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Janam XM2-RFID for Rail

Compact, rugged keyboard PDA with RFID reader and industrial-grade scanner for rail-centric freight industries and similar deployments
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Janam is a New York-based rugged mobile computing vendor with worldwide distribution. The company was established in 2006 as a provider of purpose-built rugged handheld computing devices for mobile workers. In April 2015, the company introduced the Janam XM2-RFID for Rail, a rugged mobile computer specifically designed for the North American freight and transportation industry which currently uses over 1.3 million railroad cars equipped with automated equipment identification (AEI) RFID tags.

Why launch a device that is so very specifically targeted? Because well over a million of freight cars equipped with tags represents a potentially very sizable market, especially if a device is uniquely suited for the task. Janam thinks the XM2-RFID is just that, and also that the device is more affordable than anything they consider direct competition. In addition, while the XM2-RFID was launched for the rail industry and even carries the "for Rail" in its very name, there seems no inherent reason that the handheld couldn't be used in many other applications as well.

As far as the device itself goes, Janam again adheres to its time-tested approach of making available popular legacy technology that, while mature, has been polished and updated for the job. Remember that Janam was selling Palm OS-based handhelds long after Palm itself had vanished, and to this day customers can get Palm OS devices from Janam (see Janam's XP series).

So the XM2-RFID is a traditional ruggedized Pocket PC design with integrated keypad, a small 3.2-inch QVGA (240 x 320 pixel) screen, a modest 128MB or 256MB of RAM and Flash each (plus whatever is in the unit's user-accessible micro SDHC slot). The whole thing is powered by a non-specified Freescale ARM 9 processor, and runs Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. That's enough technology for the job at hand. More would be wasted and simply add to costs.

Measuring 2.9 x 5.8 inches, the XM2-RFID has a foorptint just a bit smaller than that of an iPhone 6 Plus. It's about an inch thick, which means it can accommodate an industrial-grade Motorola SE4500 1D/2D scanner and a suitably-sized battery. Weight is 13 ounces, quite manageable.

Devices designed for heavy-duty RFID reading can always be recognized by the large external RFID module, and this Janam handheld is no different. In terms of performance, Janam claims the device can read AEI tags from at least a meter (3.3 feet) away. In their tests, after reading 40,000 tags in a continuous five hour stretch, the battery still had 20% charge left. That means it should last at least a full shift in normal everyday use.

As one would expect, the Janam XM2-RFID is a tough and durable device. It will survive multiple 4-foot drops onto concrete, can be operated in a wide -4 to 122 degree temperature range, and is sealed to IP64 level, which means this handheld is totally dustproof and can also handle water sprayed on it from all directions.

Overall, the Janam XM2-RFID for Rail is a very cleverly conceived product that cost-efficiently provides just the right performance and features needed for a clearly defined job, no more and no less, and it does so in a rational, field-proven design and with rational, field-proven technology.

Janam Technologies LLC · janam.com · 1-516-677-9500

Specifications Janam XM2-RFID for Rail
Added/changed Added 04/2015, updated 12/2015
Form-factor Rugged RFID reader for railroads
CPU Speed Freescale ARM 9
OS Microsoft Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5
RAM/ROM 128MB or 256MB RAM
128MB or 256MB Flash
Card slots 1 x user-accessible micro-SDHC card slot
Display type Color TFT with LED backlight
Display size/res 3.2" 240 x 320 pixel VGA
Digitizer/pens Analog resistive touch
Keyboard/keys Backlit 26-key numeric
Navigation touch, stylus, keypad
Housing Plastic
Operating Temp -4° to 122°F (-20° to 50°C)
Sealing IP64
Shock Multiple 4 foot drops to concrete
Humidity 5-90% non-condensing
Vibration Unknown
ESD +/- 15kVdc air; +/- 8kVdc contact
Sterilization 80% concentration alcohol rub
Size (WxHxD) 2.9 x 5.8 x 1.0 inches (73 x 148 x 25 mm)
Weight 13 oz. (370g) with battery
Power 2,880mAH rechargeable Li-Ion
Scanning Motorola SE4500 1D/2d CMOS)
Sensors e-Compass
Interface Industrial communications port (RS232, USB)
Wireless 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, RFID
Camera None
Price Starting at US$1,895 list
Product brochure Janam XM2-RFID for Rail specs (PDF)
Web page Janam XM2-RFID for Rail page
Press release Janam XM2-RFID for Rail press release
Windows Mobile Info
  • Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld
  • Windows Embedded Compact 2013
  • Windows Embedded 8 Handheld
  • Windows Embedded Compact 7
  • Windows Embedded Handheld
  • Windows Phone 7
  • Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R3
  • Windows Mobile 6.5
  • Windows Mobile 6
  • Windows CE 6.0
  • Windows Mobile 5
  • Windows CE 5.0
  • Windows Mobile Smartphone
  • Windows Mobile 2003
  • Windows CE .Net
  • Windows for Pocket PC 2002
  • Pocket PC intro 2000
  • Windows CE H/PC Pro 1998
  • Windows CE 2.0 1997
  • Janam XM2-RFID for Rail