HIDE HARADA

HWM (Malaysia) - - TRENDS - BY JAMES LU

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.

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