Resellers have a new weapon in their arsenal for enterprise-grade tablet computers, with Zebra Technologies bringing its new tablets to market in Australia and New Zealand. And there's a twist.
Where Apple and Microsoft are targeting the enterprise market, Zebra is targeting the rugged enterprise market, be it workers on the road or those in a warehouse, and aiming to solidify its position in the potentially lucrative niche vertical.
The ET50 and ET55 run either Android 5.1 – Lollipop – operating system or, for the first time, Windows 8.1, which is Windows 10 ready, bolstering the company's chances in the enterprise space.
Both 8.3-inch and 10.1-inch displays are available and Zebra claims the tablets are built to handle a drop from 1m ‘but you can nearly double the drop specification with our rugged frame'.
“Whether your workers drop it, spill a drink on it, use it in the rain or snow or in a very dusty area, they'll enjoy continuous reliable operation,” Zebra says.
The Android version comes standard with Zebra's Mobility Extensions, which add enterprise-class security, device management and data capture capabilities.
Zebra's AppGallery, an Android enterprise app store providing ready-to-use apps, is also included.
Joe White, Zebra Technologies vice president of enterprise mobile computing, says the rugged ET50 line addresses ‘all the business issues associated with deploying tablets inside and outside the four walls of the enterprise – from durability, security and expandability to device and application management'.
Among the ‘rugged' enhancements are Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with native damage resistance to help the display better survive real world events that can commonly cause glass failure. IP65 sealing provides a dust-tight design that Zebra claims ‘can handle a hose-down at full force'.
The tablets also feature hot-swappable batteries to augment the build in battery and can be used while wearing gloves.
The company, perhaps best known for its barcode scanners and printing devices, has supplied tablets to the military for a number of years.
Zebra also launched a range of accessories include vehicle mount cradles for on-the-road workers, and a forklift mount for warehouse environments.
Ingram Micro and Sektor are the local distributors for Zebra and a spokesperson for Zebra says while the products are not yet orderable, SKUs are appearing in the system.
IDC's recent Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker showed tablet sales declining, though shipments are still expected to hit 212 million for 2015, with the vast majority being purre slate tablets.