The iPad is a useful business tool, but for some jobs its fragility is a problem — that's where Panasonic's new BizPad tablets come in. 10-inch and a 7-inch models were announced in Japan this week; both are drop-proof as high as 4 feet, as well as dust- and splash-proof, and are geared for the same rough-and-tumble professional types that buy Panasonic's Toughbook laptops. The BizPads run Android 3.2 on dual-core Cortex-A9 processors with 1GB of RAM, with 16GB of built-in storage and an IC card reader for scanning employee ID badges.
We can't help but be reminded of the Fujitsu ARROWS Tab LTE F-01D, a mouthful of a tablet announced in September that is also designed to be a lot more rugged than Apple's delicate slate. This one's water-resistant as well, and its IPX5/7 rating (the BizPads' are rated IP55 and IP54) means it can withstand being "gently immersed" into up to a meter of water — it sounds like a pretty great bath toy, at least. It's got Honeycomb, a 10.1-inch screen, stereo speakers, a 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4 processor, and LTE support on Japan's Xi communications network.
For now, you'll have to be in Japan if you want to buy the BizPads or the ARROWS Tab LTE F-01D. Fujitsu's tablet will be on sale October 19, and Panasonic's in December and January, for the 7-inch and 10-inch models respectively. Neither company mentioned price, or plans to bring the devices stateside.