Panasonic just launched the Panasonic 3E, a 10-inch hybrid tablet/notebook for the US education market. Specifically built to "survive the rough-and-tumble reality of student life", the semi-rugged device is IP51-certified to resist dust and spills, as well as survive drops from up to 70cm. It looks unsurprisngly similar to the Intel Classmate PC unveiled at Intel's Global Solutions Summit in April, as the 3E is a "result of a collaborative partnership between Panasonic, Intel Education and Microsoft" as described on the product page.
It features a snap-on keyboard dock that is reversible, so the tablet can be placed facing the keyboard for typing, or facing away from the keyboard to utilize it as a stand for presentations or show-and-tell. The keyboard comes with a built-in handle so students can just grab and go without the need of an extra laptop case. It also sports a 1.2 megapixel front camera and a 5 megapixel rear camera for taking stills and videos.
Accessories are abundant in the box, including a stylus for drawing and note-taking, which can be tethered to the tablet to prevent loss; a snap-on magnifying lens transforms the rear camera into a microscope with 30x magnification; and a temperature sensor probe for sending results of lab experiments directly to the device.
Under the hood, the 3E runs on a quad-core Intel Atom Z3740D, 2GB RAM and Intel HD Graphics. It comes with Windows 8.1 Pro for Education (32-bit) and features a 1366 x 748 IPS five-point touch display, with options for 32GB or 64GB storage. It also comes with a USB 3.0 port, a microSD card slot, an audio input/output combo jack and a micro HDMI slot. The keyboard dock adds another USB 2.0 slot for external storage or mouse. With a 7600mAh battery, it is expected to run up to 8 hours on a charge.
The Panasonic 3E retails from US$499 with options for 4G and GPS upgrades.