2nd Generation Psion Teklogix WorkAbout Pro|
Compact, rugged, state-of-the-art flashlight-style handheld
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
The WorkAbout Pro has long been a workhorse for Psion Teklogix. In 2007, the company introduced a 2nd Generation version of the WorkAbout Pro, without immediately retiring the predecessor product, now called the "1st Generation" WorkAbout Pro. The RoHS-compatible new model retains the many strong sides of the initial WorkAbout Pro: It is a modern flashlight-style handheld computer that combines up-to-date technology with a balance of handy size, low weight, flexibility, and ruggedness that is highly configurable and expandable with endcaps and interface modules. However, this 2nd generation product represents far more than just the usual bringing up-to-date of technology components; this is a major re-design that elevates the WorkAbout Pro into a different class of rugged devices.
There are, of course, the usual tech upgrades. The 400MHZ PXA255 has been replaced with a speedier and more efficient 520MHz PXA270. Standard RAM and Flash are up to 128MB. The device runs either Microsoft Windows CE 5.0 or Windows Mobile 6 Classic or Professional. Like with the 1st gen product, Psion Teklogix offers numerous configurations and expansion modules/options either via a 100-pin expansion interface or modules. Bluetooth is integrated; 802.11b/g can be added via CF card, and GSM/GPRS/EDGE voice/data capabilities are available via expansion interface. For barcode reader applications, there are optional 1D and 2D imager as well as standard and high performance laser scanners. There are also various RFID modules available. The battery offerings, already a strong point of the original model, have been beefed up. You can now get a 15 watt-hour super high capacity pack.
On the display side, Psion Teklogix made the switch from low-res 240x320 mono and color screens to a larger 480 x 640 full-VGA display with a strong adjustable backlight. It is outdoor-readable and razor-sharp. This is a much welcome improvement for today's more complex applications.
Perhaps most importantly, Psion Teklogix made the 2nd generation WorkAbout Pro a tougher, more rugged device. The 1st gen machine could (and can) take a beating, but the new one is tougher. It can now survive 5-foot drops, and those happen. It also carries an IP65 ingress protection rating instead of the 2st gen's IP54. So it is totally protected against dust and low pressure water jets from all sides. That can make all the difference. And Psion Teklogix managed to do all that while not only retaining the 1st gen model's very compact size -- the 2nd gen product is even lighter, not even a pound. Quite an accomplishment.
The 2nd Generation WirkAbout Pro comes in two varieties, a C and a S model. The primary difference is that one has an alphanumeric keyboard whereas the other has a numeric keypad and is a bit shorter.