Xplore Technologies unveils rugged BobCat Windows tablet

Xplore Technologed Bobcat rugged tablet

Rugged device maker Xplore Technologies has launched a new tablet in the UK, offering the full capabilities and connectivity of a business laptop, but in a lightweight, fully rugged slate-mode tablet format.

Available now via Xplore’s UK resellers, the Bobcat is a fully rugged Windows tablet aimed at users such as engineers in the telecommunications and utilities industries, who need a device that can operate outdoors and in potentially hazardous environments.

With a 10.1in touchscreen, starting weight of just over one kilogram and quad-core Intel Atom processor, the Bobcat has similar capabilities to many standard Windows tablets, but is fully compliant with the MIL-STD-810G and IP65 environmental specifications and has enough protection to withstand multiple drops from up to 1.5m.

However, unlike many similar rugged devices, the Bobcat sports a full range of I/O ports as standard, which is something customers have been clamouring for, according to Xplore’s EMEA sales director Sandy McCaskie.

“The guys in the utilities and telcos are often plugging into older devices and peripherals that still use a serial port, so we’ve got serial as standard rather than as an option,” he told V3.

Likewise, the Bobcat also features an Ethernet port in addition to 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth, plus full-size USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output and a micro SD card slot, all behind protective flaps.

Optional extras include 4G LTE mobile broadband and other accessories such as a bolt-on 1D/2D barcode scanner or near-field communications (NFC) reader, plus vehicle mounts, and hand and shoulder straps for carrying.

McCaskie claimed that the Bobcat is the “lightest tablet in the fully rugged space” thanks to its design, which features a magnesium alloy midframe that all the other components fit around, plus elastomer bumpers for protection and a direct-bonded glass screen that is claimed to be as strong as Gorilla glass.

The display itself boasts a 178-degree viewing angle and is optimised for use even in strong sunlight, and the touchscreen can be used with gloves or a passive stylus.

In specifications, the Bobcat is based on a quad-core 1.91GHz Atom E3845 processor with 4GB memory and 128GB or 256GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage. Customers can specify either Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 7 Pro.

The Bobcat can last for up to eight hours using its 5,300mAh primary battery, or up to 14 hours with a secondary clip-on 4,200mAh battery. Both batteries are removable, which is a vital feature because “lithium-ion batteries just don’t last for three years”, according to McCaskie, while customers will typically want to operate a rugged device for longer than that.

McCaskie also claimed that unlike other rugged devices, the Bobcat can operate across its full temperature range, right up to 60 degrees Celsius, without throttling the processor.

“Typical users for the Bobcat would have used a Toughbook in the past, and we’re trying to give them the same functionality in a thinner, lighter tablet form factor,” he said.

The Xplore Technologies Bobcat is available through resellers such as Centerprise for a recommended start price of £1,414.

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Source: v3.co.uk
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