(Pocket-lint) - Panasonic has carved something of a niche for itself over the years in supplying rugged tablet devices for extreme workplaces but it now faces serious rivalry from Dell as the US firm wants to muscle in on the action.

Joining an existing line-up of super strong laptops, the Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet is the company's first beefed up slate to be used in conditions not befitting a usual device.

It has an 11.6-inch outdoor-readable HD touchscreen display which is also capable of use through gloved fingers. It comes with QuadcCool thermal management for both extreme hot and cold environments, and it's powered by an Intel Core M processor.

It has stolid state storage of up to 512GB and connects wirelessly through 802.11ac Wi-Fi. An optional mobile broadband connection can also be chosen.

The tablet has an IP-65 rating to protect it from water and dust intrusion, while an optional full-size keyboard can be added to make it into a more fully-functioning laptop. It comes with Windows pre-installed - which we presume will be Windows 10 as the device comes out at the end of July (the same release schedule as Microsoft's next operating system).

A UK price is yet to be revealed but expect it to be in the region of $3,500 (£2,250) or more in the States.

Writing by Rik Henderson.