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The evolution of Samsung’s rugged tablet portfolio

Today’s business and IT leaders have already witnessed how smartphones and tablets have empowered their office- and home-based employees to be more effective from anywhere, but they also know that it’s well past time that they delivered this same mobile productivity for their frontline field workers.

Field-based workers themselves are demanding multipurpose mobile devices and apps to replace the paper-based processes and multiple devices they’ve had to juggle until now. These workers understand better than anyone just how much more they could accomplish if they had the right mobile solutions in hand. Accordingly, many businesses are looking for tablets that will fit the bill.

There’s a catch, though. To work well in industrial settings or challenging field environments, a tablet has to be rugged, reliable and well-connected, and it must deliver a long battery life. Picture a worker trying to log the details of a service call on a shiny new tablet in the middle of a heavy rainstorm, or dropping their device on the tarmac and having to deal with a broken screen during an emergency response. A consumer tablet can’t survive this kind of abuse. Only a rugged tablet built for field usage can.

In the past the only rugged tablets available were sluggish, bulky and expensive — or makeshift solutions housing consumer tablets in a rugged case — but with the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active family of rugged tablets, businesses now have powerful solutions that are purpose-built for mobile productivity in real-world work environments beyond traditional offices, from the factory floor and logistics warehouse to public safety settings and longhaul trucking.

Enabling mobile productivity in the field and beyond

With the release of the Galaxy Tab Active2 in 2017, businesses gained access to a rugged Android tablet that enables mobile productivity in the field and can be trusted for mission-critical operations. Wherever workers needed to ensure timely deliveries or coordinate incident responses in real time — even in inclement weather or dark and dusty conditions — they could accomplish these tasks and more using the compact 8-inch Tab Active2 and its accompanying S Pen.

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Two years later the Tab Active Pro was released as the next step in the evolution of rugged tablets. The many capabilities of the Tab Active2, including the S Pen, were enhanced by the Tab Active Pro’s larger 10.1-inch touchscreen, a programmable button, carrier connectivity, payment processing via EMV and near-field communications (NFC), and support for Samsung DeX.

The newest member of the Samsung rugged tablet family, the Tab Active3, pushes the evolution of these devices to another level. While keeping a consistent design with the Tab Active2, the Tab Active3 offers a higher-resolution 8-inch display (1,920 x 1,200 pixels compared to the Active2’s 1,280 x 800), a more powerful processor and more memory to enable smooth multitasking, and up to 128GB of onboard storage, compared to the Active2’s 32GB. It also adds improved ruggedness and connectivity, two programmable buttons and Knox Capture for advanced barcode scanning capabilities.

Samsung is always looking for ways to raise the bar of mobile productivity further. Many of our customers told us that they wanted a rugged device that could serve as a true laptop replacement when they needed desktop productivity. They also desired longer battery life to support workers during long shifts, our characteristic top-notch security and a budget-friendly price point.

The next-generation Galaxy Tab Active3

The Tab Active3 represents Samsung’s latest response to customer feedback. Like the Galaxy Tab Active Pro, this next-generation rugged tablet comes with an full HD resolution screen, long-lasting battery life, and defense-grade security from Samsung Knox. The Tab Active3 also supports Samsung DeX, allowing field workers to connect their tablet to a monitor, keyboard and mouse when they return to their office or home workspace for a full desktop computing experience. The Tab Active3 adds a new option for wireless DeX connectivity as well.

Samsung DeX is the next evolution of mobile computing. It allows businesses to consolidate endpoint devices because one tablet or smartphone can be used for both mobile work and desktop computing. In addition to reducing device acquisition costs and management, DeX also makes work more efficient, with reduced switching between devices and less time spent booting up and logging in. With DeX, apps simply adapt to a bigger screen so work can carry on uninterrupted.

Built to take on everything

Tab Active devices are built to stand up to real-world challenges. The devices are tested against more then 20 environment criteria outlined under the MIL-STD-810 standard. MIL-STD-810G testing includes drops and vibrations, salt fog and blowing dust, heat and humidity, ice and low-pressure altitude. This military-grade testing was conducted in addition to typical IP68 certification tests for water and dust resistance.

We also looked carefully at how field workers would interact with the Tab Active3. The device features a programmable button that gives workers instant access to the business apps they need without having to waste time searching for them. With enhanced touch, mobile workers can be just as productive with their gloves on as they are without them, even in blustery winter conditions.

When a worker is resolving a service issue in a crawl space where conditions are rough, they need a rugged tablet they can rely on. They can write quick observations with the S Pen while wearing gloves in these spaces, saving the time it would take them to remove their gloves whenever they wanted to do something on their tablet. That way, this worker can close out their tickets even faster.

Power for hours

With a larger battery onboard (5050mAh compared to the Tab Active2’s 4450mAh battery), the Tab Active3 will keep going until the job is done. For operations where devices are shared across shifts, the battery is replaceable, so workers can quickly switch to a new one and keep going. Durable pogo pin connectors make it fast and easy to drop it onto a charging station as well.

When devices are used in fixed, in-vehicle settings, like in trucking, the Tab Active3 can operate without a battery while connected to an external power source. This can reduce overheating from continuous use in direct sunlight.

Our customers expect reliable, long-term value from their mobile technology investments, which is why the Tab Active3 comes with four years’ worth of guaranteed updates via the Samsung Maintenance Release (SMR) program. All of these benefits are available at a lower cost compared to traditional rugged device, giving businesses exactly what they need at an affordable price.

Supporting true mobile productivity

Each business has its own unique requirements, which is why the Galaxy Tab Active3 is designed to support a wide range of use cases:

  • For field-based workers, always-on connectivity is essential. Thanks to the Tab Active3’s 4G LTE connectivity, your team can stay connected with high-speed wireless data wherever they’re working.
  • Capturing high-resolution photos and video in the field is a key requirement across multiple industries. The Tab Active3’s 13MP auto-focus main camera makes it easy to record detailed field reports or even scan documents and share them with colleagues. A 5MP front camera means your team can videoconference from the field with ease. Plus,
  • Sales associates working on the shop floor can also take advantage of the tablet’s built-in NFC capabilities to save time and deliver better customer service. If a customer wants to see more detailed information about a specific product, the sales associate can simply tap the NFC tag for that product and instantly pull up information on their tablet’s screen. The Tab Active3 can also act as a mobile point of sale (mPOS), allowing retailers to accept payments via NFC-enabled contactless credit cards without additional hardware. These enhancements can reduce customer time to purchase, provide a higher-quality shopping experience and keep lines moving in stores operating at reduced capacity.
  • With Google ARCore onboard, the Tab Active3 is ready to support new augmented reality (AR) applications. Imagine, for example, the potential of an AR assistant providing technical overlays on machinery while a field technician performs preventative maintenance.

No matter the use case, the Galaxy Tab Active3 is also available in an Enterprise Edition that’s designed to simplify deploying and managing devices for IT departments in every industry. The Tab Active3 Enterprise Edition comes equipped with a free year of Knox Suite, Samsung’s complete toolset of cloud-based services that enable end-to-end mobile management — plus discount pricing if enterprises choose to renew for subsequent years. To provide assurance that their devices will receive ongoing support, Enterprise Edition also includes a 3-year product life cycle guarantee from its initial release, as well as 3 years of OS updates and 5 years of security maintenance releases.

The right apps and accessories

A rugged tablet isn’t going to solve a business’s challenges on its own; the right software and accessories are also needed. That’s why we spent three years assembling an ecosystem of application and accessories partners to help customers implement complete paperless workflow solutions that address their industry needs, whether those needs involve asset management, barcode scanning in a warehouse or situational awareness for first responders.

Businesses can also take advantage of a wide range of accessories, including pro-grade vehicle mounts for trucking fleets, hand straps for one-handed operation and multicharging cradles.

The improvements that the Tab Active3 brings are aimed at reducing workflow complexity so your team can get their work done more efficiently. Whatever the task at hand is, your field workers can go into it reassured that their rugged and reliable tablet can do it all.

Empower your field services team with mobility today using this free guide. Then discover how Microsoft Teams, combined with rugged devices, is enhancing firstline worker communications.

Posts By

Saurabh Shah

Saurabh Shah leads product marketing for B2B mobile computing at Samsung Electronics America. With over a decade of experience in enterprise software, IoT and mobile technology, Saurabh focuses on developing solutions to enhance business productivity, improve customer experience and streamline workflows. Prior to joining Samsung, Saurabh managed mobile and Connected Worker Industrial IoT solutions at Honeywell.

View more posts by Saurabh Shah