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Rugged Tablet PC 310

Samwell presents a ruggedized ARM-powered, Android-based capacitive multi-touch 7-inch tablet for when a consumer device just wont do
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Samwell will show and demonstrate their new Rugged Tablet PC 310 at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (January 8 through 11, 2013) at their booth No. 35505 in South Hall 4. Below is a first look at the new tablet.

Based on the specs, this ruggedized tablet will likely attract quite a bit of attention, and here's why:

When the Apple iPad was first introduced in 2010, many thought it would either fail or appeal to a niche market at best. Three years later, over a hundred million iPads have been sold, tablets have annihilated netbooks, and tablets are making a serious dent into the notebook market. Combine that with the incredible success of smartphones (over a billion in use now), and it's clear that small, touch-based phones and tablets have become the computing platform of choice. There is, however, one problem, and that is consumer devices' lack of durability and toughness.

That's where new products such as Samwell's latest rugged tablet come in. It's a solution for a new generation of mobile professionals who are familiar with touch-based gadgets and use them all the time, but need something that can handle the drops, spills and occasional rough treatment on the job. Something that won't break if it gets rained on and has a screen that remains readable outdoors and even in the sun. Something that can handle both hot and cold, and something that can be configured for whatever job is at hand, be that interfacing with legacy peripherals via an old-style serial connection, scan with laser accuracy, or read whatever codes are out there with an industrial-strength imager.

So how does Samwell intend to accomplish all that with the new 310? By offering an Android 4-based tablet in the popular 7-inch wide-format class, one that's small enough to fit almost anywhere (8.0 x 5.25 inches) and just thick enough to be a) totally twistproof, but b) able to accommodate industry standard ports and scanners. Weight is around a pound and a half and thus quite manageable.

In the past, depending on operating system and intended use, tablets have employed various active and passive digitizer and touch technologies. Today, its elegant and effortless tapping, panning and zooming have made capacitive multi-touch the touch technology of choice for almost all consumer tablets and phones, and Samwell offers capacitive touch on the new 310. However, since rain and capacitive touch don;t get along, the company optionally offers resistive touch as well.

Under the hood of this new Ruggedbook sits a 1.5GHz dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 with an integrated PowerVR SGX540 graphics core (see OMAP 4 Platform brief). That's the same processing hardware found in such highly acclaimed devices as the Kindle Fire HD and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Centered around an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, the OMAP 4460 has an extremely low thermal design power of just 0.6 watts. For storage there are 1GB of SDRAM and 16GB of eMMC internal embedded memory. The externally accessible and user-changeable 21 watt-hour battery seems on the small side (though Samwell does list 8 hours of video playback), but its placement suggests that an extended version might be possible.

In terms of connectivity, the 310 comes with both a USB 2.0 port, a mini-HDMI connector, docking contacts, and, of course, an audio jack. A dedicated extension bay can be configured with your choice of a standard D-sub RS232 port, a second USB 2.0 port, or either a 1D or 1D/2D barcode scanner. For documentation and communication, the device has two cameras, a rear-facing 5-megapixel autofocus unit with dual LED illuminators for documentation, and a front-facing 2-megapixel webcam.

For wireless communication, the 310 includes Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, GPS, as well as 3G/4G WWAN modules. There's a full complement of sensors as well: electronic compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, and light sensor are all included and available for innovative uses in system software and apps.

This being a RUGGEDBOOK, the 310 is substantially tougher than any consumer media tablet. Samwell lists a 4-foot drop spec, IP65 sealing (total protection against dust, protection against low pressure water jets from all sides), a very wide operating temperature range of -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to +60 Celsius), and a variety of other MIL-STD-810G testing.

We have not yet had hands-on with this interesting new tablet offering, but if it all checks out and pricing is competitive, Samwell could have a very attractive offering for anyone who wants a modern tablet, but one that won't break on the job.

Taiwan-based Samwell Group is a global technology solutions provider concentrating on the convergence of Internet, computing, and telecom technologies and software applications. "RUGGEDBOOK" is Samwell's brand name for their complete line of semi-rugged and fully rugged mobile computing products that include rugged convertible notebooks, ultra-mobile PCs, and tablets such as the upcoming RUGGEDBOOK Rugged Tablet PC 310 shown here.
Specifications Ruggedbook 310
Added 12/2012
Type Rugged Tablet PC
Processor Dual core TI OMAP4460 ARM Cortex-A9
CPU Speed 1.5GHz
CPU Thermal Design Power 0.6 watts
Standard/Max RAM 1GB SDRAM
OS Android 4.0.4
Graphics Integrated PowerVR SGX 540 graphics core
Disk/drive 16GB eMMC
Expansion Bay yes
Card slots 1 microSD Card, 1 SIM
Display type TFT with 400 nits LED backlight and AR coating
Display size/res 7-inch/WXGA (1024 x 600 pixel)
Digitizer/pens Choice of capacitive or resistive
Keyboard/scale Optional external
Housing PC/ABS +TPU over molding
Operating Temp -4° to 140°F (-20° to 60°C)
Sealing IP65
Drop MIL-STD-810G, 514.6, 26 times 4 feet height free drop onto wood
Shock MIL-STD-810G, Method 516.6, Procedure I , 40g, 11ms operation
Humidity MIL-STD-810G, Method 507.5, Procedure II
Thermal shock MIL-STD-810G, Method 503.5, Procedure I
Vibration MIL-STD-810G, Method 514.6, Procedures I & II
Altitude MIL-STD-810G, Method 500.5, Procedures I & II
Size (WxHxD) 8.0" x 5.25" x 1.1" (203mm x 133mm x 28mm)
Weight Starting at 1.5 lbs (~700 grams)
Power 3.7V 5,640mAH 20.9 watt-hour Li-Ion ("8 hours for video playback")
Interface 1 USB 2.0, 1 mini-HDMI, docking, audio in/out, expansion bay: 1 x RS232 or 1 x USB 2.0 or 1D canner or 1D/2D imager
Camera Rear: 5-megapixel AF with dual LED flash, front: 2-megapixel webcam
Sensors Electronic compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, light sensor, vibrator
Wireless 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth Class 2 v 3.0 with EDR; optional: GPS, RFID, 1D laser, 2D imager, WWAN
List price inquire
Contact or
Brochure Ruggedbook 310 brochure (PDF)
Ruggedbook 310 diagram

RUGGEDBOOK Headquarters
Samwell Building
317-1, Sec. 2,
AnKang Rd., Xindian Dist.
New Taipei City 23153, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Telephone: 886-2-2214-1133
Fax: 886-2-2215-5458