Panasonic Unveils New Toughbook Rugged Tablet Device

Panasonic has revealed its new Toughbook FZ-L1 fully rugged tablet. The device, which runs Android 8.1, powered by a Qualcomm 1.1GHz processor, features a 7″ IPS LCD display with Dragontrail Pro protected glass, a resolution of 1280 × 720 resolution and 294 pixels per inch.

The screen features up to 10-finger multitouch, a rain mode for accurate input in wet weather conditions and a glove mode, enabling the use of the device while wearing gloves up to 1mm thick. The tablet can also be used with a pen-style input device. The new Toughbook is 28% thinner (13mm) and 19% lighter (440g) than the FZ-B2 model. It is 5% smaller but retains a similar screen size to its larger counterpart.

It is dust and water-resistant, able to withstand depths of up to a metre for up to 30 minutes. It can withstand drops from 150cm onto concrete and is also MIL-STD810G vibration-resistant.

The device can also be used with an optional two-way configurable barcode reader, capable of reading 44 different types of 1D and 2D barcode types at a rate of more than five scans per second, the company said. The barcode reader can be mounted in portrait or landscape orientation and features triggers on either side for right- or left-handed users. It can be carried in a holster or with a hand-strap.

It also features an 8MP rear-mounted camera with LED light, which can capture stills at 3264 × 2448 and video at 720p30. Voice telephony can be used with the tablet’s internal speaker and microphone or with a connected headset. The FZ-L1 comes in Wi-Fi-only or 4G-connected variants and both come with R-roaming capabilities, optimising access point switching to prevent any loss of data.

The tablet features a “full-shift” battery life, the company said, but it also supports warm-swap battery changing. Users must put the device into a suspended mode beforehand, but batteries can be swapped out without having to power the device down. It can be charged via USB and a range of charging accessories, including cups and cradles, both single and multi-bay.

The FZ-L1 is targeted at mainly indoor usage with some crossover for outdoor use, Panasonic said. Suggested applications include retail, manufacturing, restaurant and possibly healthcare environments. Its processor will provide guaranteed support for Android 9, while an upgrade to Android 10 is currently subject to discussion with Google. A Windows version is not planned. The device will feature Compass Android-specific security software.

The device launches in Autumn 2018, the company said. The Wi-Fi-only version will retail at £1,049 ($1,355) while the 4G model will be priced higher at £1,130 ($1,460). Panasonic is showing the Toughbook FZ-L1 tablet at the Automechanika trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany today (September 11th).

Panasonic’s Toughbook range held a 58% share of the $127 million rugged tablet market in Western Europe, Turkey and Russia last year, according to VDC.