Mobile computer for tough route assignments
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
Note: On December 10, 2012, Intermec announced that it will be acquired by Honeywell. [See Intermec press release]
When introduced several years ago, the Intermec CK61 Mobile Computer (originally named CK60) was a modern, rugged handheld for demanding route applications. It's a handsome tool for tough jobs, with a magnesium top, rubber bumpers to survive repeated falls from six feet (!!), and IP64 sealing. In order to make the CK60 as flexible as possible for application developers, the device can be ordered either with the friendly Windows Mobile for Pocket PC OS, or with the more developer-oriented Windows CE 5.0. Power comes from a speedy 520 MHz version of Intel's PXA272 application processor. There's up to 128MB of RAM and 128MB of non-volatile onboard storage.
We appreciate the large 3.8-inch transflective touchscreen as well as the keypad options that include a 32-key numeric version and a 58-key full alpanumeric layout. The CK60 can be ordered with an integrated laser scanner, 2D area imager, or integrated 1D & PDF-417 linear imager, supporting just about any code out there. Onboard communications consists of USB host and client, 10/100 Base-T LN, Bluetooth, IR aand even a legacy RS232 port. 801.11b/g is available as well. Additional expansion is possible via a user-accessible SDIO card.
In January of 2008, Intermec introduced the EX version of the CK61. The CK61EX integrates Intermec's auto-focus area imaging technology that enables quick scanning of 1D and 2D barcodes in any orientation, from six inches to 50 feet away. In addition, users can capture images, signatures and documents and scan damaged, poorly printed or partially obscured codes in variable lighting conditions. The CK61ex is also RFID-ready for connection to the Intermec IP30 RFID Reader Handle.
As of January 2011, the CK61 is still listed as an active product in Intermec's lineup. While it is not technologically obsolete, the newly introduced CK71 will likely replace it at some point.