4 Standout Features of The TOUGHBOOK A3 Android Tablet
With more of the world’s workforces working remotely, and technology continuing to evolve at a rapid pace, organizations are equipping many of those employees with ruggedized, mobile devices that can withstand the rigors of offsite use. Android is rising to the top as an operating system of choice for those mobile users who want high levels of portable computing power plus access to mobile apps, games, and other utilities designed for smartphones. In fact, it’s the most popular mobile operating system globally and currently claims an 85% share of the global market.
When these features converge in a rugged, Android tablet with 4G LTE support, users get a wide range of mobile computing capabilities in a single device that holds up in the toughest environments. Introduced in June, the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK A3 is a rugged Android 10.1″ tablet that comes with a configurable gadget area for a 1D/2D barcode reader, insertable Smart Card or 2nd USB Type-A, five user-defined buttons for quickly switching to various applications or functions, a dual, hot-swap battery design and certified to latest the MIL-STD-810H standards.
This new addition to Panasonic’s rugged lineup started making waves as soon as it made its debut on the tablet market. “As Panasonic was developing the A3, Product Manager Joseph Valenti said the feedback the company received from end-users, IT departments, and CEOs of fleet customers revolved around three must-have features: security, reliable hardware, and services and support,” Aaron Huff writes in Commercial Carrier Journal.
“As the market leader for rugged handhelds, tablets, and laptops,” Huff continues, “Panasonic Systems Solutions Company of North America is fully onboard the Android bandwagon.”
Here are four standout features of the TOUGHBOOK A3 Tablet.
Robust Support Structure
As with any new technology implementation, the support that companies get during this process can make or break the transition. In a ZDNet article highlighting how Panasonic is easing the transition to Android, Sean Portnoy writes about the support structure that the manufacturer has in place for companies that are now making (or, ready to make) that pivot.
“Businesses making such transitions, however, often deal with a number of migration issues,” Portnoy writes, “which has led Panasonic to create a new Android-based platform to ease the move away from Windows CE. Dubbed productivity+, the suite encompasses hardware, software, and support for enterprise migrations to Android.”
In his roundup of daily tech news, Pocketnow’s Samuel Martinez emphasized the TOUGHBOOK A3’s durability and explains how productivity+ allows users to rewrite apps and configure device settings for mobile device development, deployment, and sustainment. He also highlighted the fact that Joshua Vergara of Pocketnow is currently reviewing the device and advises readers to watch out for that article.
“As for durability, the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK A3 is MIL-STD-810 certified and IP65 dust and water-resistant. Further, it sports an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP selfie shooter. It comes equipped with a docking connector, USB 3.0 Type-C, USB Type-A, and 3.5mm audio jack,” Martinez writes. “The company is also offering a 3-year limited warranty, parts, and labor. Moreover, it comes FirstNet Ready and supports Band 14 connectivity.”
Easy to Sanitize and Use
If there’s one thing COVID has done, it’s made everyone more conscious about keeping their devices clean and germ-free. In reviewing the TOUGHBOOK A3, Newsweek’s Josh Smith says the device’s “glove mode” allows it to be used in the rain and that it’s tested to be able to handle cleaning with disinfecting wipes—an important point in the current work environment. (Panasonic tested sanitizing the A3 with 10,000 applications of popular disinfectant wipes, from alcohol prep swabs to Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes).
“It also features an integrated barcode scanner, customizable buttons, and support for connecting to two mobile networks,” Smith writes, adding that the tablet’s rugged design is easy to grip and that the tablet is solid, but not heavy. “Ports are securely covered to keep dirt and fluids out, but easy to open when you need them,” he adds. “This is handy on the trail, and also useful in an ambulance or a warehouse.”
In Harsh Environments Demand Tough Devices, IndustryWeeks’ Peter Fretty emphasizes how the TOUGHBOOK A3 features are tailored to the needs of the mobile workforce. “The A3 Toughbook is a ruggedized device strategically positioned for manufacturing environments,” Panasonic’s Dan Dilberti told IndustryWeek. “Unlike many consumer devices used to visit YouTube or Netflix, these are purpose-built tools with very specific use cases that people need to effectively do their job, day in [and] day out.”
Providing Enhanced Value for Customers
Ongoing customer support is a key consideration for any company that’s equipping its employees with ruggedized tablets and other devices. Calling Panasonic’s ecosystem of software partners, accessories providers, and resellers a group of “highly-qualified partners that offer exclusive support to customers and have been specifically selected for their industry expertise,” Fretty says this network supports good collaboration across independent software vendors, resellers, and third-party accessories that are “built to support a technology stack that brings multiple technologies together to meet customers’ complex needs.”
“By working with software vendors proactively both pre- and post-deployment,” Fretty continues, “Panasonic creates value for customers by ensuring software integrates flawlessly with various devices and provides customized solutions tailored to the mobile workforce’s specific job requirements.”
Full Lifecycle Support
Without easy configurations, seamless deployments, and full lifecycle support, mobile technology implementations can quickly fall flat. Rowan Litter of VDC Research published an article on the launch of the TOUGHBOOK A3 and productivity+, explaining that the TOUGHBOOK A3 provides opportunities for new use cases in warehousing, transportation, and logistics, field service, and public sector industries and highlights some key features of the device, including the replaceable hot-swappable batteries, five user-defined buttons, and “Rain Mode.”
“A key support feature of the TOUGHBOOK A3 is zero-touch enrollment that allows for easy device configurations and deployment,” Litter points out. “When you combine Panasonic’s hardware, software, professional services, and partner ecosystem, you get 365 degrees of support that lasts throughout the product’s lifecycle.”
Calling Panasonic the “market leader” when it comes to rugged personal computing devices that can be handed out to those who work in the most extreme conditions, Rich Woods of Neowin singles out fire departments, police departments, the military, and “a whole lot more” as potential users for the TOUGHBOOK A3 tablet.
“The TOUGHBOOK A3 has the kind of design that you’d expect from such a product,” Woods writes. “It’s thick, it’s heavy, and it looks like you could chuck it across a room and it wouldn’t even scratch.” He also notes that the Toughbook A3 has two, hot-swappable batteries, “meaning that you can swap one out without ever having to power down. This can be really useful during mission-critical tasks where powering down to change a battery would take up just too much time.”
Built using the Panasonic process of listening to the “voice of the customer,” the new TOUGHBOOK A3 is designed to address the evolving needs of today’s diverse mobile work environments. Customers in transportation, logistics, and supply chain operations are moving to use rugged, Android-based tablets on forklifts, terminal tractors, and for use throughout their operations. And we have seen significant growth and adoption of Android applications in use by first responders, firefighter, and EMS frontline workers.
Learn more about the TOUGHBOOK A3 Tablet