Looks like Panasonic has got some serious competition in the rugged tablet arena in the shape of the Motion CL900 from Austin's Motion Computing. The new tough kid on the block has been shock-proofed, is dust and moisture sealed, and benefits from a Gorilla Glass multi-touch display and Vertak bonding. Upon release it will be powered by Intel's next generation Atom processor, have durable solid state storage and Wireless-N connectivity. Let the battle commence...

As far as specs go, Motion Computing appears to have made an impressive entry into the small form factor, rugged tablet PC market. The 2.1 pound (0.95kg), 10.9 x 7.06 x 0.61-inch (276.7 x 179.2 x 15.4mm) Motion CL900 has a 10.1-inch, 1366 x 768 resolution, high definition capacitive touchscreen Corning Gorilla Glass display with optional pen input possible via an active stylus. DuPont Vertak optical bonding technology is said to offer an improved viewing experience in various lighting conditions.

The tablet has been tested to MIL-STD-810G standards – meaning that it should be able to withstand a drop from four feet (1.21 meters) – and IP-52 sealing protects from dust and moisture. The internals are protected by an aluminum alloy internal frame and the chassis is said to be resistant to chemical spill.

Storage is provided by either a 30GB or 62GB solid state drive, and Intel's new 1.5GHz Atom processor (codenamed Oak Trail and built with tablets in mind) on an SM35 Express Chipset is supported by either 1GB or 2GB DDR2 RAM. Physical connectivity is supplied courtesy of a USB port, SD card reader and micro-HDMI, but things get more interesting with the wireless options on offer. There's Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional Gobi 3000 mobile broadband with GPS integration and a wireless SIM port.

The Motion CL900 will run on either Windows 7 Professional or Home Premium, benefit from a front-facing 1.3 megapixel webcam and a 3 megapixel camera facing rear, feature a high definition audio codec (although there's just a mono speaker), dual-array microphones and a combined audio in/out jack. Motion Computing says that the CL900 should give eight hours of battery life between charges.

There's also an optional counter-top docking station that's said to optimize the CL900 for touch input, as well as catering for painless peripheral integration – with three USB ports, Ethernet connectivity and power supply. Future expansion is being catered for with the development of peripheral modules, which will be released later in the year.

The company says that the starting price for its new Motion CL900 rugged tablet will come in under US$1,000 when it's released in the second quarter of 2011.