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Psion Omnii RT15

Psion's modular rugged handheld computer platform spawns a special version for field service, delivery, field data collection and transportation
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Psion likes to offer customers the exact right handheld computer for a given job. They can do this expeditiously and economically with modularized hardware platforms. In January of 2012, the company introduced the Omnii XT15 and now, in March of 2012, Psion added a second version of the platform, the Omnii RT15, a very slightly re-tuned model geared specifically towards field service, delivery, field data collection and transportation.

As with the XT15, RT15 customers can specify speaker, camera and pistol grip module options. And modularity extends to interface configuration where customers can select from multiple internal multi-function expansion interfaces with RS232 and TTL serial, USB host, and GPIO ports.

Both XT15 and RT15 customers can choose from the same six different keypad modules ranging from full-function alpha- and QWERTY-numeric versions to simpler phone-style keypads with function keys. Psion also expanded the number of available scanner modules with various laser and imager engines from Motorola Solutions, Intermec and Honeywell.

No matter how a Psion RT15 is configured, what doesn't change is the overall size and shape of the RT15, as well as the underlying guts and electronics. Physically, we're looking at a device measuring about 8.75 x 3.95 x 1.65 inches and weighing 1.4 pounds, give or take an ounce or two with different configurations. The display is gratifyingly large (3.7 inches diagonal) and offers full 480 x 640 VGA resolution.

As far as technology goes, the RT15 runs either Windows CE 6.0 or Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 on a 800MHz TI AM3715 Sitara processor with an ARM Cortex A8 core. The device comes with 256 or 512MB of onboard RAM (the XT15 is listed with only the default 256MB) and has a gigabyte of onboard Flash. Onboard WiFi is of the dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n variety with CCX V4 certification pending. A microSDHC slot (up to 32GB) can be used for memory expansion. A high-capacity 5,000 mAH rechargeable Lithium-Ion powerpack can provide up to 20 hours of battery life.

As with the XT15, modularity extends to configuring the device in the front with an integrated speaker and microphone for push-to-talk and multimedia; a speaker/microphone with 3MP autofocus camera with digital zoom and flash; or a 1D imager. In the back, there can be a 1D imager, a 2D imager, or a 1D long-range laser scanner. Accessories can be a pistol grip that works with the chosen modules. The idea clearly is to offer customers exactly what they want and need, making things available that are needed for the job, but not forcing customers to pay for functionality they do not need.

Where the RT15 differs a bit from the XT15 is in the ruggedness department. Both can handle extreme operating temperatures between -4 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit, but the RT15 has a 5-foot drop rating (powered on) instead of the XT15's 5.5 feet, and the device is sealed to IP65 specifications as compared to the XT15's IP67. This means that while the new handheld is totally sealed against dust like the XT15, it is protected from low pressure water jets (with limited ingress permitted) as opposed to being immersion-proof.

So why both the XT15 and the RT15? Because field workers most likely will never need the slightly higher drop spec and extra sealing of the XT15, so why not save US$100 (list) per unit?

Psion also released this video of the RT15:

Specifications Psion RT15
Added/changed Added 3/2012, updated 04/2013
Form-factor Rugged flashlight-style handheld computer
CPU Speed TI AM3715 Sitara/800 MHz
OS Microsoft Windows CE 6.0 or Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5
RAM/ROM 256 or 512MB/1GB FLASH
Card slots 1 micro-SDHC (up to 32GB)
Display type Transflective TFT with either high visibility (165 nits) or extreme duty option (160 nits)
Display size/res 3.7"/480 x 640 pixel
Digitizer/pens touch/1
Keyboard/keys 66-key QWERTY numeric, 59-key alpha numeric + function keys, 55-key alpha numeric, 36-key numeric + function keys, or 36-key numeric alpha modified, or 34-key numeric + 12 function keys LED-backlit keypads
Navigation directional control, touch, stylus
Housing plastic/metal
Operating Temp -4° to 122°F (-20° to +50°C)
Sealing IP65
Shock 26 5-foot drops to concrete
ESD +/- 8kV contact, +/- 15kV air discharge
Size (WxHxD) 3.94 x 8.74 x 1.22 to 1.73 inches
Weight Base unit: 1.30 lbs. base unit with battery
Power 5,000mAH SMART Li-Ion ("20 hours")
Interface Multiple internal multi-function expansion interfaces with RS232 serial, TTL, USB host, GPIO
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR; optional SIRF III GPS receiver; optional 2.5G GSM/GPRS/EDGE WWAN and UMTS 3.8G HSPA+
Scanning Choice of:
Moto SE955 Std Range Laser
Moto SE1224HP 1D Std Range Laser
Moto SE1223LR 1D Long Range Laser
Moto SE1524ER Auto-Range Laser
Honeywell 5080 2D Std Range Imager
Intermec EV15 1D Std Range Imager
Intermec EA11 2D Std Range Imager
Intermec EA20X 1D Hogh Performance
Camera 3-megapixel AF with 4X digital zoom, dual LED flash, video-capable
Sensors Accelerometer, GPS
List price Starting at US$1,899
Contact Psion RT15 web page
Contact Psion RT15 spec sheet (PDF)
Windows CE/Mobile Info
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