Honeywell Dolphin 70e|
Stylish multi-talented ruggedized enterprise digital assistant runs Android or Windows Mobile
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
With hundreds of millions of sleek, elegant, high-tech smartphones out there, Honeywell saw great potential for a more durable more rugged version of those devices, one that in Honeywell's words "marries the size, style and usability of a consumer device with the reliability and longevity of a traditional rugged handheld." The result is the Dolphin 70e Black, introduced October 2012.
The Dolphin 70e's 2.9 x 5.3 inch footprint is that of a large-screen modern smartphone, though at 0.7 inches it's thicker and at 7.2 ounces heavier than consumer phones. The 800 x 480 pixel WVGA display measures 4.3 inches diagonally, also in line with current smartphone trends, and it uses capacitive touch, albeit with a two-finger limit (which is enough for almost all smartphone functionality). The display is very bright at 700 nits and, of course, it incorporates the by now almost ubiquitous Corning Gorilla Glass.
Honeywell's press release called the Dolphin 70e a "rugged enterprise hybrid device," and there's definitely some merging and cooperation of different designs and technologies going on. While the design is eye-catching, its ruggedness mandate means it's a cross between a traditional Pocket PC and a modern smartphone. On the OS side there are compromises as well. You can get the 70e with either Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 (think Windows Mobile 6.5) or with Android 4.0. That'sbecause while Windows Mobile no longer has any presence in modern smartphones, it remains by far the most common OS in vertical and industrial markets. So continuing to make it available is probably a smart move.
As far as the technology under the hood goes, it's not quite up to consumer smartphone standards. There's just a 1GHz single core processor, 5-megapixel camera, and just a gig of storage (which, of course, can be expanded via microSD card). That would hardly fly in the spoiled consumer market that wants quad-core processors, super-HD cameras, and much more storage. It's quite possible that the hardware limitations are the result of needing to support an older OS as well as Android 4.0.
This being an enterprise-grade device, however, Honeywell emphasizes that the 70e's "integrated imager provides bar code scanning performance superior to that of the camera scanning applications currently available in the market." On the wireless side, customers get Bluetooth version 4.0, dual-band WiFi, and their choice of 3.9G UMTS/HSPA+ or carrier-independent Gobi 3000. And if the standard 6.2 watt-hour battery is deemed insufficient, Honeywell offers an extended Li-Ion pack with twice the capacity.
Where the 70e really excels is on the ruggedness side. The device carries IP67 sealing, which means it's completely dust and waterproof. Yes, it can even handle immersion. It can also survive 4-foot drops to concrete, operate in extreme temperatures, passes a number of other ruggedness tests. This thing will survive, easily, where consumer smartphones won't.