It’s a cruel world out there for tablets: Every day, there’s the possibility they will be dropped, knocked, spilled on or just shaken around. And that’s just in a normal business day — if you use your tablet outdoors, while traveling or in a work zone, the odds of a disaster go up precipitously.
In its report Mobile Device TCO Models for Line of Business Solutions, VDC Research estimates that the failure rate for conventional tablets in the workplace is 18% per year. That translates into roughly one in five systems failing at work each year.
“Unless you want to treat tablets as disposable, this failure rate should be unacceptable for businesses today,” observes David Krebs, executive vice president at VDC Research. “By contrast, rugged tablets have been built for business use and have a 4% failure rate.”
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.
To see what the current state of the art is for rugged tablets, I gathered together three of the newest Windows-based worker-proof slates: the Mobile Demand xTablet Flex 10, the Getac F110 and the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1. I also tried out Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Active, a reinforced Android tablet.