Honeywell Dolphin 75e|
Stylish multi-talented ruggedized mobile computer runs Android or Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
Late in 2012, 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 was the Dolphin 70e Black, introduced October 2012. But technology advances very quickly, and so Honeywell followed up on April 29, 2015 with the Dolphin 75e described here.
The Dolphin 75e's 2.9 x 5.3 inch footprint is that of a medium-sized 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, and it uses capacitive multi-touch. Honewywell calls the optically bonded display "very bright" and, of course, it incorporates the by now almost ubiquitous Corning Gorilla Glass. Note that size, weight and exterior design of the new Dolphin 75e are identical to the older Dolphin 70e, which means the new model feels smaller and the display lower-res compared to modern smartphones than the 70e did at the time of its introduction.
Honeywell's press release calls the Dolphin 75e "the first in a series of next-generation workforce solutions." That refers to its adoption of state-of-the-art hardware and software technology as the foundation of products to come. Many will see the 75e as a welcome tech-refresh of the Dolphin 70e. Be that as it may, the design remains eye-catching even if this device is a cross between a traditional handheld computer and a modern smartphone. On the OS side the 75e continues the trail blazed by the 70e. You can get the 75e with either Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld (one of the very few devices we know of with this Windows OS) or with Android 4.4. And Honeywell promises seamless upgrades to Windows Emedded 10 Handheld and Android 5.0. Note, though, that you can't switch back and forth between Windows and Android.
As far as the technology under the hood goes, the 75e is a very substantial step forward from the modestly-powered 70e. The old 1GHz single-core processor has been replaced with a 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcom Snapdragon 801, storage has been vastly expanded from just a gig to 16GB, WFi is now 802.11ac, the camera is now 8-megapixel, and where in the old 70e sensor technology was represented by just a single accelerometer, the new 75e is brimming with five of them (light, proximity, compas, gyro, accelerometer). Technology, of course, remains a moving target, but with the exception of the by now smallish display, the 75e is far more state-of-the-art than the 70e was at the time of its own introduction.
Honeywell emphasizes the multple input mode capabilities of the 75e, those being speech, stylus, touch as well as keypad gestures. And that's on top of 1D/2D scans, so that this new Dolphin cannot only scan, but also record voice notes, capture digital signatures and allow image annotations.
What's interesting, though, is that the new 75e does not have mobile broadband, not even as an option. This means that Voice over IP is possible, but not regular cell service or data transmission away from WiFi coverage and hotspots.
Where the 75e (as did the 70e before) 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 devices won't.
Bottomline from our perspective: while the Dolphin 75e, based on very competent new hardware and software, looks exactly like the older Dolphin 70e, it employs much quicker and much more comprehensive electronics, and newer OS options. It's a welcome successor to the Dolphin 70e, a promising technology foundation for a new series of products, and certainly a strong, attractive solution for numerous inventory, asset management, and customer servicing deployments.