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Rugged tablets in ground penetrating radar (GPR) (August 2012)

Rugged tablets in precision farming (April 2012)

Rugged tablets for Taiwan's utility workers (March 2012)

Rugged tablets in the food manufacturing industry (February 2012)

Rugged tablets used by motorcycle riders in Taiwan (January 2012)

Rugged convertible notebooks in railroad safety (November 2011)

Rugged tablets in aerial mapping (Applanix)

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Rugged Tablet PC 358

No-nonsense Intel Bay Trail-powered 7-inch Windows tablet
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Samwell will show and demonstrate their new Rugged Tablet PC 358 at the 2014 Computex show in Taipei (June 3 through 7, 2014) at their booth No. M1031a at 4F, TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall. Below is a first look at the new tablet.

Based on the specs we've seen, this ruggedized tablet is likely to be of interest in numerous deployments such as field service, health care, hospitality, logistics, transportation, utilities, etc., and here's why:

When the Apple iPad was introduced in 2010, many thought it would either fail or appeal to a niche market at best. Four years later, hundreds of millions of iPads and Android 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 are, however, three problems. The first is consumer devices' lack of durability and toughness. The second is that Android and iOS devices are primarily geared towards consumer market entertainment, and not for work in the field. And the third is that the hardware requirements in consumer markets (flashy, media-oriented) are very different from those in industrial and vertical markets (reliability, adherence to standards).

That's where new products such as Samwell's new rugged tablet PC 358 come in. It's a simple, industry standards-based solution for jobs in the field where the tablet form factor is now welcome and desired, but all that's needed is Windows functionality in a compact device 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 address those demands with the new 358? By offering a basic, yet state-of-the-art tablet in the popular 7-inch wide-format class, one that's compact enough to come along on jobs, sturdy enough to be totally twistproof, and able to accommodate industry standard ports, scanners and peripherals.

Samwell is realistic enough to know that the fashionable capacitive multi-touch used on almost all smartphones and tablets is not a good match for Windows on a 7-inch screen. So the 358 has a resistive digitizer that can be used with finger touch for custom applications, but also with a passive stylus for the precise operations required with small Windows check boxes, scrollers and the like.

The new Ruggedbook 358 is powered by a choice of two intel Atom processors, but these are not your father's poky Atom chips. Instead, the available Atom E3826 and E3845 are part of Intel's "Bay Trail" lineup of vastly improved CPUs that are powerful enough to not only be sold under the Atom brand, but also the Celeron and Pentium brands. "Bay Trail" is based on the "Silvermont" processor architecture, which is really the first true architectural update to Atom since its introduction in 2008. Bay Trail processors use up to four Silvermont cores, and for the first time in an ultra mobile Intel SoC pairs them with Intel's own graphics IP. In fact, Bay Trail leverages the same GPU architecture as in the Ivy Bridge Core processors.

Below are the two processors avalable for the Ruggedbook 358:

Model E3826 E3845
Cores/Threads 2/2 4/4
Clock Speed 1.46 GHz 1.91 GHz
Thermal Design Power (TDP) 7 watts 10 watts
Cache 1MB 2MB
Integrated graphics HD Graphics HD Graphics
Graphics base speed 533 MHz 542 MHz
Graphics max speed 667 MHz 792 MHz
Memory type DDR3L-1067 MHz DDR3L-1333 MHz
Intel vPro No No
Intel 64 Yes Yes

In terms of connectivity, the 358 comes with both a USB 3.0 and a 2.0 port, a RS232 DB9 serial port, a VGA connector, docking, and, of course, audio in and out jacks. The optional dock provides three USB ports, serial, RJ45 LAN, and power. For documentation and communication, the 358 has two cameras, a rear-facing 5-megapixel autofocus unit with LED illuminator for documentation, and a front-facing 2-megapixel webcam.

For wireless communication, the 358 includes Bluetooth 4.0 and speedy dual-band 802.11ac WiFi. Optionally available are GPS, as well as 3G and 4G LTE WWAN modules. Also optionally available are 1D or 1D/2D scanners and RFID for data capture. The specs do not include information on integrated sensors. These are increasingly used for innovative uses in system software and apps, and we'll add the info to the specs as soon as we have it.

This being a Ruggedbook, the 358 is substantially tougher than any consumer media tablet. Samwell lists a 4-foot drop spec, IP54 sealing (protection against dust, protection against water spray from all directions, albeit both with limited ingress permitted), 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.

The Li-Ion battery provides 43 watt-hours, good enough, according to Samwell, for eight-hour operation.

We have not yet had hands-on with this interesting new tablet, but if it all checks out and pricing is competitive, Samwell could have a very attractive basic offering for anyone who wants a modern tablet with good processor and graphics performance, and 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.
Specifications Ruggedbook 358
Added 05/2014
Type Rugged Windows Tablet PC
Processor Dual-core Intel Atom E3826 or
Quad-core Intel Atom E3845
CPU Speed E3826: 1.46GHz
E3845: 1.91GHz
CPU Thermal Design Power E3826: 7 watts
E3845: 10 watts
Standard/Max RAM up to 8GB DDR3L SO-DIMM
OS Windows 7 or Windows 8.1
Graphics Integrated Intel HD Graphics
Disk/drive up to 128GB SATA II (3GB/s) mSATA SSD
Expansion slots 1 x full-size Mini-PCIe, 2 x full/half-size Mini-PCIe (PCI + USB)
Card slots 1 x SD Card, 1 x SIM card
Display type TFT with LED backlight
Display size/res 7-inch/WSVGA (1024 x 600 pixel)
Digitizer/pens Resistive
Keyboard/scale Optional external
Housing PC/ABS +TPU over molding
Operating Temp -4° to 140°F (-20° to 60°C)
Sealing IP54
Drop MIL-STD-810G, 514.6, 26 times 4 feet height free drop onto wood
Shock Est: MIL-STD-810G, Method 516.6, Procedure I , 40g, 11ms operation
Humidity Est: MIL-STD-810G, Method 507.5, Procedure II (10-95%)
Thermal shock Est: MIL-STD-810G, Method 503.5, Procedure I
Vibration Est: MIL-STD-810G, Method 514.6, Procedures I & II
Altitude Est: MIL-STD-810G, Method 500.5, Procedures I & II
Size (WxHxD) 9.7" x 6.15" x 1.6" (247mm x 156mm x 40mm)
Weight Unknown
Power 7.4V 5,800mAH 42.9 watt-hour Li-Ion ("8 hours")
Interface 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x DB9 RS232, 1 x VGA, docking, audio in/out; dock: 3 x USB, 1 x RS232, 1 x RJ45 LAN
Camera Rear: 5-megapixel AF with LED flash, front: 2-megapixel webcam
Sensors Unknown
Wireless 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0; optional GPS, RFID, 1D laser, 1D/2D imager, 3G or 4G LTE WWAN
List price inquire
Contact or
Brochure Ruggedbook 358 brochure (PDF)
Ruggedbook 358 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