Flexible, versatile, highly configurable vehicle mount computer with multiple OS options
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
On October 12, 2017, almost exactly six years after the launch of the original Rhino, Datalogic launched the Rhino II, a rugged Vehicle Mount Computer designed for use in warehouse, factories and distribution environments.
What's changed, and what hasn't
Compared to the earlier Datalogic Rhino much has changed in the new model, and quite a bit hasn't. That's because form follows function. The new Rhino II is still a pure tablet designed to increase productivity via automated data collection capabilities during receiving, put-away, picking and shipping activities. But it's now more modern and more flexible to adapt to various customer needs and requirements.
For example, whereas the old Rhino ran Windows Embedded 6.0 (really Windows CE), the new Rhino II can run Embedded Compact 7 (a newer version of Windows CE), but also Windows Embedded Standard 7, or even the totally up-to-date 64-bit version of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise. And Datalogic even offers a field upgrade to Android 6.0 for the WEC7 model.
Embedded Compact versions run on an ARM chip made by Freescale; the full embedded Windows versions have a 1.46GHz dual-core Intel Atom E3826 processor. Due to the different chips and different operating systems, the versions also have different amounts of RAM and different size and type of mass storage.
Comes in 10.4 and 12.1 inch versions
Customers also have display size preferences, hence Datalogic offers the Rhino II in both a 10.4-inch and a 12.1-inch version. The have the same 1024 x 768 pixel XGA resolution, up from the original model's 800 x 600. Another thing that has changed is that the "standard" Rhino II models switched from resistive to the more contemporary capacitive touch.
There is an exception, though: the special "Freezer" model still uses resistive touch. That model has a special integrated display heater that allows use in temperatures as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit. That means you can use a "Freezer" Rhino II in Alaska's northernmost city of Barrow where the average low in February is about -20F.
The 10-in version of the Rhino II measures 10.7 x 9.2 x 2.0 inches and weighs about 7.5 pounds (the Freezer version a bit more). The fanless housing made of coated aluminum and offers numerous mounting options, including vehicle mounts and ABCD or QWERTY external keyboards. The Rhino II can use either standard 12VDC or 24/48VDC internal isolated power, and there's an optional internal 27 watt-hour backup battery for data loss prevention in case of power outages.
The Rhino II has good onboard connectivity with two RS232 serial ports using standard DB9 connetors, two USB host ports (USB configuration depends on chip and OS version), and gigabit Ethernet. The panel can be ordered with Bluetooth v4.0 as well as dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi (which uses an internal mini-PCIe slot). Tethered and cordless barcode scanners are available.
Tough and rugged
Devices such as the Rhino II are tailored for deployment in warehouse management, which requires a good degree of ruggedess. Datalogic therefore sealed the Rhino II to IP67 standards (i.e., it's completely dustproof and can also handle full immersion down to about a meter for up to half an hour). The operating temperature range of the standard versions of the Rhino II is -4 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit. Datalogic also claims shock/vibration resistance according to the appropriate standards testing procedures.
Like many Datalogic products, the Rhino II comes with pre-installed and pre-licensed Wavelink Avalanche mobile device management and Terminal Emulation.
What the Rhino II's for
In the product announcement materials, Datalogic's Vice President Mobile Computers, Tom Burke, said that "the Rhino II Vehicle Mount Computer completes the full line of rugged mobile computers offered by Datalogic allowing our customers to single source for all their warehouse and distribution mobile computer needs."
That's not an overstatement. In a world where mobile computer and software are in a constant state of change and flux, Datalogic has been remarkably consistent in offering their customers stability, longevity, and peace of mind with products that are flexible enough to adopt and get the job done over extended periods of time and deployment.