In harsh, outdoor environments, conventional ruggedized tablets still hold their own over consumer tablets like iPads. iPads don't do water. Conventional ruggedized tablets are generally Windows based and use a stylus, though manufacturers are starting to deliver rugged touchscreens based on Android. Advantages over an iPad include screen durability, the ability to view the screen in sunlight, and batteries or hard drives that can be replaced, says Doug Petteway, marketing VP of GD-Itronix, a General Dynamics subsidiary that makes rugged tablets.
Rugged tablets can be built to withstand a soaking from a firehose or a drop on a concrete floor. They can be made to not emit any sparks so they can be used around oil and gas. But they also cost about $2,000 to $4,000 each. Motorola Solutions has a semi-rugged, Android-based enterprise touchscreen device for around $1,000 that aims to bridge the gap between conventional rugged, Windows-based tablets and consumer tablets.