DAP Technologies M1000 Series|
Hardly larger than a phone, M1000 geared towards inventory control, picking, packing
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
On June 14, 2011, DAP Technologies introduced the M1000 handheld computer. Hardly larger than a standard mobile phone, the M1000 has voice capability and a barcode scanner or imager, making available the functionality required for inventory control, picking and packing in one of the smallest rugged form factors on the market.
Measuring 2.4 x 5.7 inches, the M1000 is about as wide as an iPhone and only a bit over an inch longer. It's thicker (about an inch) because it's rugged and includes a laser scanner or imager, but it still only weighs 8.2 ounces, and easily fits into the palm of your hand and into any pocket. Yet, unlike any standard smartphone, this little DAP Technologies device can handle four foot drops to concrete, water jets from any directions, extreme operating temperatures as low as minus four degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is totally sealed against dust.
A look at the rather impressive spec sheet shows that the DAP M1000 can run either Windows CE 6.0 Professional or Windows Mobile 6.5 on a 624MHz Marvell PXA310 processor; comes with 128MB of RAM (upgraded to 256MB early 2012) and 256MB of Flash; WiFi and Bluetooth; offers USB host and client connectivity via dock; and has a 2.8-inch touchscreen with 240 x 320 pixel QVGA resolution and LED backlight. The unit includes a micro-SD Card slot for cards up to 32GB capacity, supports a 1D laser scanner or a 1D/2D imager, and can be ordered with an optional SIM card slot for 3G GSM/GPRS voice and data communication.
The backlit keypad has a full numeric layout for rapid data entry, as well as a navigation diamond whose four arrows double as programmable keys. There are also three scanner triggers.
The standard battery is a 3.7 Volt/1,840 mAH Li-Ion pack. A larger capacity battery (3.7 Volt/2,760 mAH) is also available.
How does the DAP M1000 compare to the company's M2000 series introduced last Fall? The M1000 is a smaller, lighter unit with a smaller (2.8 vs 3.5 inches, both QVGA) transmissive display primarily geared for indoor use. The M1000 has no IrDA, but WiFi is standard. Its processor is actually faster and more advanced, though, and its OS is a newer version as well (note here that Windows CE is best when using custom apps, and Windows Mobile best for general purpose use). The units are almost on par in ruggedness, though the M1000 has a 4-foot drop spec vs. the M2000's 5-foot. There is no GPS available for the M1000.
Where does the DAP M1000 fit in? DAP clearly designed it for inventory control applications where users scan, enter data, perhaps use wireless for client/server apps, and occasionally use the device as a phone. In its introductory press release, DAP mentions the Jennifer Voice-Plus voice-directed picking and warehouse logistics solution from Lucas Systems, Inc. (see here).
Like most DAP products, the M100 is a utilitarian tool that gets jobs done. There is no camera and there are no next-gen sensors to do fancy things—the M1000 is for work, not for play. As such it will appeal to DAP customers who want something smaller, lighter and simpler. Depending on price, it may also give DAP an attractive offering to go up against pricier, higher-end products in the same class.