As Microsoft has withdrawn support for its Windows Embedded CE and Windows Embedded Handheld mobile operating systems, Android has been scooping up market share for rugged enterprise devices. Businesses making such transitions, however, often deal with a number of migration issues, which has led Panasonic to create a new Android-based platform to ease the move away from Windows CE.
Dubbed productivity+, the suite encompasses hardware, software, and support for enterprise migrations to Android. As part of the productivity+ introduction, Panasonic has launched a new rugged tablet to serve as a flagship device for the new approach. The Toughbook A3 is a 10.1-inch slate running Android 9.0 (Pie) and providing the durability features that have made the Toughbook brand arguably the most well-known in the rugged PC category.
Panasonic claims that the A3 is its most powerful Android tablet to date, featuring an octa-core Qualcomm processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of built-in storage (with a microSDXC card slot to add storage if more is needed). The 10.1-inch display has 1,920x1,080 full HD resolution, 500 nits of brightness, and rain-sensing and glove modes to tailor the touchscreen experience to different conditions. In addition to built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v5.0, and NFC support, the A3 can be equipped with an optional 4G LTE network card with Band 14 support for the FirstNet first responder network.
Durability features include a 6-foot drop rating, IP65 certification for resisting dust and water, and build quality that can meet the latest MIL-STD-810H rugged standards. Panasonic rates battery life at 9 hours, and users can hot-swap batteries to extend time away from a power outlet without the loss of their current work. Optional accessories include a (passive) stylus, insertable card reader, and 1D/2D barcode reader. The A3 is available now through the Toughbook network of sales partners, with a starting price of $2,699.