While consumers may have mixed opinions about the features offered by Windows 8, computer and tablet makers were pushing a ton of devices with the OS at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. Panasonic was no exception, backing-up its 20-inch monster tablet with a new 10.1-inch Toughpad running Windows 8.
This Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet is geared more towards businesses, but consumers can get their hands on one when it releases in March, provided they are willing to drop the hefty US$2,900 price. Panasonic is also releasing a more affordable Android version of the device, which comes with a $1,300 price tag and a February release window.
The Windows version of the tablet comes with some serious specs that should be more than suitable for professionals that need a device they can beat on. It comes with Windows 8 Pro, a 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3437U vPro processor, 128-256 GB SSD, 4-8 GB of RAM, and a 10.1-inch screen. Connectivity-wise, it comes with USB 3.0 and HDMI ports, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and the option to add cellular data.
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The Android version is running Android 4.0 on a TI OMAP4460 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. It has 16 GB of internal memory, 1 GB of RAM, and support for microSD cards. While not as much of a beast as the Windows 8 version, both have passed MIL-STD-810G test for 4-foot drops, fluid ingress and temperature, so they should be able to take a beating and keep on working. This is the same testing method used by the US Department of Defense.
Panasonic is aiming high with these tablets, hoping to hold 50 percent of the rugged tablet market by 2015. Having used both models, they were easily the most functional rugged tablets on the show floor, but the price tag limits the potential market a great deal.
Product page: Panasonic FZ-G1