As tablet computers become more commonly used by service techs, the race is on to provide devices that can withstand the hazards of the field. That leaves field service companies switching to tablets with a choice: Buy a durable device like the ARMOR rugged tablet from DRS Technologies or Motorola’s yet-to-be-named Android tablet that can withstand drops of up to four feet, or slap a rugged case on whichever tablet they choose.

For field service IT decision-makers who’d rather do the latter, the OtterBox Defender may end up being the best solution. ZDNet recently tried one out for the BlackBerry PlayBook, and called it a “great new accessory.” The Defender isn’t the kind of case one would look for if size and weight are of utmost importance, as it adds substantial thickness and 12 ounces of weight to the BlackBerry Playbook.

It does, however, provide the kind of protection workers need in the field.

  • High-impact polycarbonate armor shell
  • Silicone rubber coating
  • Fully enclosed case
  • Every button, port and receptacle usable through the casing
  • Top cover/shield also doubles as a kickstand

The device isn’t exactly inexpensive at $69.95, but considering the functionality, it could be a price worth paying if the BlackBerry PlayBook is the best tablet computer for your business, and is certainly cheaper than buying a set of brand new rugged tablets for your fleet if devices breaking in the field gets to be a problem. While ZDNet got to use the Defender case with the PlayBook, the protective covering will also be available for the iPad 2 and the Motorola XOOM for $89.95.

(By the way, don’t forget to enter our “Cool Tool” contest where you can win an iPad 2 simply by taking a photo of yourself with the coolest tool in your arsenal by May 13.)

More about enterprise tablets on The SmartVan

More about ServiceMax