Slim and light is all very well, but what happens if you need a tablet for tracking a tornado on Google Maps or sending encoded e-mails on the Libyan frontline? You can’t use an iPad; you’d look silly. Step up Motorola, who have just announced the world’s first rugged tablet, the Motorola ET1.
Running Android 2.3 and packing a 1GHz processor, the ET1 comes with a Gorilla Glass display to prevent the screen cracking under fire and a hardened shell that protects it from bumps and drops. That display is also 30% thicker than the tablet standard, and sunk back into the casing for further protection. It’s not technically bulletproof, but it’s the next best thing on the tablet market.
Officially, the tablet is aimed at businesses and retailers looking to outfit their staff with tablets that will outlive the more delicate competition (and not actually for military service, we’re probably obliged to point out). According to Sheldon Safir, director of product marketing for Motorola Solutions, “enterprises will need to buy 40% fewer of these tablets [compared to the competition] because of the way they are built.” But as is the trend with rugged mobiles at the moment (see the Motorola Defy+ and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Active) we’d expect a regular consumer release alongside business sales in the near future.
The ET1 will be on sale sometime soon with a sub-$1000 pricetag.