Panasonic made two significant announcements that will be of interest to trucking at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The company announced a new ruggedized 7-in. tablet computer as well as availability of what it said is the first 20-in. tablet with 4K resolution display.

The Toughpad FZ-M1 fully rugged 7-in. tablet comes equipped with Windows 8.1 Pro and a 4th-generation Intel Core i5 processor. The tablet can be customized to meet user needs.

“Most tablets on the market today are designed to be ‘good enough’ to meet most users’ needs. But ‘good enough’ won’t cut it for a large portion of the mobile workforce, who need tools they can depend on in challenging conditions to get the job done without compromise,” said Rance Poehler, president, Panasonic System Communications Co. of North America. “The Toughpad FZ-M1 is built for those workers. Its highly portable and compact size, power, connectivity and configuration options, and sheer toughness make it the ideal tablet to connect mission-critical workers of all types with the data they need to do their jobs at any time.”

The Toughpad FZ-M1 is designed to improve productivity and efficiency in a host of professional scenarios, including customer service, inventory management and asset tracking, maintenance, eForms, route delivery, eCitations, electronic medical records, inspections, mobile point-of-sales and geographic information system (GIS).

Unlike many consumer tablets, the FZ-M1 is built for easy integration into existing IT infrastructures. Its battery provides 8 hours of uninterrupted work that can be fully charged in just 2 ½ hours. An optional high capacity battery delivers 16 hours of power, and an optional bridge battery enables users to switch out batteries without powering down the device, providing for virtually unlimited use.

While equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor, a less expensive version will be available with an Intel Celeron processor.

The FZ-M1 weighs just 1.2 lbs. yet meets MIL-STD-810G specifications for drops (up to 5 ft.), shock, vibration, altitude, humidity and extreme temperatures.

The 7-in. display features a 500 nit, daylight-readable WXGA display with anti-reflective screen treatment for outdoor use. The 10-point multi-touch screen can be used with thick industrial-type gloves. An optional stylus is available for signature capture and similar applications.

Other options include dedicated GPS, barcode reader, Ethernet or serial port; and a choice of near field communications (NFC), SmartCard reader, UHF radio-frequency identification (up to 10 ft. range), or magnetic stripe reader.

It offers 4G LTE multi-carrier embedded wireless broadband connectivity, enabling IT administrators to switch carriers via software to select the best 4G LTE carrier for their workers for any geographic area.

Also at the show, Panasonic announced the U.S. availability of its Toughpad 4K UT-MA6 tablet, a 20-in. tablet with a 4K resolution display.

It features an Intel Core i7-3687U vPro processor with an NVIDIA Quadro K1000M GPU, and an advanced beyond Ultra HD 4K display providing a lifelike viewing experience unlike any tablet on the market, the Toughpad 4K performance model is built to serve as an ideal mobile work station.

Optimized for the Windows 8.1 Pro operating system and built on the Intel vPro platform, the Toughpad 4K tablet bridges the gap between the needs of IT professionals and workers by including unique hardware and OS-based enhanced security features, remote manageability and capabilities designed to increase end user productivity and data protection.

The tablet features Mini DisplayPort, Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0 (Class 1), USB 3.0, SDXC card slot, smart card reader, docking connector, Gigabit Ethernet LAN port, a 5 MP rear camera and 1280 x 720 pixel front camera.