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Motorola Solutions Omnii XT15f

The Psion XT15 modular rugged handheld computer now comes in two new "freezer and condensation-rated" versions for use in and around freezers
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

On May 14, 2013, Motorola Solutions introduced the Psion Omni XT15f. It's not an entirely new product as the original Omnii XT15 was introduced by Psion in early 2012, but this is a special, optimized version of the product for those who work in and around freezers. The special challenge of such environments is that the extreme cold can slow down displays and drain batteries, and the back and forth between freezer and the much warmer and more humid outdoors leads to destructive condensation. So the Omni XT15f is a special "freezer and condensation-rated" device designed to address all those conditions.

But before I go into the freezer aspects, a few words about the XT15 platform itself: it is a result of Psion's quest to modularize mobile computers so they could offer customers the exact right handheld computer for a given job. Initially, the Modulus approach (see here) provided add-ons for extra functionality to existing products and guard them against obsolescence. Later, Psion made entire platforms modular. The XT15 was introduced in January 2012, allowing customers to opt for either a high-visibility or an extreme duty display; speaker, camera and pistol grip module options; and various interface configuration where customers could select from multiple internal multi-function expansion interfaces with RS232 and TTL serial, USB host, and GPIO ports. Customers could also choose from no fewer than six different keypad modules as well as various laser and imager engines from Motorola Solutions, Intermec and Honeywell.

In the new Omnii XT15f version, this modular approach allowed Motorola Solutions to built a handheld that's specifically optimized for work in and around freezers. This meant some extra functionality and technology, and limiting the number of options to those that make sense in such environments. Specifically, the XT15f offers:

  • "Frost-free" scanning via automatic defogging of the scanning window
  • Special freeze-resistant keyboards that overcome ice build-up via special keyboard layout and special key spacing
  • An optically bonded display with integrated heater that eliminates internal display fogging by eliminating air spaces
  • A more powerful battery specially designed for low-temperature duty that provides twice the performance compared to a standard battery
  • A choice of "Chiller" (condensation-resistant) and "Arctic" (condensation-free) models.
How does it all work? In a conversation with Motorola representatives, Product Marketing Manager Amanda Honig explained that the freezer versions employ special sensors and heater logic to automatically engage the anti freezing and anti condensation measures. It is also possible to adjust the settings manually.

Physically, we're looking at a device with a footprint of about 9 x 3.85 inches and weighing about 1.8 pounds with pistol grip and integrated scanner. The 3.7-inch display offers full 480 x 640 VGA resolution and resistive touch. The XT15f runs either Windows CE 6.0 or Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 on a 800MHz TI AM3715 Sitara processor. There is 512MB of onboard RAM and a full gigabyte of onboard Flash. Onboard WiFi is dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n, there's Bluetooth, but the freezer version does not offer mobile broadband.

The XT15f is an impressively rugged device. The "Chiller" version can handle extreme operating temperatures between -4 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit, and the "Arctic" version extends that to -22 and 122 degrees. The device passed the MIL-STD-810G test of 26 drops from 6.5 feet onto concrete, and also passed shock and vibration tests, as well as ESD tests. It is sealed to IP67 specifications (it's officially certified for both IP65 and IP67). This means it's not only totally sealed against dust, and but it is now also totally waterproof, even against immersion.

The extra technologies and treatments required to adapt the Omnii XT15 to freezer environments affect the cost: the "Chiller" versions will add about US$700 over the cost of a standard XT15, the "Arctic" version abut US$1,100.

The videos below demonstrate the ruggedness of the original XT15 platform:

Survival Challenge (including scanning underwater):

Hockey (yes, you can play hockey using a XT15 as a puck):

Specifications Psion XT15f
Added/changed Added 05/2013
Form-factor Rugged freezer-rpoof handheld computer
CPU Speed TI AM3715 Sitara/800 MHz
OS Microsoft Windows CE 6.0 or Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5
Card slots 1 micro-SD (up to 32GB)
Display type Extreme duty transflective TFT; "Arctic" option: optical bonding prevents internal display fogging in condensing environments; display heater maintains screen refresh rate
Display size/res 3.7"/480 x 640 pixel VGA
Digitizer/pens touch/1
Keyboard/keys Freeze-resistant 58-key full alphanumeric with 6 single-push "F" keys OR 34-key numeric with 12 single-push "F" keys
Navigation directional control, touch, stylus
Housing Plastic/metal
Operating Temp -4° to 122°F (-20° to 50°C); "Arctic" version: -22° to 122°F (-30° to 50°C)
Sealing IP65 and IP67
Humidity 5-95% non-condensing; "Arctic" version: condensation-free using internal heater
Shock 26 6.5-foot drops
ESD +/- 8kV contact, +/- 15kV air discharge
Size (WxHxD) 3.86 x 8.9 x 1.22 to 1.73 inches
Weight 1.8 lbs. (834 g) with SE965HP laser, battery and pistol grip.
Power 5,000mAH SMART Li-Ion, optional 5,300mAH high-capacity freezer battery; "Arctic version: 5,300mAH high-capacity freezer battery
Regulatory Worldwide Safety, EMC, RF, Laser approvals; CE Mark; E Mark (vehicle cradles); RoHS compliant; WEEE compliant; REACH compliant
Sensors Motion and digital compass
Interface Multiple internal multi-function expansion interfaces with RS232 serial, TTL, USB host, GPIO
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR
Scanning Choice of:
Moto SE965 Std Range Laser
Moto SE1524ER Auto-Range Laser
SE4600 Long Range Imager
List price Inquire
Contact Psion XT15 web page
Brochure Psion XT15f
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