Dell has entered the rugged tablet arena with a combo device that is at heart a full-featured notebook computer.
The new Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme looks like a standard heavy-duty laptop with a rugged design for taking falls and working through harsh working conditions. However, this Dell laptop comes with a "twist"; you can turn the screen around and it becomes a Windows 8.1 tablet.
The display can rotate 180 degrees and the laptop turns into a tablet when it is placed on top of the keyboard, making it a more portable, but ruggedized offering for construction and other demanding environments.
The laptop hybrid weighs in at a hefty six pounds and comes with an 8MP camera. Other specs include an Intel i3/i5/i7 dual-core CPU, up to 16GB of RAM (dual-slot), and an Intel HD 4400 or HD 5000 GPU.
The display is 11.6” and offers a resistive multi-touch input. There are also two different battery options: one of which offers a battery life of up to nine hours and the other even more.
While construction sites, police, and other field workers are the obvious types of customers who might be interested in rugged tablets, Dell is highlighting one surprise customer for its new hybrid laptop: “One of our biggest challenges day in and day out is the environment in which we work—extreme temperatures, dirt, grease, rain and frequent drops," said Tad Geschickter, co-founder of JTG Daugherty Racing. "We’ve found a solution in the Dell Rugged portfolio.”
(Choosing the right tablet for enterprise deployments will be among the key topics at the Tablet Strategy conference in New York on May 6, 2014)
The Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme convertible notebook begins at $3,649 and will be available on May 6th. There is also a second model, the Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme begins at $3,499 and will be available in mid-May.
(Unlike off-the-shelf tablets, ruggedized devices come with their own lexicon and rating criteria. Download this whitepaper to help you navigate the terms and acronyms so you can make informed decisions.)