Tough Times for Tablets: Plenty of Ruggedized Devices Available

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    Survey Finds North American Workplaces Are Not Ready for Wearable Tech

    The beauty of tablets for business, of course, is that they enable more to be done outside of the office than a smartphone, but in a way that is easier and more interactive than a traditional laptop. That means that more tablets will find their ways into harsh environments; ruggedizing them is very important.

    A Computerworld review of ruggedized tablets quotes VDC Research’s finding that 18 percent of workplace tablets fail annually. That, VDC Executive Vice President David Krebs said, is unacceptable.

    That failure rate will shrink if tablets are made tougher. But what does “tough” mean in the context of tablets? Computerworld’s Brian Nadel provides a definition:

    Rugged tablets offer reinforced frames, tough skins, watertight seals, hardened glass, soft corner bumpers and major components that are shock-mounted. In other words, if ordinary consumer tablets can be considered sports (or economy) cars, rugged tablets are tanks.

    Nadel writes that the highest rating for ruggedness is the Military Standard 810G, or MIL-STD-810G. He warns that meeting this standard produces devices that are heavier and larger than their analogs in the consumer world. They almost certainly are more expensive as well, but he doesn’t mention that. Nadel then reviews the Getac F110, the MobileDemand xTablet Flex 10, the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 8.0.

    Network World also offered a review this week. In this case, it was a slideshow split between business tablets and the subset of ruggedized devices. The ruggedized tablets covered are the Adlink IMT-1, the Arbor Gladius and the Durabook R11.


    New devices hit the market on a fairly regular basis. Fujitsu just used the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to introduce the Stylistic V535. The company positions it as an alternative to application-specific handhelds aimed at rough and tumble workplaces. Late last year, Greenlee Communications unveiled the DataScout 10G, which is a multi-interface network analyzer aimed at several industries.

    And if you’re interested in the specifics of ruggedized computing, a tremendous amount of information is available at The-All-in-One Blog. The piece is not specific to tablets, but it deals with common computer elements and the conditions they must be able to tolerate. The information, therefore, almost certainly is applicable to tablets.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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