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Rough and tough Honeycomb tablet offers extra security

Nov 8, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Panasonic unveiled a rugged, 10.1-inch Android 3.2 tablet for the enterprise market with extended temperature, drop, and ingress resistance. The Toughpad FZ-A1 is equipped with a dual-core 1.2GHz Marvell processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a full range of wireless features, a security co-processor, and an anti-glare, 500-nit display with 1024 x 768 pixels and an active digitizing pen.

The Toughpad FZ-A1 is the official moniker of the unnamed Toughbook-branded tablet the company announced with few details in June. This is according to Pocket-Lint, which published a rather neutral hands-on evaluation of the pre-release Toughpad FZ-A1 back in September.

The tablet had been set for a fourth-quarter release, but Panasonic is now saying the Toughpad will be available in Europe in the spring of 2012 for about 850 Euros ($1,175) for the standard model and 999 Euros ($1,380) for the 3G model. In its Nov. 7 announcement, Panasonic said it would add a seven-inch Toughpad tablet in the second half of 2012.

Toughpad FZ-A1

(Click to enlarge)

Designed for mobile outdoor workers in applications such as aviation, construction, field service, and public safety, the 10.1-inch Toughpad FZ-A1 runs Android 3.2 ("Honeycomb") on an unnamed, dual-core Marvell processor clocked to 1.2GHz. (This appears to be one of Marvell's ARMv7-derived Armada system on chips.) The tablet is further loaded with 1GB of SDRAM, 16GB of flash storage, and a microSD slot that can support up to 32GB, says the company.

The 10.1-in capacitive multitouch screen offers lower resolution than most Honeycomb tablets, at 1024 x 768 pixels. However, the 4:3 aspect ratio display is said to provide 500-nit brightness and anti-glare coating, and is supported with an ambient light sensor.

The tablet ships with an active digitizing pen that records pressure, direction and speed along with the signature, thereby providing greater evidence of legal authority to signed documents, claims Panasonic.

A security processor and dual cameras

The Toughpad FZ-A1 incorporates a "tamper-proof" security processor that handles software and data encryption, enhanced VPN, authentication, trusted boot, and device management, says Panasonic. This enables the tablet to comply with the FIPS 140-2 level 2 security standard, says the company.

Both a five megapixel rear-facing camera and a two-megapixel front-facing camera are available, says Panasonic. The tablet is also said to supply 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, GPS, and optional 3G, with the latter supporting up to 21Mbps download speeds. Other features include micro-HDMI and micro-USB ports, as well as a 10-hour battery.

The FZ-A1 is thick and heavy, measuring 10.5 x 8.3 x 0.67 inches (266.3 x 212 x 17mm) and weighing 2.13 pounds (970 grams), says Panasonic. The tablet offers a military standard MIL-STD 810G rating for four-foot drops, and supports operating temperatures between -14 and 122 deg. F (-10 to 50 deg. C), says the company.

The Toughpad is further protected with IP65 ingress protection for resistance to dust and water, says Panasonic. Accessories are said to include vehicle mounting and ergonomic hands-free holsters.

Stated Hiroaki Sakamoto, managing director of Panasonic Computer Products Europe, "Toughpad takes all the Toughbook experience of rugged computing we have gained since 1996 and focuses it into tablets designed for the workplace."


The Toughpad FZ-A1 will be available in Europe in the spring of 2012 for about 850 Euros ($1,175) for the standard model and 999 Euros ($1,380) for the 3G model, says Panasonic. No details were offered on a possible U.S. release. Notification signups for an unnamed "Toughbook Android powered tablet" may be found at Panasonic's Toughbook tablet page.

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