When the going gets Toughpad

Those busy people at Panasonic Computer Products Europe recently unveiled the Toughpad FZ-A1, the first in its Toughpad family of professional-grade Android-powered tablets. The big deal here, is that this 10-inch uber-gadget is ideal for highly mobile outdoor workers (could that be you?) in challenging conditions like aviation, construction, field service and public safety. The range of Toughpads will be supported by an eco-system that includes a wide range of work-ready accessories, such as vehicle mounting and ergonomic hands-free holsters (how very handy?). The world-beating brand will unleash a 7” tablet to the Toughpad range in the second half of 2012.


Hiroaki Sakamoto, Managing Director of Panasonic Computer Products Europe says: “Consumers have enjoyed tablet computing for a number of years now with almost no uptake in the workplace due to fundamental design limitations. Now users in business and industry can also benefit from the ease of use and portability of tablet computing. Toughpad takes all the Toughbook experience of rugged computing we have gained since 1996 and focuses it into tablets designed for the workplace.”

So then, what’s so cool about it? Well for starters, it’s bloody durable. The Toughpad is designed to meet the same durability standards as Panasonic’s Toughbook laptop product line. The Toughpad FZ-A1 has a MIL-STD-810G rating for 120cm drops as well as an IP65 ingress protection rating for resistance to dust and water (always useful when travelling). The Toughpad FZ-A1 is also rated for use in extreme temperatures. This allows it to be used reliably in almost any situation. That’s what’s so cool. Ha!

How secure is this thing then? The CPU in the Toughpad FZ-A1 incorporates a dedicated, tamper-proof, security processor, which frees up the multi-purpose CPU core for other tasks. The security CPU core handles software and data encryption, enhanced VPN, authentication, trusted boot and device management. This enhanced level of device security means the system on a Chip family of Toughpads will be compliant with FIPS 140-2 level 2.

And what about the all-important interactivity element? The pad offers as standard Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, GPS and optional 3G mobile broadband offering up to 21Mb/s download speeds. Mega.

In terms of the display, the FZ-A1 has a high brightness, 10.1” XGA, capacitive multi-touch, daylight-viewable screen with an anti-glare coating. Again, if you’re a mobile worker, in markets like supply chain logistics, utilities and the military, then you can easily see critical data and operate the device in daylight.

What of data capture? For your reference, the Toughpad FZ-A1 includes an active digitiser that records pressure, direction and speed along with the signature, so the signing of a document has greater legal authority. The digitiser pen is also battery-free reducing device maintenance. Oh, and we’ll save the best info until last for you… the Toughpad FZ-A1 (once fully charged) offers 10 hours of battery life, so you’re not going to get stuck… very easily.

With a 3-year warranty, The Toughpad FZ-A1 will be available in the Spring of 2012 at an estimated street price of €850 + VAT for the standard model and €999 + VAT for the 3G model.

For more information on the product, you can visit www.toughbook.eu.