.
"The environments [Toughpads] are used in always require additional solutions. For example our customers tell us they need it to integrate with cars, so we've worked to do this," he said. "We know it will be used in manufacturing, where workers will want it to integrate with forklifts, so we're working to do this."
From a hardware perspective the Windows-powered FZ-E1 runs using a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. The Android-powered FZ-X1 uses a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip.
Both Toughpads will feature 2GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage. They will also both include 8MP rear cameras and removable 6,200mAh batteries. They are both available now, with the FZ-E1 priced at €1,428 and the FZ-X1 at €1,385.
Samsung also made its first delve into the rugged tablet market at IFA this year with the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active. µ
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