Panasonic is World-renowned for the quality and reliability of its rugged computing portfolio. None more so than in their much-lauded 10″ 2in1 detachable the CF-20, and the best selling 10″ rugged tablet the FZ-G1. Both have been stalwarts in Rugged for many years. So what on earth could they possibly do to improve on them?
Good question, and one I asked myself when product Manager Dirk Weigelt invited me to learn more about them… Dirk told us to “remember the remarkable British cycling success story and the philosophy of “the aggregation of marginal gains.”’. How British cycling elevated itself from almost 100 years without much success, to dominating the sport.” His message boils down to making small margins of improvement in everything to collectively produce substantial practical gains.
I mean, when you already have world-beating IP65 rugged devices with the lowest failure rate in the market, married to intelligent component selection for longevity and compatibility. What can be improved?
In list form, the improvements include a 10th Gen Intel Quad-core processor with Intel vPro technology, eSIM and future-proofed field wireless performance capabilities, redoubled RAM and Storage, an even brighter outdoor viewable screen and the ability to output to two 4K external screens, the ability to reduce brightness to very low levels for where bright light isn’t allowed, further enhanced security by adding Microsoft secured-Core PC, legacy port options, the option of a purpose-built keyboard to make it a laptop, extended 18-hour battery in real-life conditions, contact and contactless smart card reader options, digitizer pen, quick release SSD option, massive eco-system of usability accessories…
All great and all worthwhile, but what really, in my opinion, truly makes the G2 stand out and above everything else in the market is the fact that it is user practical in pretty much every working environment, and enterprises can be ‘Wise to customise’. Productivity squeezed from investment.
Where will the new device fit?
Simply put, anyone requiring a Windows-based device wanting to collect data, have access to data, record, communicate or process anything will find the FZ-G2 in either the Tablet or the 2in1 Laptop style format will be delighted with the Toughbook G2. A British survey by Dynamic Markets Ltd found 43% of employees asked “which devices make you more efficient performing work-related tasks on the move?” chose Tablet. 31% Laptop and just 23% smartphone.
Heavy industries that rely on the Windows OS to perform functions, and a True serial port to connect to legacy equipment need look no further. Way ahead in its class, the G2 can perform through a long full shift with excellent communications and also survive the environments it needs to.
Field or production line service engineers will benefit from a relatively low weight (for rugged) device that will survive and continue to work through the rigours of daily work. The expertise Panasonic put forward in communications surpasses anything else for this type of device.
Blue light services must have a dependable and competent device or there isn’t any return on investment. This isn’t required, it is critical. Panasonic has been engineering its solutions for years. They have a proven track record in mitigating common failures whilst also integrating the latest tech. Security is also often an issue and Toughbook
Forklift and docked solutions require a device that doesn’t need to be replaced as often as consumer or business options. Toughbook legacy history and backward compatibility show categorically that they can survive, and continue to perform the function set for year upon year! Returning the cost of investment in these areas requires a reduced integration, repair, servicing and personnel training budgets.
All mobile users that prefer a keyboard will love the 2in1 keyboard option. I, being of an age before Tablets and Touchscreen became commonplace, abhor the idea of screen tapping for data entry, for anything more than the briefest and quickest of messages. This is borne out by the numerous applications now developed for smartphone use. All fine and groovy, but in my opinion, if you need to write you need a keyboard and the use of all your fingers.
The real question is do I need a rugged and versatile field device, and is this the best option I can get…?
Changing face of technology
When is it a good time to buy a device? Never. There is always something newer, better, faster and practical coming. Technology changes at an eye-watering pace. And that really is a good thing. However, it does make it awkward when deciding to buy, renew estate or upgrade.
For example, I recently discovered an interesting consideration with the upcoming release of Windows 11. Did you know Windows 11 will not support display sizes smaller than 9″ ?? This means all small form factor, Windows-based devices, will be disappearing from manufacturer portfolios. This Panasonic Toughbook G2 will become the simplest option for those unable or unwilling to use Android. Read it here for yourself – Windows 11 Specs and System Requirements | Microsoft
Intel low power chipsets are being discontinued. Microsoft and Intel are long term bedfellows. This means using Intel chipsets will require a fan! That’s not a lot of cop in dusty working conditions, so the choice will be to redesign your estate and migrate to Android, or find a device that isn’t so large as to be impractical. May I suggest the FZ-G2?
Centralised cloud-based computing is looking likely to be replaced by IoT and Edge computing using intelligent devices and AI to process and measure computing power before transfer to a central point. The radio spectrum is stretched and requires better efficiency. Network operators have begun dropping older technologies like 2G and 3G. Planning for that requires places challenges on security, speed and latency. Panasonic Toughbook has kept up with this curve by choosing the right CPU power, wireless chipsets and their own in-house radio design and battery expertise.
What else is coming? … As always watch this space… 🙂
A note on durability
This is normally where I put my usual run down of why rugged is worth the extra upfront cost… Instead, here’s an example from my own personal experience.
My in-office Toshiba Dynabook, which cost me around £500, suffered a 1/2 meter drop onto the carpet and afterwards, the battery would no longer be seen at all by the system. The warranty was only 1 year and the device is 14 months old! With no further support from Toshiba, it left me opening up the device myself, a DIYer at best, in the vain hope of being able to fix it and use it as a portable computer again !! I often wonder how great the effect would be if I was field-based without almost constant access to external power ?? Pop that in the ‘return on investment’ pipe ready for smoking… All Toughbook devices come with a standard 3 year collect and return warranty.
Another issue that rarely gets room when discussing ‘rugged’ is the working temperature range. OK, we live in a temperate climate and don’t often suffer from extremes, but even so, a British report by Dynamic Markets Ltd on tablet failure causes reported 40% of common cause failures were due to heat or cold…!
The same report also showed the average repair or replacement time was 2 weeks! Can you imagine not being able to perform your work for 2 weeks ??!! Panasonic Toughbook devices come with a 3 year collect and return warranty as standard. Should you fall into the unfortunate few who require support, Panasonic will triage first then collect, repair and return within a targetted 96 hrs.
Let’s talk Legacy
Apple is locked in a row with the EU over the blocks insistence everyone uses a single charger cable for all devices.
That puts me in mind of all the many, many phone and laptop chargers bundled into drawers that I no longer know what they fit, but daren’t yet send to landfill…If we then extrapolate that to the Enterprise level… If you had to replace everything, every time a change in technology came about. A new OS, a faster port, new wireless protocols etcetera… Businesses would then be forking out for new vehicle docks, new chargers and new equipment with each upgrade. What will it cost customers to replace these items?
Panasonic views legacy as a building block to the design stage. Actively trying to maintain the same docking, charging and accessory options… Fortunately, the FZ-G2 (Toughbook G2) is compatible with many of the FZ-G1
In summary, the new Panasonic G2 (FZ-G2) equates to a great range enhancement for mobile workers, and it does it seamlessly.
Users of the FZ-G2 can expect a step improvement in ease of use allowing them to produce continued results from a long term IT investment, and without the downtime normally associated with mobile computing. The case is continually proven by the large enterprises consistently choosing Toughbook as their technology partner of choice.
Buy the Best. Buy Once. Buy Toughbook.
The author of this blog has had 20 years working relationship as a Panasonic Toughbook partner. Mat Ananin