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Panasonic Announces Toughbook H2, 10-inch Core i5 Rugged Windows Tablet

Designed for healthcare workers and first responders, the Panasonic Toughbook H2 is a Windows 7 tablet that can handle a good deal of abuse and stay running for nearly a full workday.

The H2's 10.1-inch display has a resolution of 1024 x 768. It includes Panasonic's Transflective Plus technology, which has a layer that reflects sunlight and uses it as a backlight, which not only gives the display up to 6000 nits of brightness, but also allows the tablet to turn off its LED backlight, extending battery life.

The resistive touchscreen is coupled with an active Wacom digitizer; a stylus is housed right above the display. Along the right side of the display are buttons to open the Dashboard (Windows settings), the camera app, and the bar code scanner, as well as programmable buttons. Two nice software additions include Fast Boot technology--the tablet can start up in 25 seconds--and a BIOS-level keyboard, so IT support doesn't have to attach a keyboard when making changes in the BIOS.

An almost-fully rugged tablet, the H2 can withstand drops from 6 feet, has a magnesium alloy chassis encased in polycarbonate, sealed ports, and can operate from -4 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The H2's fanless design and optional screw hole covers also means less of a chance for pathogens to get into the system, and the tablet is also sanitizable.

Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and optional Gobi mobile broadband. 4G LTE connectivity will be added as an option this fall. The H2 will be packed with options, including GPS, a bar code scanner, 2-MP camera with LED light, and RFID reader. Optional security features include a fingerprint reader, contactless SmartCard reader, or an insertable SmartCard reader.

The H2 has two hot-swappable batteries that will provide up to 6.5 hours of endurance. Unlike the H1, the H2 will also have a number of ports built in: Serial, USB, and Ethernet, the latter of which can be changed to a second USB port. The tablet measures 10.8 x 10.6 x 2.3 inches, and weighs 3.5 pounds. Its portability is enhanced with a built-in handle as well as a black rubber cradle on the back of the system.

The base model of the H2 will come with a 1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-2557M processor with vPro, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive, and will have a street price of $3,449. Panasonic says the H2 will be available by the end of July. Click through for more photos.