CES 2014: Panasonic Intros 7-Inch Toughpad Tablet For Enterprise

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Panasonic stepped up its ruggedized tablet game for the enterprise Monday with the unveiling of a new Toughpad model.

At its CES 2014 press conference, Panasonic showed off the Toughpad FZ-M1, an enterprise-focused 7-inch tablet PC. The ruggedized tablet runs Windows 8.1 Pro and comes with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 vPro processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB solid-state drive, with the option for a 256-GB SSD.

"It is our intent to lead the ruggedized mobile device market for the enterprise," said Rance Poehler, president of Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, who showed off the new Toughpad on stage.

[Related: Acer, Lenovo And HP Use CES As Launchpad For Android-Based PCs]

During the presentation, Poehler tossed the Toughpad FZ-M1 from the stage to a colleague in the audience; the device landed on the floor but powered back up again immediately.

The Toughpad FZ-M1 comes with Panasonic's tried-and-true ruggedized case, but the new device is also the thinnest and lightest rugged 7-inch tablet, weighing in at 1.2 lbs. and measuring just 0.7 inches thick, thanks to a fanless design. Panasonic said the fully rugged design meets the MIL-STD-810G specifications for drops of up to 5 feet as well as electrical shocks, vibration, high altitude, and extreme humidity and temperatures.

The new 7-icnh tablet also comes with a user-replaceable battery that delivers eight hours of uninterrupted work, with an optional high-capacity battery that delivers 16 hours of power plus an optional "bridge battery" that allows users to switch out batteries without powering down the device.

The FZ-M1 features a 1,280-x-800 display resolution, a 720p built-in front camera and a 5MP rear camera. The new Toughpad also comes with several customizable options such as 4G LTE wireless, an internal GPS and Ethernet. In addition, there are optional readers for bar codes, smart cards, RFID, and magnetic stripes for a variety of vertical industry applications.

The Toughpad FZ-M1 will be available in early spring 2014 at a starting price of $2,099. Panasonic said an Intel Bay Trail-M processor model will be available later this year, presumably at a lower price point than the Core i5 vPro model.

Poehler also said that Panasonic would continue to bring a variety of tablet sizes to the market. "We know that one size does not fit all for the enterprise," he said.


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