When the company was founded in 2003, Cedar Rapids, Iowa based MobileDemand set out to sell rugged tablet computers with special software to the beer wholesale sector. Today, numerous wholesalers are using MobileDemand systems and services, and even the nation's largest beer company, Anheuser-Busch, has certified MobileDemand's rugged Tablet PC for route sales functions for all their wholesalers. MobileDemand, however, quickly saw that their rugged tablets were suitable for other markets as well, and they have since engaged in a campaign to demonstrate just how much punishment their computers can take.
Starting in 2007, the company began producing the humorous "MobileDemand Video Series," YouTube-style shorts that show MobileDemand tablet pcs being subjected to all sorts of abuse. In this page you can see screenshots from a preview of "Tablet PC Torture Chamber - Serenity then Insanity!"
The video begins showing a MobileDemand "Torture Chamber." This resonates with me as I've often called rugged manufacturers' testing labs "torture chambers." What you see in the video is a rather accurate account of some of the tests conducted.
The machine shown below can spin, rattle and accelerate a computer in numerous ways.
Running video during a recorded test clearly shows that the Tablet PC still works. MobileDemand knows that and almost always has some sort of video running during torture tests.
This is insane! Here you see their VP of Engineering using a MobileDemand xTablet T8700 to hammer nails into a board!
The "drop spec" is an important part of a rugged computer's bragging rights. Testing methods are described in detail in MIL-STD-810F. So here is a tablet, ready to be dropped.
The blue thing you can see attached to the xTablet computer is an accelerometer. It's used to graphically show recorded G-forces.
Big surprise: using your computer to hammer in nails generates quite a G-force. However, may we suggest a simple hammer to do such things?
So now the tablet is ready to be dropped. The MIL-SPEC demands no fewer than 26 drops from three feet, and the MobileDemand video shows every one, live.
Oyyy... the tablet is about to hit the floor. Surely it must be toast...
Nope. They do it again and again, from all angles. Those 26 drops are real.
MobileDemand likes to run video on their machines while they are being tortured. And often they pick one that humorously fits the test performed. This here is the "Speed Racer" car falling off a cliff.
Well dang! The "Speed Racer" is actually playing while the tablet is strapped to a paint shaker that generates up to 17Gs.
Back to dropping things. This time they take a can of corn and drop it smack onto the computer's display. That's a heavy-duty impact. Will it break?
Well, the can hits full force and even at an angle, but thanks to special screen protection technology that's being readied for production units, no damage at all.
Back to drops. I think those guys are enjoying dropping the Tablet PC again and again.
Ok... on to water tests. The MobileDemand xTablet has an official IP54 rating, which means it should be protected against water spray from all sides. The video sure gets that point across. And Gene Kelly does "Singing in the Rain" while the MobileDemand torture crew sprays the tablet.
Yes, we get it. Lots of water. We've done the same with this tablet in our own RuggedPCReview.com lab.
Gene seems happy, belting it out.
Water running down a simulated aquarium screen saver with fish swimming around.
And a close-up of water hitting the keypad and connection ports. No problemo.
More water. I think it's safe to say this rugged tablet is waterproof.
Now this is interesting. They are running water right into the computer's fan and it just keeps running. Very clever engineering for sure.
Having been duly tortured, those evil engineers dry the Tablet PC, strap the accelerator back on, and go back to nailing. You can see the G-forces right on the screen.
To view the video on Blip.tv, click Tablet PC Torture Chamber video.