Seeking to challenge the iPad’s ongoing success in the healthcare field, Panasonic has announced an updated version of Toughbook tablet for doctors offices and hospitals. The update is the latest for Toughbook product line that Panasonic introduced in 2008.
The 10-inch screen size is about the only thing in the new Toughbook CF-H2 Health tablet offers that is similar to the iPad. The Toughbook is a Windows 7 tablet powered by an Intel Core i5 processor that relies on a 320GB hard drive rather than flash memory for storage (though a 128 GB SSD is available as a custom build option). It weighs in at a whopping 1.58 kg (3.48 pounds) – more than double the weight of the new iPad.
The Toughbook, which will ship next month, will have an entry-level price of €1,898 (approximately $2,330). That’s more than four times the cost of an entry-level new iPad and just shy of six times the cost of the entry-level iPad 2.
Panasonic has been a vocal critic of the iPad in healthcare, claiming that Apple didn’t design its tablet for the rigors of medical or hospital use. One particular point that Panasonic cites in the materials for its ruggedized tablets is that they are easy to clean and disinfect – the implication being that the iPad isn’t. That point, however, can be remedied with strict cleaning/disinfecting procedures or varying ruggedized iPad cases including Griffin’s AirStrap Med case, which was designed specifically for the healthcare field.
Overall, the iPad has been largely embraced by doctors and many hospitals. This handful of examples illustrate the breadth of iPad success as a hospital tool.
The University of Chicago’s Internal Medicine residency program has seen such public success with the iPad that it now offers advice for other hospitals and healthcare practices considering Apple’s tablet.
Bradford hospitals trust in the U.K. recently announced a 1,000-iPad roll out.
Ottawa Hospital in Canada was an iPad-in-healthcare pioneer and saw such success with early roll outs that it had deployed 3,000 iPads as of last December.
Panasonic, however still seems to think heavier and chunkier tablets like its Toughbooks are the best options in healthcare and other industries (the company also announced a similar Toughbook tablet for utility and field service engineers).
As recently as the TabTimes Tablet Strategy conference in April, Panasonic’s Business Enterprise Development Manager Jim Dempse, was repeating the overused iPad-competitor claim that the iPad is simply unsuited for use in the workplace (in healthcare or any other industry).
We’ve been in tablets for 15 years. I love Apple, they made the tablet cool again, we get a boost from what they do and we like to think of them as friends. I have two iPads in my house, but they’re built for the consumer world and that’s not where we’re focused.