Why the display of a mobile device is so important (Field Technologies Magazine, September 2013)

Every computer a mobile computer (GPS World Magazine, July 2013)

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Trimble Recon X-Series

A very rugged series of legacy handheld computers remains a reliable tool for tough outdoor jobs
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

The Trimble ReconŽ X-Series handheld computer is designed to be an economical productivity solution that helps mobile workers get more done in the field.

TDS, now part of Trimble, initially developed the Recon series as a lower cost alternative for applications that do not require a keyboard. Based on then state-of-the-art hardware and software (200 and 400 MHz XScale processors, reflective color display, Windows Mobile), the Recon uses an innovative modular design with a PowerBoot module that integrates the battery and ports into one easily replaceable component. A sealed cap covers two CF Card slot that can be used for a variety of GPS, Bluetooth, or radio options.

Like the larger Ranger, the Recon packs leading edge technology into a very rugged, very tough design that can survive just about anything. And like the Ranger, the Recon has a powerful battery that easily lasts through an entire shift and more. The difference between the 200 and 400 models is in processor speed and amount of non-volatile NAND storage.

In 2006, TDS announced the next generation of the Recon. The new X-Series gave users the option of integrated Bluetooth and 802.11g wireless capabilities, and it came with Windows Mobile 5.0. There were still two models, both with more Flash memory than before. The 200X used the 200 MHz Intel XScale processor and 128 MB of Flash memory; the 400X featured a 400 MHz processor and 256 MB of Flash memory. Other new features included a built-in microphone, a redesigned keypad and an improved color touchscreen.

In the fall of 2008, TDS announced a slightly more powerful battery (4,000 vs. 3,800 mAH) and the switch to a fully sunlight viewable LCD display. Earlier, the company had also switched from Windows Mobile 5.0 to Windows Mobile 6.0.

Thanks to its exemplary initial design and extreme ruggedness, the Recon handheld computer remains available in almost unchanged form. In a world with hundreds of millions of iPhones and Android devices, the Recon has become sort of a legacy device, but a legacy device still suitable for deployment in numerous applications that require a no-nonsense, tough handheld with an all-day battery that fits right into existing hardware and software structures.

Specifications Trimble Recon
Added/changed Updated 09/2008, updated 8/2012
Form-factor Rugged handheld computer
CPU Speed Marvell PXA255/400 MHz
OS Windows Mobile 6.0
RAM/ROM 64MB RAM/256MB non-volatile Flash
Card slots 1 Type I and 1 Type II CompactFlash slots
Display type Sunlight-readable TFT with LED front light
Display size/res 3.5-inch/240 x 320 pixel QVGA
Digitizer/pens touch/1
Keyboard/keys 7-key mini-keypad
Navigation nav pad/stylus
Housing Polycarbonate/rubber (yellow/black, grey/back or OD green/black)
Operating Temp -22 to 140°F (-30 to +60°C)
Sealing 8 hours of operation with blowing talcum powder MIL-STD-810F, Method 510.3, Procedures I, II IEC-529, IP67
Drop 26 4-foot drops to plywood over concrete (per MIL-STD-810F)
Vibration General Minimum Integrity and Loose Cargo test MIL-STD 810F, Method 514.5, Procedure I, II
Humidity 90%RH temp cycle 32°F/158°F (0°C/+70°C) MIL-STD-810F, Method 507.4
Altitude 15,000 ft at 73°F (5°C) and 40,000 ft at -22°F (-30°C) MIL-STD-810F, Method 500.4, Procedures I, II, III
Size (WxHxD) 3.75 x 6.5 x 1.75 inches (9.5 x 16.5 x 4.5 cm)
Weight 17 ounces (490 grams)
Power 4,000 mAH NiMH ("over 15 hrs")
Interface USB, standard 9-pin RS232 serial, power
Wireless Optional integrated Bluetooth and 802.11g WiFi
List price US$1,200 to 1,699
Web page Trimble Recon
Brochure Recon brochure (PDF)
Windows Mobile Info
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  • Windows for Pocket PC 2002
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  • Windows CE H/PC Pro 1998
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