Two tablet competitors say the iPad isn't tough enough

by David Needle

April 29 2012

A Panasonic slide presented at the Tablet Strategy conference details what it says are the enterprise shortcomings of the iPad. The other half of the slide not pictured lists "Fragility" and limited "IT Control & Security."
A Panasonic slide presented at the Tablet Strategy conference details what it says are the enterprise shortcomings of the iPad. The other half of the slide not pictured lists "Fragility" and limited "IT Control & Security."

Panasonic and Xplore Technologies gave Apple's iPad faint praise as a great consumer device that isn’t ready for prime time when it comes to extreme conditions and the needs of enterprise IT.

NEW YORK -- In separate presentations at the TabTimes Tablet Strategy conference here Friday, Panasonic and Xplore officials were quick to acknowledge the popularity of Apple’s iPad, but then ripped it for what they said are its shortcomings.

“We’ve been in tablets for 15 years. I love Apple, they made the tablet cool again, we get a boost from what they do and we like to think of them as friends,” said Jim Dempsey, Panasonic’s Business Enterprise Development Manager. 

“I have two iPads in my house,” Dempsey added, “but they’re built for the consumer world and that’s not where we’re focused.” 

Dempsey went on to detail features of an Android 4-powered Toughpad tablet Panasonic plans to release in June that will include extra security features, enterprise-oriented software as well as USB and other ports for connectivity not found on the iPad. 

An iPad on steroids?

“We don’t sell to consumers, we’re like an iPad on steroids. We make the most powerful, toughest tablets you can imagine,” boasted Mark Holleran, President and COO of Xplore Technologies

Later he added, “I love Apple, the iPad is a great product. We just build the meanest iPad you can imagine" said Holleran, comparing the two on a hardware basis. 

Holleran’s presentation included examples of how Xplore tablets are being used in industrial applications, by emergency medical teams, and other mobile workers in extreme conditions. 

“We’re saving lives. Poland in the winter is minus 40 degrees so the product better work. Ours does and we’ve been doing this for 15 years. All we do is rugged tablets,” Holleran added. 

Dempsey said Panasonic’s Toughpad release in June will be the start of a family of products that will include a Windows 8 tablet set for release in January, 2013 running an Intel processor. 

He referred to a stat that 70% of the overall cost of owning a device in the enterprise comes after the initial purchase including service and support costs. “We may not be the cheapest to buy, but we’re the cheapest to own,” he said.

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