Panasonic talks tough on tablets; says the iPad is too fragile for business

by Doug Drinkwater

January 9 2013

Panasonic demonstrated just how water-proof the FZ-G1 Windows 8 tablet was in Munich
Panasonic demonstrated just how water-proof the FZ-G1 Windows 8 tablet was in Munich

Embarking on a media blitz at CES and in Europe this week, Panasonic ran through the benefits of its new Android and Windows 8 tablets and stressed its belief that the iPad is just not tough enough for business.

The Japanese vendor announced its new FZ-G1 Windows 8 tablet alongside the JT-B1 Android tablet at CES in Las Vegas and at a media event in Munich, Germany.

The FZ-G1 boasts a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 resolution IPS display, a magnesium alloy frame (so the device weighs 1.1KG), and runs Intel's third generation Ivy Bridge i5 processor as well as Windows 8 Pro.

The tablet can be used outdoors, is designed to survive drops in 26 directions from 120cm and is availble with128GB to 256GB of SSD storage, a digitizer pen, optional 3G/4G a serial port and USB 3.0. It will launch in March for $2,899.

The second of the new tablets on show was the Toughpad JT-B1, a 7-inch Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) tablet with the dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP4460 processor, 16GB of storage and an eye-catching 13 megapixel camera on the rear. The tablet ships in February and starts at $1,199. 

Windows 8 and Android tablets to overtake the iPad in business

All of this led Hiroaki Sakamoto, the director of Panasonic Computer Production Solutions, to explain the company's faith in Android and Windows 8, with the firm adamant that the iPad can be caught in business.

Data from the firm suggests that both operating systems will grow to account for more than 50% of the tablet market by 2015, with the Panasonic exec adding that this will owe as much to the benefits of both operating systems as the fragility of what it calls consumer tablets like the iPad. 

(Photo: Panasonic VP Jan Ruderman shows off the FZ-G1 Windows 8 Pro Toughpad at CES).

Consumer tablets are too fragile for business

A slide from Sakamoto slammed consumer tablets for not being robust, lacking connection ports, having inaccessible batteries and for also having issues around IT control and warranty. The exec also stressed that consumer tablets are not good value for money.

“The purchase is just part of the total cost of ownership. 70% of overall [tablet] costs are on lifecycle issues like downtime and operational inefficiencies.”

The criticism of consumer tablets didn’t stop there, with mentions of them being ‘cheap’ and having a flush glass finish that made them fragile if dropped.

Panasonic says that it experienced tablet growth in 2011 and 2012 and is hoping to become the biggest rugged tablet player in 2013. The firm also hopes to continue its main focus, making tablets a productivity tool for business users.

“It’s our mission to improve the working lives of everyone.”

Doug Drinkwater is the International Editor of TabTimes and is based in London, UK.

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  • ingmgr
    1 year 8 months ago

    I'm amazed a publication would publish an article like this. I mean, come on. iPads, or similar Android tablets, being fragile is just a myth. One of the many protective cases available do the trick very easily. The marketing of Panasonic sounds desperate. I for one have direct experience with over 80 "consumer type tablets" being used in a heavy industrial environment in the field without any issues. This is over 18 months. As for total cost analysis, well again the "consumer tablets" beat the Panasonic tough pads in every measure. And don't forget the usability factor. The models from Panasonic I've seen are not built for usability. There is a reason why the old Windows tablets never took off and it looks like Panasonic has not addressed those failings. Oh well, this comment may come across as harsh but it just bugs me to read and hear myths regarding durability of iPads and other similar tablets. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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