Industry sponsors:
View my Flipboard Magazine.

Select Category
Rugged PC Blog | Tech Primers | Case Studies | Peripherals | Full reviews | Windows Mobile | Testing | Test Videos | Map | Q&A | Advertising
RuggedPCReview Industry Sponsors:
Advantech | Arbor Technologies | Cedar | Dell Rugged | Durabook | Handheld Group | Havis | Getac | Janam
Juniper Systems | MobileDemand | Ruggedbook | RuggON | Trimble | Winmate | Xplore Technologies | Zebra
Rugged PC Review Monthly News Archive [ Back to news index]

January 2010

RAM announces MDT-Mate vehicle mounting solution
For a lot of vehicle-based mobile professionals, being able to have quick and convenient access to their notbook or tablet computer is essential. Unfortunately, most mounting systems are rigid and inflexible, making it difficult to comfortably use the system, or for both the driver and a passenger to use it. RAM's new MDT-Mount looks like the perfect solution for these problems. [See description of the RAM MDT-Mount vehicle mount system] -- Posted Friday, January 29, 2010

Download: Getac Night Vision Technology
NVG (Night Vision Goggles) and NVIS (Night Vision Imaging Systems) are important terms for anyone doing business with aviation and military customers. Getac has compiled an informative white paper on night vision technology and how it applies to their systems. [Read Getac Night Vision Technology] -- Posted Friday, January 29, 2010

Added: TAG TC-100 Commander rugged UMPC
The TC-100 Commander by Technology Advancement Group (TAG) is a rugged ultra-mobile PC. Based on the 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 chip and equipped with a 7-inch daylight-viewable touchscreen, the TC-100 runs either Windows or Linux, does not need a fan, can handle extreme temperatures, is waterproof, offers excellent expansion and can be built to order in numerous configurations. [See description and specs of the TAG TC-100 rugged UMPC] -- Posted Friday, January 29, 2010

Talking with Paul Moore, Fujitsu's Senior Director of Product Development
Fujitsu has been into tablets longer than most and probably has the most experience of any Tablet PC and convertible vendors. Fujitsu had the PoquetPAD and 325Point tablets a decade before IBM reinvented the Tablet PC in 2002, and the company is now in something like the 40th generation of tablet technology. A few days ago RuggedPCReview.com had a chance to talk with Paul Moore, Fujitsu's Senior Director of Product Development. [Read discussion with Fujitsu's Paul Moore] -- Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010

Advantech offers projected capacitive touch in industrial panel PC
Among all the hoopla over the iPad and sleek touch device concepts everywhere, let's not forget that projected capacitive touch technology is available, and applicable, in some rugged devices as well. Zytronic, a British company specializing in electronic display enhancements, announced that Advantech again chose its projected capacitive technology touch sensor for its rugged PPC-175T 17-inch fixed-mount panel computer. [See Zytronic release and Advantech PPC-175T] -- Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010

A game changer: Apple announces the iPad
After months of intense hype and speculation, Apple announced the iPad, a 7.5 x 9.6 inch tablet that's just half an inch thick and weighs just a pound and a half. The iPad has a 9.7-inch 768 x 1024 pixel multi-touch display, runs all iPhone apps and starts at US$499. There are also 3G versions that start at US$629. Apple announced a US$14.99/month limited and a US$29.99/month unlimited plan, without 2-year contract, and the iPad is unlocked. Apple also announced an iBook Store and special iPad versions of the iWorks apps. [Read full description of the new Apple iPad]
-- Posted Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good Technology acquires CloudSync
Good Technology announced it has acquired CloudSync, a Denver, Colorado-based mobile device management company. The acquisition furthers Good's mission of enabling device choice in the enterprise by providing enhanced device management for the broadest range of devices, including laptops, tablets, ruggedized handhelds, and leading smartphone platforms through a secure, cloud-based service offering that does not require enterprises to deploy and manage additional hardware or software. -- Posted Wednesday, January 27, 2010

RMT gets patent on unique computer architecture
RMT Inc. has been granted U.S. Patent No. 7,607,005, entitled, "Virtual Hardware System with Universal Ports Using FPGA," which is the technology used in the SwitchBack ultra-rugged mobile computer that is part of the company's Black Diamond Advanced Technology product line. While the SwitchBack looks like just an ordinary rugged UMPC, it actually uses an advanced system architecture where a Xilinx Virtex Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) controls the computer, and the CPU and chipset are peripherals. The FPGA-based approach allows easy upgrading and repeated reconfiguration as well as the ability to perform complex, sophisticated tasks at record speed. -- Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ABI Research: ARM will overtake x86 in ultra-mobile devices
While about 90% of all ultra-mobile devices (i.e. netbooks, MIDs, smartbooks, UMPCs) shipped in 2009 used x86-based processors, ABI Research projects that ARM-based processor platforms will overtake the x86 chips and become the dominant processor platform by 2013. ABI Research says this trend is helped by the general perception that ARM-based devices are "always connected." So ABI is basically predicting a scenario where Atom is moving upscale and ARM takes over the low and perhaps not-so-low end. [See ARM-based Processors Will Overtake x86 in Ultra-mobile Devices in 2013] -- Posted Monday, January 25, 2010

u-blox launches compact 3.5G module
u-blox, a provider of wireless communication and GPS solutions, announced LUCY, a new family of high-speed wireless modules supporting full tri-band HSDPA and quad-band GSM/GPRS data and voice communication in a compact form factor. Featuring HSDPA data-rates of up to 7.2 Mb/s, GPRS/EDGE class 12 data transmission, voice, SMS and Fax capabilities, LUCY modules come in a compact form-factor and have very low power consumption. [See ublox LUCY product page] -- Posted Monday, January 25, 2010

Enbase and Getac partner to offer turnkey, energy field service solution
Enbase Energy Technology, a leading energy-focused automation company, announced today that it has partnered with Getac, an innovator and manufacturer of rugged notebook and handheld computer devices, to provide its Field Service Automation customers with a complete, turnkey technology solution for energy-related field service operations. -- Posted Thursday, January 21, 2010

Xplore launches military tablet computer
Xplore Technologies launched a new version of its iX104C4 rugged Tablet PC, this one geared for military duty. Drawing upon a reliable low voltage Intel Core Duo processor, the company's proprietary enhanced outdoor viewing technology, single or dual mode digitizers, the i104C4M is designed to be a compact tablet computing platform able to meet rigorous military requirements. [See description and specs of the Xplore Technologies iX104C4M rugged military tablet.] -- Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ID and age verification software assists and protects retailers
According to System Solutions, LLC, of Glastonbury, CT, Microsoft Dynamics Age Verification software allows retailers to have more control over selling items such as alcohol and cigarettes. Available with the new Microsoft POS 2009 solution, the ID and Age Verification software includes features to assist and protect store owners and employees such as automatic prompts to cashiers when select items are scanned, instant driver's license verification, and storage of transaction information. -- Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Justice Assistance Grant buys GD-Itronix computers for Butte, Montana Police Department
The Montana Standard reports that economic stimulus money is used to assist law enforcement with new hires and more modern equipment. A Justice Assistance Grant was received to purchase General Dynamics Itronix rugged computers for installation in patrol cars, allowing officers to quickly access databases and efficiently communicate with other agencies. -- Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Getac strengthens global presence
Getac, the world's third largest fully rugged computing solution manufacturer, announced that as part of its global sales expansion plan, it has appointed Uwe Hennig as its Country Director in Germany to lead the rugged computing business development in the DACH region, including Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Hennig will operate from a new Getac sales office to be opened soon in Dusseldorf, Germany in Q2, 2010. -- Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Microsoft and Intel partner on digital signage platform
Microsoft announced a strategic alliance with Intel to deliver a platform optimized for the digital signage industry. Using the Windows 7-based Windows Embedded Standard 2011 OS and Intel Core i7 processors, the platform is optimized to address the retail and digital signage market's need for streamlined, high-performance and highly reliable solutions. Highlights of the platform include panning and zoom, touch, and gesture input; video analytics capabilities (i.e. camera recognizes people and targets ads); remote deployment and management; and greener power technology. [See Microsoft press release] -- Posted Monday, January 18, 2010

Panasonic and Tracewell systems partner for aircraft maintenance solutions
Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, the manufacturer of Panasonic Toughbook computers, and Tracewell Systems, an electronic packaging manufacturer, have formed a strategic alliance to co-market integrated aircraft maintenance solutions consisting of Panasonic Toughbooks and Tracewell E-Tool Mobile Manager systems for the U.S. Military. The solution allows for reliable and efficient management of digital Technical Orders (TOs), offering maintenance crews the ability to view and manage all TOs digitally at the point of use.
-- Posted Monday, January 18, 2010

ACME Portable adds DisplayPort support
Acme Portable Machines has added DisplayPort support to its Comrade and EMP rugged portable computers. DisplayPort is a high-speed digital interface replacement for LVDS, DVI and VGA. DisplayPort has fewer wires, a smaller connector, can drive digital displays directly, supports both RGB and YCbCr encoding, supports external and internal connections, and is generally designed to deliver high resolutions, fast refresh rates, and rich colors, DisplayPort delivers every pixel with no compression for the highest quality and accurate image, which makes it a great solution for 3D modeling, simulation, video editing, medical imaging, etc. -- Posted Friday, January 15, 2010

LXE upgrades VX8 Kärf and VX9 Förj vehicle-mounts
LXE, the mobile logistics business of EMS Technologies, Inc., released two updates to its Trux line of rugged vehicle-mount computers. The VX8 Kärf and the larger VX9 Förj vehicle-mounts can now be ordered with Intel Core 2 Duo and Atom processors, LED backlit displays, more storage and updated mobile radios -- Posted Friday, January 15, 2010

MobileDemand announces availability of ultra-compact xTablet 7000
Leading Tablet PC provider MobileDemand announced the availability of the "Retail Ready" xTablet T7000, a rugged mini Tablet PC that combines the functionality of a notebook, full Windows OS and the portability and data collection capabilities of a handheld in a light-weight slate form factor with a built-in numeric keypad, optional QWERTY keyboard attachment, color camera and 7-inch high resolution (1024 x 600 & 768) all-light-readable touch screen display. [See full review of the Mobile Demand xTablet T7000] -- Posted Friday, January 15, 2010

UPS and Honeywell team on next-gen UPS delivery handheld
UPS and Honeywell announced they are teaming on a new-generation handheld for UPS drivers. Known internally as the DIAD V (Delivery Information Acquisition Device V), the Honeywell device is smaller and lighter (about 1.3 lbs.) than the (Symbol-made) predecessor DIAD IV, can auto-jump between cellular carriers when a signal is lost, displays maps, has an advanced 2D imager, faster WiFi, and can send/receive messages to redirect drivers. The DIAD V also has a still/video camera and GPS. UPS will begin field testing the device in late 2010 and begin a multi-year, global deployment in 2011. The DIAD V will be approved for operation in more than 100 countries. Now how did Motorola/Symbol lose that giant account? -- Posted Friday, January 15, 2010

Automated Vehicle Locator solution on the Motorola MC75
Descartes Systems Group, a federated global logistics network, announced that its latest intelligent Automated Vehicle Locator solution is now available on the Motorola MC75. -- Posted Friday, January 15, 2010

LCD optical film a US$9.1 billion market
According to DisplaySearch, the market for TFT LCD optical films (polarizers, reflectors, diffusers, etc.) is expected to grow by 11% by area in 2010 (see stats). The company's Quarterly Display Optical Film Report covers basic introduction, technical evolutions, market forecast, capacity profiles, value chain relationships, as well as cost and price, for each of these films. -- Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Advantech announced embedded boards with new Intel Core i7
Advantech, a leading provider of embedded platforms and integration services, announced its new series of high-reliability embedded boards based on the new Intel Core i7 processor ranging from Computer-On-Modules and Single Board Computers (SBCs) to industrial motherboards. These include the performance-oriented Advantech's Mini-ITX motherboard AIMB-280, MicroATX motherboard AIMB-580, ATX motherboard AIMB-780, and the SBC PCE-5125. On the low power side of things, Advantech announced the COM-Express SOM-5788, the Mini-ITC AIMB-270, and the PCM-9593 with thermal design power (TDP) between 18 and 35 watts. The image shows the tiny 3.74 x 4.92 inch SOM-5788 COM-Express module. Note the Core i7 chip with the integrated graphics/memory controller chip on the same package. -- Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010

10 Healthcare IT trends to watch in 2010
Healthcare Technology Online presented a list of ten healthcare information technology trends to watch this year. Electronic medical records (EMR) are high on the list as still only less than 1% of all US hospitals have complete systems. Storage, remote monitoring and telehealth systems also rank high. Lots of opportunity for rugged and mobile technology. [See 10 Healthcare IT trends to watch in 2010] -- Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Of interest for future rugged tablets: Intel WiDi
At CES, Intel showed Wireless Display Technology (WiDi) where mobile computers equipped with some of the new Core i3 and Core i5 processors will be able to wirelessly display on a HDTV over their 802.11n network connection and a receiver that connects to an HDTV HDMI port. This could come in very handy for mobile presentations and similar field uses. [See report by hothardware.com] -- Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Honeywell's accurate, inexpensive new digital compass chip
A little frustrated with the performance and accuracy of current integrated eCompass circuitry? Honeywell just announced a new three-axis digital compass chip that enables directional pointing and location features in handhelds. Based on the tiny HMC5883 surface mount chip, the system offers high resolution, no need for the cumbersome "figure eight" calibration, immunity to most large magnetic disturbances, and an I2C interface. [See Honeywell 3-axis digital compass page] -- Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rugged waterproof IP67-rated cellphone with Gorilla Glass
Sonim Technologies, makers of those Xtreme Performance rugged phones, announced the GSM/GPRS/EDGE XP3.2 Quest Pro that features an IP67 rating, can be dropped from up to 6.5 feet onto concrete, submerged in water, and used in -5 to 130 degree temperatures. The XP3.2 Quest Pro has 18 hours talk time, integrated GPS, camera with illuminator, a shock and scratch resistant Gorilla Glass display and is built on the Philips Nexperia 5210 platform. Cost? US$499 unlocked. -- Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010

RAM-Mounts now shipping powered dock for Motorola MC55
RAM Mounts is now shipping a powered dock for the Motorola MC55, MC5590 and MC5574 enterprise digital assistants. The dock uses 12-28VDC, includes a USB connection, two externally mounted pens, and can be mounted in any vehicle in numerous ways, using RAM's unsurpassed rubber ball mounting system. [See RAM dock for the Motorola/Symbol MC55] -- Posted Monday, January 11, 2010

Mercedes importer uses rugged Intermec handhelds
Better Online Solutions Ltd. announced the implementation and delivery of a RFID-enabled vehicle location system, including hand-held rugged terminals from Intermec, for Colmobil, the exclusive importer and distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Israel. RFID devices are used in sea ports, storage locations and Colmobil distribution center to locate, track and manage vehicles and improve the delivery process to its agencies. -- Posted Monday, January 11, 2010

InformationWeek publishes "Tablet PCs: Learning From The Past"
InformationWeek reprinted, with permission, RuggedPCReview.com editor Conrad Blickenstorfer's "Tablet PCs: Learning From The Past" [See article in InformationWeek] -- Posted Friday, January 8, 2010

Datalogic to show new Windows Mobile 6.5-based handheld
Datalogic Mobile will preview a new Datalogic PDA at the 2010 National Retail Federation trade show in New York City January 11-12 at the Datalogic booth No. 2445. Tom Burke, VP of Products and Services said, "the new PDA is one of the first in our industry to run Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5. We have also integrated the Datalogic patented Green Spot good read technology with both the laser bar code reader and the 2D imager. The new PDA also incorporates HF RFID support." Connectivity includes UMTS HSDPA voice and data, 802.11 a/b/gWiFi with CCX V4 certification, and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR. -- Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010

Slate and tablet computers: learning from the past
According to CNN, tablet-sized computers are now "a much-hyped category of electronics." But tablets were not invented by Microsoft in 2001, as many editors and industry pundits seem to think. Fact is, slate and tablet computers have been around for a good 20 years, and in 1991, there was as much hype about slates as we have today (see excerpts of "The Past and Future of Pen Computing" by RuggedPCReview.com editor Conrad H. Blickenstorfer). The image shows an Apple concept called the Knowledge Navigator from 1987, way before the World Wide Web was even invented. Read about Slate and tablet computers: learning from the past. -- Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cool Intermec video on rugged printers
Intermec prepared a nice video demonstrating the ruggedness of their mobile printers. It shows how how Intermec rugged mobile printers handle a variety of challenging conditions. [See Intermec video on rugged printers] -- Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010

HP TouchSmart tm2: improved multi-touch
HP has updated their TouchSmart tx2 with the TouchSmart tm2, an elegant, aluminum-clad convertible Tablet PC with multi-touch capabilities on its 12.1-inch display. Sporting Intel Core 2 Duo processors, the tm2 gets up to nine hours of battery life, a variety of touch-optimized software (including "BumpTop," a touch-enhanced 3-D interface for photos and documents), a fingerprint reader, but no optical drive. Pricing starts at US$949. Note that this is a consumer product, but relevant technology that we'll probably soon see in rugged tablets as well. -- Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Waterproof antimicrobial keyboards and mice
Need an IP68-rated keyboard or mouse, one that can be cleaned in a dishwasher, or an antimicrobial one for use in medical and clinical settings? The folks at Seal Shield to the rescue. They offer a variety of waterproof-spillproof, antimicrobial keyboards, mice and other stuff, including, just announced, a totally waterproof and antimicrobial cellphone. [See Seal Shield site and technology] -- Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bsquare renews Microsoft embedded systems distribution agreement
Bsquare, known as Windows CE pioneer and today a leading software solutions provider to the global embedded device community, renewed its OEM distribution agreement with Microsoft under which Bsquare sells Microsoft's complete line of software products for embedded systems to OEMs in North America. The new agreement is effective for a six-month period through June 30, 2010, at which time Microsoft anticipates introducing updated agreements for its distributors. -- Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Kudos for Motorola's 2007 purchase of Symbol
Stock market analysis firm Morningstar published a rating article on Motorola and commented that "Motorola has history of making acquisitions, but of the deals Motorola has closed over the past several years, only the $3.5 billion purchase of Symbol Technologies in 2007 was meaningful to the firm's financial position," describing the enterprise mobility segments as "solidly profitable." -- Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ralink's new 802.11n + Bluetooth 3.0 module
When we open up rugged mobile machinery here at RuggedPCReview, we often find Ralink wireless modules inside. At CES, the Ralink folks will demonstrate their new RT3090BC4 802.11n plus Bluetooth 3.0 half MiniCard module, so you get Bluetooth 3.0+HS and WiFi data rates of up to 150Mbps. As more and more WiFi networks switch to 802.11n and Bluetooth continues to gain acceptance, we hope to see this sort of technology in rugged systems soon. [See Ralink RT3090BC4 product sheet] -- Posted Monday, January 4, 2010

Getac announces 5-year bumper-to-bumper warranty
Getac, a leading innovator and manufacturer of rugged computers, announced it will offer a new, 5-year warranty including damage that occurs due to accidental acts and exposure to environmental conditions, on its complete line of fully rugged notebook computers and tablets. The new 5-year bumper-to-bumper warranty represents the best warranty in the industry at no additional cost to Getac customers. The new warranty covers all fully rugged systems delivered on or after January 1, 2010. [see blog entry] -- Posted Monday, January 4, 2010

New at RuggedPCReview
RuggedPCReview Blog
Editors are talking
Whatever's rugged and tough, we discuss it here, the good, the great, and the ugly. We're not pulling any punches. Also look for news and opinions.
Sponsored Company Links
Advantech
Arbor Technology
Cedar Tree Technologies
Dell Rugged
Durabook
Getac
Handheld Group
JLT Mobile Computers
Juniper Systems
MobileDemand
Motion
Panasonic
RAM Mounts
Ruggedbook
Trimble
Winmate
Xplore Technologies

Definitions/Primers
  • Active vs passive digitizers
  • What does "rugged" mean?
  • Rugged Specs Primer
  • FIPS 201
  • Intrinsic Safety
  • NEMA Ratings
  • NVIS standards
  • IEC 60601
  • IP Rating
  • RFID
  • RFID vs. Bar Code
  • RFID viruses and worms
  • RoHS
  • Outdoor-readable LCDs 2007
  • UL 1604
  • MIL-STD-3009
  • Wide-angle LCDs '04
  • Our Newsletters
  • 2013 Fall
  • 2013 Summer
  • 2013 Spring
  • 2012 Summer
  • 2012 Spring
  • 2011 Fall
  • 2011 Summer
  • 2011 Spring
  • 2010 Summer
  • 2010 Spring
  • 2010 Winter
  • 2009 Fall
  • 2009 Summer
  • 2009 Spring
  • 2009 Winter
  • 2008 Fall
  • 2008 Summer
  • 2008 Spring
  • 2008 Winter
  • Features
    Industry Q&A: Opportunities for rugged tablets as a result of the iPad
    Sign up for email news
    Get Rugged PC Review news by email.
    Advertising/Sponsorship
    RuggedPCReview.com is 100% dedicated to rugged and industrial computing. Our online advertising and sponsorship packages provide direct access to potential customers. View PDF Media Kit or contact us.
    Submit your news!
    If you are a vendor or developer and would like for RuggedPCReview to announce and carry your news, tech articles, white papers, videos, tutorials or other pertaining content contact us.
    About RuggedPCReview
    The editor and co-founder of Pen Computing Magazine launched RuggedPCReview.com late 2005 as a website dedicated to providing news and information about rugged mobile computer technology and its applications. The site aims to be an industry clearinghouse for rugged computing equipment hardware reviews as well as an information source on rugged computing terminology, definitions, testing, and enabling technologies.

    "Over the many years that we have been testing and reviewing rugged mobile computers, and in our professional careers prior, we have noticed that there is very little standardization and that potential clients are often confused where and what to buy," said Dr. Conrad H. Blickenstorfer, Editor-in-Chief of RuggedPCReview.com and former CIO of the New York State Dormitory Authority. "We hope that our new service will answer many questions and provide all the answers a client needs to make an informed decision."