NEC has introduced a "cloud communicator tablet" called LifeTouch in Japan, the company said Wednesday.
The device is being marketed to corporate users and falls into a new category between PCs and mobile phones, featuring characteristics of both, according to NEC. The 7-inch LCD LifeTouch has a touch panel and runs on Android 2.1 OS. It is powered by an ARM Cortex A8 processor, measures 220 x 119.5 x 13.9 mm, and weighs 0.8 pounds. The tablet features Wi-Fi LAN 802.11b/11g and Bluetooth connectivity and supports both a stylus and finger touch.
Unlike many of the other tablets being launched, the LifeTouch device comes with four navigational buttons so that users can scroll through lists and choose options without having to use the touchscreen. LifeTouch also comes with a 3-megapixel camera, a GPS, a G-sensor, accelerometer, and light sensor. It also comes with a built-in microphone, full SD card, and an eight-hour battery. Applications include a browser, email, music, calendar, clock, alarm, directory, and calculator.
"Due to recent corporate demand to reduce IT investment expenses and total cost of operations (TCO), both the interest in cloud computing and its actual use have steadily increased,'' NEC said in a statement. "The LifeTouch cloud communicator enables corporate customers to generate new revenues through customer services and to improve the efficiency of business operations through an optimized user interface."
The LifeTouch device is being targeted at e-stores, healthcare services, field and retail sales, self-ordering and logistics, and as an e-reader and entertainment device, NEC said.
The terminal and software can both be customized in response to corporate customers' business needs for content, NEC said. A platform is also provided for developers to produce applications, the company said. NEC did not say whether it will launch a companion device with 3G connectivity.
The device will be available at the end of the month. Pricing was not specified, nor whether NEC would release the tablet outside of Japan.