Getac, the rugged computing solutions provider, has been trialling its new fully rugged tablet - the Z710 - with customers, and says the 7-inch format with integrated features such as a 1D and 2D Barcode scanner and high-frequency RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) could replace handheld devices in key vertical sectors.
Peter Molyneux, Vice President Getac UK, says: "Customers already using handheld devices are looking to give their field deployed staff additional functionality, such as email, scheduling, internet access to documentation and content - capabilities that are almost impossible on handheld devices due to screen size."
Another key feature attracting attention is the Z710's capacitive touch screen, which thanks to Getac's bespoke design, allows the device to retain its full touch functionality even when users are wearing gloves.
"The marketplace is changing rapidly and customers are indicating their ambition to rollout rugged tablets across their workforce, due to the improved functionality and battery life they offer compared to handhelds. Rugged tablets have all the benefits of a handheld and a laptop in a form factor that is perfect for tough, field-based use.
"Early feedback suggests the smaller, 7-inch screen will be the preferred option due to mobility, though Getac will also offer customers a 10-inch unit," Mr Molyneux adds.
The new Z710, which Getac is inviting existing and potential customers to trial, is built to withstand the toughest environments, while offering multiple connectivity, communication and data collection options.
The Z710 includes high precision GPS (Sirf4 module), e-compass, altimeter, GPS, front and rear cameras (HD and 5 megapixel respectively). The device also offers Input/Output ports including USB, MicroSD, and SIM card, with 16GB of storage (expandable by MicroSD) with an integrated 8000mAh battery to support up to 10 hours' battery life.
In addition, the unveiled design shows the device's scratch and damage-resistant GorillaR Glass. The Getac tablet is IP65 rated against water and dust ingress, can withstand 5 ft drops (complete with a military grade MIL-STD-810G rating), and can operate in the coldest and hottest of environments, from -30 degrees C to +60 degrees C.