CES 2013: Panasonic Unveils Two New Ruggedized Toughpad Tablets Running Windows 8 and Android

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2013 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: CES, windows 8, toughpad, tablet, ruggedized, Panasonic, Android, ces 2013

Panasonic is continuing to branch out from ruggedized notebooks into the world of tablets, and this time around the company is releasing two new ruggedized tablets that succeed the current-generation FZ-A1. The new Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 will run Windows 8 Pro while the JT-B1 will run Android 4.0 and use ARM hardware.


The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 packs some respectable hardware for this type of ruggedized product. A dual core (with HyperThreading for four total threads) Intel Core i5-3437U processor running at 1.9GHz base/2.9GHz turbo, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to a 256GB SSD comprise the basic internal specifications. On the outside is a 10.1” touchscreen with active digitizer along with USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, microSDXC, RJ45, and serial ports. The FZ-G1 can also host a dedicated GPS and tap into Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular networks. The tablet is rated for various Mil-spec standards such that it can survive harsh working environments of industrial, military, public safety, et al jobs. The tablet does not come cheap though, as the ruggedized form factor comes at a high price – starting at $2,899 for the base model. Still, it is interesting to see that tablets are even being embraced in roles that ruggedized notebooks have long dominated. Notably, Panasonic has stated that it hopes to capture 50% of the ruggedized tablet market by 2015.

Processor Intel Core-i5 3437U @ 1.9GHz (2.9GHz turbo)
Memory 4-8GB
Storage 128-256GB SSD
Display 10.1" touchscreen w/ active digitizer @ 1920x1200
IO Full size: USB 3.0, HDMI, micro SDXC (optional), USB 2.0, LAN, and serial port or dedicated GPS.
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, optional 4G LTE or 3G
Dimensions 10.6" x 7.4" x 0.75"
Weight 2.43 lbs
OS Windows 8 Pro
Rugged MIL-STD-810G, 4' drop, IP65, 14° to 122°F (operational temp range)

While the FZ-G1 runs Windows and has x86-64 hardware, the Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1 is smaller and goes with ARM internals and Google’s Android mobile OS. This 7” tablet maintains the same MIL-spec ratings as its bigger sibling, but weighs half as much. The JT-B1 features a 7” touchscreen with a resolution of 1024x600, a front and rear camera, and a micro USB port on the outside. Internally, the JT-B1 tablet includes a dual core TI OMAP 4660 (similar to the SoC used in Amazon’s Kindle HD tablets) running at 1.5GHz, 1GB of RAM, 16GB ROM for storage, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular radios.


The Panasonic JT-B1 will run Android 4.0 and has a starting price of $1,199 making it only viable for the specialized industries that need such a ruggedized device--it is no Nexus 7 (but that’s a good thing for certain jobs).

Processor TI OMAP 4460 @ 1.5GHz (dual core)
Memory 1GB
Storage 16GB ROM
Display 7" touchscreen @ 1024x600
IO Micro USB, Front 1.3MP webcam, rear 13MP autofocus camera with LED flash
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, optional 4G LTE and 3G
Dimensions 8.7"x 5.1" x 0.7"
Weight 1.2 lbs
OS Android 4.0
Rugged MIL-STD-810G, 5' drop, IP65, 14° to 122°F (operational temp range)

Both of the Panasonic Toughpads will be available later this year. The FZ-G1 will be available in March for $2,899 and the JT-B1 will be available in February for $1,199. You can find the full press release over at Engadget.

Tablet Pricing (base) Availability
Panasonic FZ-G1 $2,899 March
Panasonic JT-B1 $1,199 February

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PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget

Flashing tablets for fun and frustration at the same time

Subject: Mobile | December 3, 2012 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: jelly bean, flash, galaxy nexus, CyanogenMod, mod, Android

If you were an early adopter and now have an aging Android tablet which is not being supported by the manufacturer, or at least they are very slow at releasing updates, you can always try flashing it with a custom ROM.  The Tech Report tried this out on a Galaxy Nexus using a ROM from CyanogenMod, a fairly well known provider of such things.  While it certainly improved the performance of the OS, there were several issues including the failure of GPS which prompted them to try out other ROMs.  Head on over to read up on the most current images you can flash to, their providers and the difference between the two types of ROMs currently available.


"In his latest blog post, TR's Geoff Gasior recounts his experience trying to revitalize an aging Android tablet with custom Jelly Bean ROMs."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:


The Reviews Are In For Google's Latest Nexus 10 Tablet

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2012 - 03:47 PM |
Tagged: tablet, nexus 10, jelly bean, google, android 4.2, Android

Reviews of Google’s latest Nexus 10 tablet are starting to pop up around the web, and the results are a bit mixed -- mostly positive with the price being its saving grace. The display and inclusion of Android 4.2 is nice, but will it dethrone the iPad? It's time to find out!

As a refresher, the Nexus 10 is 10” tablet powered by a dual core ARM Cortex-A15 system on a chip. On the outside, it has a 10.055” touchscreen display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 (300 ppi, 16:10), 5MP rear camera, and a 1.9MP webcam on the front of the tablet.


External IO includes micro USB, micro HDMI, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Internally, the Nexus 10 features a dual core Samsung Exynos 5250 SoC clocked at 1.7GHz, a Mali T604 GPU, 2GB of RAM, and either 16GB or 32GB of storage. A 9,000 mAh battery is also preset. Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and NFC radios are also included. The new tablet is also running an updated version of Jelly Bean Google has dubbed Android 4.2.

The 16GB model is listed at $399 while the 32GB Nexus 10 is $499. Both models will be available on November 13th.

What do you think of the Nexus 10?

Reviews roundup:

Microsoft desires it's name on hardware so much it is willing to compete with its self

Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2012 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, win8, surface, google, Android, nexus 7, Samsung, Pegatron

Two companies which for the most part sold software only are making a name for themselves in the hardware sector, in two very different ways.  Google's Android has become quite a player and the upcoming release of the Nexus 7 platform is anticipated by many mobile players because Google has no intentions of making its own phones.  Instead they will make their money licensing the platform to a variety of established cellphone and tablet manufacturers, as they have in the past.  According to what DigiTimes has heard, Microsoft is going in the exact opposite direction with Surface and will be continuing with the same plan as their tablet, which has already caused negative backlash from many of the major player in the market such as Acer.  Designers of Microsoft Win8 based phones are required to use the same platform and interface in order to meet the requirements of Microsoft's licensing agreement which will make phones difficult to differentiate as competitors are very limited in the customization they can offer, at least on the software side.  To make the market even more confusing, Microsoft is reaching out to Pegatron to manufacture their own branded Surface phone, which will find its self in direct competition with the phones from established players, the ones Microsoft is count on to license the portable version of Win8.  It would be hard to come up with another way that Microsoft could make licensing their new OS even less attractive for OEMs and ODMs.


"Google and Microsoft both reportedly plan to extend the Nexus 7 and Surface tablet lineups to include smartphones as a means to further increase the penetration of their own platforms, but the two companies will implement the strategies in a different tune, according to industry sources.

Google aims to launch smartphones based on its Nexus 7 platform in cooperation with a number of smartphone branded vendors with Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Sony Mobile Communications and HTC likely to be potential partners, said the sources.

On the other hand, Microsoft is reportedly tapping ODM maker Pegatron for the production of WP8-based smartphones slated for launch in the first half of 2013, the sources indicated."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Is Samsung's Galaxy S III really the best Android out there?

Subject: Mobile | August 30, 2012 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy s III, Android

Android 4.1, aka Jellybean, is not yet available for the Samsung Galaxy S III, so The Tech Report tested out Samsung's existing TouchWiz software and UI tweaks to the current Android OS present on the phone.  They liked that a lot of the special functions available on the phone were controlled with the body as opposed to swiping motions on the screen, as you wouldn't want to smear that 720p screen.  They did run into some quirks with the phone which they were less than impressed with as well as the history Samsung has of delaying the release of updated operating systems.  That is probably why they ended up getting a Samsung Galaxy Nexus.


"Samsung's Galaxy S III is the hottest Android handset on the market right now. We spent a few weeks with one to see what it's like."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:


Developer Working On Porting Android 4.0 ICS to Raspberry Pi

Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2012 - 11:33 PM |
Tagged: sff hardware, Raspberry Pi, android 4.0, Android, $35 game console

The $35 Raspberry Pi computer has received a great deal of attention from enthusiasts and support from developers. In fact, it has a number of Linux-based distributions available, and even more planned or already in development. One of the more recent reveals is that developer Naren has been working hard on porting the Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” mobile operating system to the small ARM computer.

Raspberry Pi Running Android 4_0.jpg

According to the Raspberry Pi blog, the Android 4.0 build is going fairly well and it is currently running on the Raspberry Pi hardware, with some caveats. Also, Naren has been able to get hardware-accelerated graphics and video playback running on the Raspberry Pi. Reportedly, the final major hurdle is getting AudioFlinger support working. The other caveat is that the Android 4.0 build has been compiled using a different kernel and VideoCore (the GPU in the Raspberry Pi) binary than the GitHub hosted files that are publicly available.

Because Naren is working with different code, the Raspberry Pi is not willing to release the source code at this time as they fear severe forking in the code. They have stated that “we’re investigating the feasibility of converging the two code lines to produce a single common platform as soon as we can.” Once they figure that out, the Raspberry Pi Foundation hopes to be able to present the source code to the public so that enthusiasts can play around with Android 4.0 on their Raspberry Pis.

While it is no version 4.1 “Jelly Bean,” bringing Android of any variety is a positive step for the Raspberry Pi. It allows access to a large library of applications and games. Also, the Raspberry Pi becomes a super-cheap board to use for developing Android apps.

For now, the Raspberry Pi Foundation suggests users check out the Razdroid project to play around with Android on the Pi. Alternatively, you can try testing one of the CyanogenMOD images on the Raspberry Pi.

Are you excited about Ice Cream Sandwich on your Raspberry Pi?

You can find more of our Raspberry Pi coverage by following our Raspberry Pi tag.

Image courtesy salmon92 via Flickr Creative Commons

Source: Raspberry Pi
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction, Design and Connectivity


All of my past tablet reviews have come to a similar conclusion – buy the iPad. Unless you have a particular, specific use for your tablet which Apple’s walled garden does not support there is little reason to go with anything else. The problem is a combination of both hardware and software. Cupertino’s closed approach, which develops both in-house, has provided better products so far.
If you can’t beat them, you can always sell to a somewhat different market. And so we have the Google Nexus 7. There are three things about this tablet that has made many geeks very interested – it has a Tegra 3 processor, it runs Android 4.1 and it starts at $200 for the 8GB version.
This is, in fact, the production version of the $249 Tegra 3 tablet that we all ooo-ed and ahh-ed over during CES 2012. Google hasn’t paid much lip-service to ASUS, but the company’s logo is on the back of the tablet. I have no complaints about this partnership. ASUS has made the best Android tablets for some time, so going with them is an obvious choice.

Kontron Readying Mini-ITX Form Factor ARM System

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2012 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: quad core, arm, SoC, Android, xbmc, htpc, mini-itx

This week has been rife with ARM computers. The latest ARM system comes in the form of a mini-ITX form factor motherboard and quad core ARM processor combination from embedded system manufacturer Kontron. Named the KTT30/mITX, it measures 17 cm x 17 cm, the little motherboard provides a plethora of IO ports and the relatively short (depth-wise) motherboard would be great in a HTPC box, assuming the software is there (an XBMC release ported over from the Raspberry Pi build would be nice to see, for example).


The motherboard is paired with a quad core ARM Cortex A9 processor running at 900 MHz, video hardware acceleration coprocessor, and up to 2GB of DDR3L memory. It is reportedly capable of playing back 1080p H.264 videos. Internal connectors include two SD card clots, a SIM card socket, and two mPCIe connectors. Rear board IO includes three USB 2.0 ports (one micro, two regular-sized type A), an HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet NIC, S/PDIF audio, two RS232 serial ports, and three analog audio output jacks.

It looks like a neat little board, though only if the price is right. If it is prohibitively expensive, it may be bumping up against AMD’s APU and accompanying motherboards. And because the APUs can utilize x86-64 software, that is a big positive in its favor. With that said, if this board is cheap enough, it could make sense as the base of a cheap HTPC.

Read more about the Mini-ITX ARM-powered system over at Fanless Tech.

Source: Fanless Tech

Galaxy Nexus Ban Suspended Pending Response From Apple

Subject: Mobile | July 7, 2012 - 07:44 AM |
Tagged: universal search, patents, injunction, google, galaxy nexus, apple, Android

Over the past couple of weeks, Apple and Samsung have been battling it out in court as Apple tries to get US sales of the Galaxy Nexus banned over an Apple universal search patent. We are not much for patent news here, but this has been one case that everyone seems to be following. Samsung has managed to get a stay on the injunction against its Galaxy Nexus smartphone – at least until Apple formally responds to Samsung. From there, a judge will need to make the final call on whether the injunction will remain in effect during the trial or not. That should give the company a few days, at least.

Interestingly, Samsung also seems to be planning for the worst with an Over the Air (OTA) update planned that will prevent the search bar in Android from searching for files stored on the phone itself – you will still be able to search the Internet from it however. I’m rather surprised that Apple is going after Samsung so aggressively to begin with since it is one of the company’s major hardware partners (ie for iPad components). At this point, it’s a toss up as to who will win out in court, but I’m hoping that the user experience for mobile Android users will not have to suffer as a result of this bickering over a search box.

What do you think about the court battle? Who do you think is in the right? For reference, the Apple patent that the case centers around seems to be US 8,086,604.

Check out our Google I/O coverage for more photos of the new Nexus branded hardware!

Source: The Verge

ESR Labs Crafts Cheap Nexus Q Competitor With Raspberry Pi

Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2012 - 11:39 PM |
Tagged: streaming, Raspberry Pi, nexus q, media, google, android transporter, Android

Last week at Google I/O 2012, the company announced a new high-end media streaming device that taps into the Google Play cloud to bring music, movies, and TV shows to your living room television. Launched as the Nexus Q, the Android-powered sphere connects to the internet and multiple Android phones to bring a social media sharing aspect to the big screen, for a hefty $299 price tag (available from the Google Play Store).

Granted, it does contain a high end built-in amplifier for connecting to bookshelf speakers – at 12.5 watts per channel – and is made in the United States. Even so, that’s a high price to pay for a media streaming box, and especially one that can only play media from Google Play and not any locally stored content.

Enter the Raspberry Pi, the small Linux-powered $35 computer that is still not easy to get a hold of (at least not with my luck!). Coupled with a piece of new software developed by E.S.R. Labs called Android Transporter, the Raspberry Pi can wirelessly stream media and more from your Android devices to your TV screen for a much lower price.

There are some caveats, however if you are just after the wireless streaming aspects the Raspberry Pi has you covered. The Nexus Q, on the other hand, further brings in a social interface that allows friends to pool their Google Play content and build a playlist. It also has a very nice case with touchscreen controls and LEDs. The Nexus Q also offers an analog amplifier for speakers and optical audio outputs as well as regular HDMI. The Raspberry Pi only has HDMI for high-quality digital audio. Neither device supports HDMI pass through for connecting it between your audio kit and/or HDMI switcher and the TV though.

The Android Transporter software also has a noticeable bit of lag, which isn't really a problem for watching movies or streaming music but may make using the phone as a gaming controller as E.S.R proposed difficult. According to Bit-Tech, the developers are working on reducing latency from the current 150ms to less than 100ms.

To me, this seems like a good compromise between the cool wireless streaming technology (I can never find that darn MHL adapter when I need it!) and the $299 Nexus Q hardware. For the cost of a Raspberry Pi, you can get wireless streaming and screen sharing as well as the ability to stream local content as well as streamed-from-the-internet media. That gets you most of the way to the Nexus Q (while adding local content!) for about an eighth of the cost! I will concede that the Nexus Q's hardware is a lot sleeker looking that that of the Raspberry Pi!

As soon as I get my Pi, I'm definitely going to try this out! Have you gotten your hands on a Raspberry Pi yet? Are you using it as a cheap HTPC/streaming box?

You can find all of our Raspberry Pi coverage on the site by searching for the "Raspberry Pi" tag.

Source: Bit-Tech