I was just saying a few days ago that rugged mobile devices should be the future, and now we see one more upcoming “rugged” device that will make its debut in September, except this time it’s not a phone, but a Honeycomb tablet, made by Fujitsu, that will be water-resistant. But why is Fujitsu making a rugged tablet, anyway?
Taking your tablet to the beach, using it in the kitchen when cooking, getting caught outside in the rain, or drinking coffee next to it, are all very real risks of damaging your $400-$500 tablet beyond repair. Having a tablet (or smartphone) that we don’t have to treat with extreme care every single time we use it should should enable us to use them in situations and environments where we wouldn’t dare to use them otherwise.
Such rugged tablets should also be great for people with small kids. Right now, there are some companies out there that make some “rugged” tablets that are very ugly, with low specs, and even expensive for what they are worth. The Fujitsu tablet has current high-end specs such as a dual core OMAP 4 processor, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, so it’s definitely not a toy, but because it’s rugged, people can still lend them to their kids without having to look over their shoulder in case they’ll spill something on it or break it.
Unlike “skins”, which are supposed to be these companies’ differentiating factor, (but most of the time isn’t), making a durable tablet that can withstand harsh environments and conditions, is definitely a differentiating factor. This means their rugged products will be sought out more because of their reliability, and they will be able to make a higher profit on them, too.
In a market where they mostly build the same thing, innovation is desired, and this is a good way to do that and take the lead. Hopefully, the other manufacturers are paying attention, and they’ll push at least some of their rugged devices in the market, too.