Android still isn’t considered especially business-friendly (that title still rests with the increasingly humble Blackberry) and most “business tablets” come with either a full version of Windows, Windows CE or a custom operating system. Motorola is aiming to change that with the ET1, a rugged business tablet designed specifically for point-of-sale operations and other things done while listening to Bachman Turner Overdrive. Compared to Cisco’s Cius tablet, it could be a winner.
The 7-inch tablet isn’t likely to fulfill the wishes of the Android enthusiast crowd, but then it isn’t really meant to. It includes a rather standard 1024 x 700 panel behind protective Gorilla Glass, front and rear cameras, and a swappable 4620 mAh battery, all powered by a 1GHz processor and a full gigabyte of RAM. It’s not the lightest tablet out there at 1.4 pounds, but it’s rated to survive multiple drops at anywhere between -4 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit. As of now only a WiFi model is being offered, but mobile broadband variants are scheduled for the future. Motorola is aiming to keep the pice “below $1000” with discounts for bulk enterprise orders.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread rests on the ET1’s rugged silicon, but keep in mind, this device isn’t meant for media consumption and web surfing like most Honeycomb tablets. Motorola is including some industry-focused software tweaks, like multi-user log-ins, point-of-sale tools, and built-in encryption for the 8GB of on-board storage. Remote access allows IT managers to wipe devices that have been lost or stolen. The ET1 is expected to make its way into enterprise hands in the fourth quarter – calendar, not fiscal.