Based on its specifications, you'd expect Panasonic's 5-inch Toughpad FZ-E1 to be a smartphone -- albeit a chunky looking one. That's not the case, however, as the company insists that the FZ-E1 is a tablet first and foremost.
Powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.3GHz, the FZ-E1 runs the upcoming Windows Embedded Handset 8 operating system (meant for enterprise use), but with a Windows Phone 8 skin -- the OS has not been released, and Microsoft doesn't want to reveal how the UI looks like just yet. Panasonic assures me that you'll be able to run emulated Windows Phone apps.
Panasonic Toughpad tablets look a lot more like beefy smartphones (pictures) See full gallery
Unlike other 5-inch devices, the FZ-E1 doesn't bother to hide its ruggedised bulk. It's big, bold and will survive a drop from 3 meters without damage. The tablet can also survive underwater for 30 minutes at up a maximum depth of 1.5 meters.
Inside, the tablet has 2GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, LTE connectivity, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a hot-swappable 6,200mAh battery. This means you'll be able to take the battery out, swap it for a fresh one, and get back to what you were doing without having to reboot.
Meant for use in places such as warehouses, the FZ-E1 comes with a built-in barcode scanner that also doubles as a flashlight. THe FZ-E1 will launch in June with a retail price of around 130,000 Japanese Yen ($1,269).