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Panasonic goes big with 4K Toughpad, but is it really a tablet?

by Doug Drinkwater

September 5 2013

Panasonic announced a new Toughpad tablet computer with a staggering display in Germany today, with the model aimed squarely at creative business folk.

BERLIN, GERMANY -- Unveiling the product at an event away from the IFA convention halls, company officials showed off the Toughpad 4K and described it as the first 20-inch 4K tablet.

Hiro Sakamoto, the managing director of Panasonic Computer Product Solutions in Europe, kicked off the event by describing the firm's heritage in rugged computers. With tablets in mind, he said that the company introduced its first rugged model -- the CF-08 -- back in 2001.
 
The latest in that line is the Toughpad 4K, a 20-inch display which could well be described as an all-in-one PC, table PC or digital signage display.
 
The Toughpad 4K is available in two different models; a standard version and a performance edition which is targeting those who work in engineering, CAD and developing 3D applications.
 
In the way of specs, the Toughpad 4K offers a 3840 x 2560 resolution IPS display, Windows 8.1 Pro, a Intel i5 vPro processor and Nvidia graphics (GeForce on the standard model, Quattro on the 'performance' model). The tablet can be fitted with up to 8GB of on-board memory and 256GB of SSD storage.
 
The tablet's screen supports ten-finger touch but also pen writing, with palm rejection technology enabling stylus users to write without fear of making mistakes. 
 
The optional stylus itself is rather unique. Developed in partnership with Swedish company Anoto, the Electronic Touch Pen uses infrared to communicate with the LCD, leading executives to describe it as the "most precise" digital pen technology pen on the market.
 
Sakamoto said that the Toughpad 4K will continue to target Panasonic's existing customers in retail, healthcare, automotive, utilities, gas, oil and other areas -- but stressed that it could also appeal to architects and those working in cosmetics, photography, and fashion.
 
"We're confident that we'll open their eyes with these new products.
 
"With the Toughpad 4K, there's no need to go back to the office. You can make corrections on-site."
 
Panasonic will launch the standard model in November, with this to retail for an eye-watering €4,508 (approximately $5,940). The stylus will be available for €208 ($274) and other accessories include a desktop cradle with expansion slots. The performance edition will launch in the first half of next year with price details still to be confirmed.
 
(Disclosure: Panasonic paid for this writer's flights and hotel stay for the trip to IFA).

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