There’s not a lot of movement (not official, at least) in the technology world with less than a week until a major event like CES, but that doesn’t mean we can forget about gadget launches altogether. As a matter of fact, one could even try to take advantage of this particularly quiet time to ensure it gets the kind of media attention it could otherwise not hope for.
And while we can’t be certain Panasonic thought of it that way, the fact of the matter is that the once upon a time highly anticipated ToughPad A1 is finally seeing official daylight as we speak. Marketed as the FZ-A1, the “bullet-proof” tab has been unveiled in Australia, where it should start selling in a matter of days.
The RRP (recommended retail price) in the land down under is a hefty $1,499, but that doesn’t exactly come as a shocker. After all, you don’t see very often gadgets that are MIL-STD 810G and IP65 compliant, or in plainer words that can withstand drops from up to 4 feet high, that are completely spill proof and functional in temperatures from 14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
The ruggedness of the Toughbook is not the only selling point for Panasonic either, with the rest of the spec sheet looking pretty decent. The 10.1-inch 1,024 x 768 pixels resolution display is protected by an anti-glare film, the 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU and 1 GB of RAM make for an honorable hardware configuration, while the satellite-based GPS and optional 3G should ensure that you are always connected and down to earth.
The 10-incher is equipped with dual 5 MP/2 MP cameras, while the user replaceable 33.9 Wh battery should hold enough “juice” for 10 hours on a single charge. The 16 GB of on-board memory can be extended via the microSDHC memory card slot, while other small, but important treats include a micro HDMI port, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and a bundle of security features like Marvel Trusted Boot and hardware assisted storage encryption.
Everything can’t be rosy about the Toughbook however, so we can’t say we’re very thrilled about the running of Android 4.0 ICS or the 993 grams weight.
Panasonic is yet to announce Toughbook availability outside Australia, but seeing as the tab has just gotten the stamp of approval from Korea’s FCC-like agency, an Asian launch is probably just around the corner.
Canada and UK are also in the cards to get the FZ-A1 by the end of the month, while the FCC certification from last summer gives us hope that the US will get the “world’s most secure fully rugged Android tablet” at some point too. Who’s excited about this seemingly unbreakable gadget?