director, IT Products Business Panasonic
Are you worried about the emergence of consumer devices with rugged features like Sony’s waterproof Xperia Tablet Z?
More and more manufacturers are using ruggedized technology in their devices but it doesn't mean that the product is rugged. Yes, Sony's tablet can be submerged in water, but it isn't dust-proof, shock-proof or drop-proof.
Why are there so few players in the rugged device market?
There are only a few small and mediumsized competitors out there, such as Getac and Motion. Not only is the product design difficult, due to the numerous factors that must be protected against - dust, vibration, temperature, water etc. - it is very difficult to build and manufacture the devices as well.
What makes Panasonic better than other rugged PC manufacturers?
We can offer complete customization for our products, because we make all of the components, from the motherboard, to the battery and RAM in-house. The only thing that isn't made by Panasonic is the CPU, which is from Intel. Panasonic testing is also more intensive than others, for example, IPX-4 water resistance certification requires a product survive for ten minutes in wet conditions. We don’t think that’s long enough so we subject our IPX-4 certified products to 60 minutes of water splashing.
Now that Panasonic has expanded into Tough tablets, are there any plans for a Panasonic Tough smartphone?
Not right now, but if enough customers request it, yes, we can build it. If we do it though, it won't be a consumer smartphone like Apple and Samsung, it will have to be tough and fully ruggedized.