CES 2013: Panasonic Welcomes Windows 8 To Its Toughpad Family


Panasonic Tuesday contributed to the outpouring of new Windows 8 devices at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show by introducing its new Toughpad G1 tablet.

What Panasonic has dubbed the first fully "ruggedized" Windows 8 tablet, the new Toughpad G1 boasts a 10.1-inch display, a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor and a durable frame that the company claims allows it to withstand harsh weather conditions, dust and drops.

Like the rest of its Toughpad line-up, Panasonic said the new Toughpad G1 is ideal for vertical markets like healthcare or field services because it offers portability without sacrificing the durability expected of a traditional notebook PC. The new Toughpad G1 also comes with an integrated stylus for signature capture, along with an 8.5-hour and replaceable battery.

[Related: Panasonic Restructures, Arms VARs With End-To-End Solutions For Vertical Markets]

According to Kyp Walls, director of product management at Panasonic, the Toughpad G1 offers users the best of both worlds, delivering a "consumer-like" tablet form factor, but also security and ease-of-integration for enterprise users because of its Windows 8 OS.

"We have had a lot of enthusiasm for the Android Toughpads, the A1 and the B1," Walls told CRN. "But, to be honest with you, when we first brought out the A1, a lot of customers said, 'that's a great design, but we need it to run Windows.'"

Walls said moving forward, Panasonic will continue to invest in both the Android and Windows platforms. "I don’t think we will see Windows 8 tablets eliminate Android tablets," he said. "I think they will co-exist."

Panasonic also announced Tuesday its 7-inch Toughpad B1 tablet, which was first unveiled at last year's CES, will start shipping next month. The Android-based Toughpad B1 touts the same "ruggedized" form factor as its larger Toughpad counterparts, but in a more compact, 7-inch design that Walls said Panasonic customers were demanding.

"Customers told us they liked the [10.1-inch] Toughpad A1 and that it was a great size for most users, but that people wanted to do one-handed use, and that a 7-inch tablet was going to be more attractive for them," Walls said.

The new Toughpad B1 will go head-to-head with a growing number of smaller-sized tablets, including Apple's new iPad mini, Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD.

The Toughpad B1 will start at $1,199 when it ships in February, and the Toughpad G1 is slated to launch in March, starting at $2,899.

PUBLISHED JAN. 8, 2013