Samsung Launches The Galaxy Tab Active2, A Rugged Business Tablet Exclusively Sold By Channel Partners

Samsung is ramping up its push for business customers with the debut of a new tablet, Galaxy Tab Active2, that offers a range of rugged features and special capabilities for a number of industry verticals.

The Galaxy Tab Active2 will only be sold by IT channel partners, making it the first LTE-enabled tablet from Samsung that's exclusive to the channel, according to the company.

[Related: Review: Samsung's Galaxy S9+ Combines Stunning Design With An Amazing Camera]

The launch is "a huge testament to the strength and the potential of our B2B push into the channel," Samsung mobile channel chief Mike Coleman told CRN. "We're starting to build B2B-specific devices that solve real business problems and that partners can make money on."

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The 8-inch Android tablet meets military ruggedness standards for drops, pressure and extreme temperatures, and has an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.

The tablet also features a water-resistant S Pen, and can be used even when wearing many types of gloves, according to Samsung.

The Galaxy Tab Active2 comes both in LTE-connected and Wi-Fi-only models and includes a pogo pins connector for easy docking. Along with running Samsung's Knox security software, the tablet includes capabilities for eFOTA (enterprise firmware over-the-air) management to ensure continuous security and control over the devices for business customers.

Other features include an option for a replaceable battery to extend the battery life, facial recognition for fast authentication, a camera with an 8-megapixel autofocus and sensors to support augmented reality.

Samsung is targeting the tablet for verticals including manufacturing, transportation and retail. Key applications include replacing paper-centric processes like enterprise asset management (i.e., for field work such as managing inventories and doing inspections).

In transportation, the tablet works with fleet management software such as Omnitracs XRS, while in retail the tablet can replace handheld scanners when working with mobile data capture software such as Scandit, Samsung said.

Samsung has also been working closely with manufacturers of third-party accessories, such as mounts, to ensure there are options for building comprehensive solutions around the Tab Active2, Samsung said.

"We think a large number of enterprise customers will see the advantages around this," said Marco Nielsen, vice president of managed mobility services at Stratix, a Norcross, Ga.-based partner of Samsung. "I think it's the strongest rugged tablet offering we've seen."

Welcome features for customers include the S Pen, hands-free unlock via facial recognition, and the ability to use the tablet with gloves, Nielsen said.

"If you're wearing gloves, you can easily get to the apps and quickly get what you need to get done. That's a big thing," he said.

Some Stratix's customers are using legacy rugged devices and are primed for an upgrade to a new device with a more consumer-friendly approach, Nielsen said.

Managing the tablet using eFOTA is also a "huge" advantage, said Peter Dalpe, executive director for strategic alliances at Stratix.

"It really adds to the enterprise-grade quality of that device," he said.

Overall, the launch of the channel-only Galaxy Tab Active2 is another signal that Samsung is serious about working with channel partners, Dalpe said.

"I think their program has really evolved and become much stronger," he said. "The solutions that they're bringing into the marketplace are really complementary to what we do. We can integrate our services platform into their offering, [and get] Knox and their world-class hardware solutions. That really puts us in a good position to serve our customers."

The MAP (minimum advertised price) for the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2 is $419.99 for the Wi-Fi-only model, and $519.99 for the LTE model.

Pre-orders from distribution are "significant" for the device, Coleman said. "That's usually a good sign that there is pent-up demand in the channel," he said.