Xplore Technologies is looking to change that, and has now introduced a ruggedized tablet, running Windows 8, specifically for outdoor adventurers.
The new Bobcat is a sleek, thin tablet that doesn't compromise on performance, and is built to withstand plenty of punishment. The device weighs just 2.4 pounds (1.08 kg), has a battery life of up to 8 hours, and is military certified to be resistant to dust and water. It is strong enough to survive a fall of up to 5 feet (1.5 meters), and is built to operating within a temperature range of -4°F (-20°C) to 140°F (60°C).
Inside, the Bobcat is packing an Intel Bay Trail 1.9 Ghz Quad-Core processor, 4GB of memory and a 128GB solid state drive, which is expandable up to 240GB if necessary. It is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting with a wide variety of devices, and of course it comes equipped with Wi-Fi as well. 4G LTE service is an option, as is a standard RJ45 Ethernet jack.
Ports include 2 USB 3.0, Micro HDMI, and Micro Sim, plus a built-in card reader for Micro SD memory cards. The tablet has two integrated cameras, a 5 megapixel on the rear of the device, and a forward facing HD cam for video conferencing. It's 10.1" WXGA LCD screen is bright enough to useable outside, and can render images at a resolution of 1366 x 768. The screen is capable of 10 finger multi-touch gestures, and can interface with a touch screen pen as well.
Xplore has tested the Bobcat in some extreme environments, and certifies it ready for use in the field. That includes testing it in blowing rain for 30 minutes on each surface, blowing sand over a similar time frame, as well as tests against humidity, shock, and even a salt fog spray, what ever that is. It has even been tested up to an altitude of 15,000 ft (4572 meters), although its SSD drive should allow it to continue to operate at an even higher altitude than that.
Engadget has gotten their hands on the Bobcat, and report that its performance is fast and efficient. They did mention that the screen washed out a bit in bright sunlight, and the lone speaker was easily muffled, but considering what this tablet is built for, and where it will be used, it was a solid all around performer.
Base price for the Bobcat is $2200, which is pretty pricey compared to some of the tablets that are available on the market. But considering how rugged this one is, it is easy to see why it will appeal to the outdoor adventurer.