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Panasonic preps rubber-clad Android tablet

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Looking for an Android fondleslab that's a bit less fragile? Next Spring, Panasonic will release what it hopes will be just the ticket.

The 10.1in Toughpad FZ-A1 will run Android 3.2 Honeycomb - possibly Ice Cream Sandwich instead, though Panasonic is playing safe for the moment - on a 1.2GHz dual-core Marvell processor. Chuck in a gigabyte of memory; 16GB of Flash storage with a micro SD slot for more; 2Mp and 5Mp front- and rear-facing cameras; and micro USB and HDMI output, and you have a stock Android tablet spec.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1 Android tablet

Then you see Panasonic's customary Toughbook family rugged, rubber-rimmed case design and the fact that the Toughpad's display has a 4:3 aspect - it's 1024 x 768 - ratio not the usual widescreen, and you'll realise this is not your usual Android fondleslab.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1 Android tablet

It even has a replaceable battery, though at the cost of thickness and weight: 17mm - twice the thickness of an Apple iPad 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Toshiba AT200 - and 970g.

Both 2.4/5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 are included as standard. 3G is optional.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1 Android tablet

The Toughpad FZ-A1 will be available in the Spring of 2012 but not for the weak of wallet: the basic model will ship for around £875 inc. VAT, with the 3G model set to set you back over a grand. ®

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