Orchard introduces Toughlet rugged tablet with sunlight viewable display

Orchard has introduced a new rugged tablet designed for outdoor use. It has a 7 inch Pixel Qi display which can function as a full color LCD display or a high contrast (nearly black and white) sunlight viewable display when the backlight is turned off.

Orchard Toughlet

The current model has a 1.2 GHz Freescale iMX5 ARM Cortex-A8 dual core processor and 2GB of DDR3 memory, WiFi, Bluetooth, IR, RFID, and optional 3G or 4G wireless.

While Orchard is showing off the tablet with Google Android, the company also plans to offer webOS and Windows 8 models.

But it’s the rugged features that set the Toughlet apart from most tablets. It has a titanium/aluminum alloy case, a Corning Gorilla Glass scratch-resistant display, weatherLox technology to keep out moisture, dust, and other particles, and a nickel-zinc battery which can handle high temperatures better than lithium-ion batteries.

The tablet isn’t aimed at the general public. The idea is that the Toughlet could find a home in construction, engineering, manufacturing, or other jobs where it would be exposed to the elements. The company is also targeting education and corporate fields.

Orchard plans to start producing tablets during the second quarter of 2012 and will work on special orders and customization based on clients’ needs in the third quarter of the year. A base model will run about $550.

Charbax from ARMDevices got a look at a Toughlet at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month and shot a video of the tablet.

It’s not the prettiest tablet on the market, but the demo unit has a few unusual characteristics including dual SDXC card slots, a dedicated flashlight button. The demo model in the video doesn’t have a Pixel Qi display, but that will be a standard feature on the final production units.

  • NIFTYPROSE

    SUNLIGHT-READABLE TABLETS MARKED FOR DEATH?

    As if the demise of the XO-3 among the ruin of OLPC’s fall wasn’t enough, it now looks like ORChard have gone tits-up — product months overdue, product site still on lame placeholder, corporate site reverted to a GoDaddy ‘This domain pending renewal’. Signing with Pixel Qi seems to be something like the Kiss of the SpiderWoman.

    Why is this so? I did a quick straw poll and I’m not alone. Plenty of fellow-travellers fancy surfing/editing/posting at the beach. Since we can discount e-paper phones (more than one para per screen, puh-lease) this means that my only cptions are waiting for the slightly flaky Earl, or doing some seriously flaky e-reader hackery.

    No disrespect to Earl’s developers — anyone can pick a bad hardware supplier and end up with six months’ delays — or indeed to e-reader hackers. But I’ve been waiting two years for some maker to put an e-paper screen into a generic Android tablet, and I’m getting pretty fed up. Anyone else feel similar?