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Rugged PC Review Monthly News Archive [ Back to news index]

January 2011

Tri-State Selects Juniper Systems Archer Field PC
Juniper Systems announced that as a result of recent federal regulations requiring accurate record keeping of structure and line inspections, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association—a wholesale electric power supplier that serves a 250,000 square mile service territory throughout Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming—selected the Juniper Systems Archer Field PC and 3-GIS Field Express Chameleon as its rugged mobile solution. The Windows Mobile-base Archer Field PC is an ultra-rugged PDA built to IP67 and MIL-STD-810F standards for water, humidity, sand and dust, vibration, altitude, shock, and temperature. [See Juniper press release] -- Posted Monday, January 31, 2011

Getac PS236 handheld goes on 10,000 mile expedition
Getac releases a case study on how a Getac PS236 made a 10,000 mile motorcycle round-trip between Ireland and Kazakhstan, strapped to a KTM motorcycle. The PS236 handled all that vibration, desert dust, extreme temperatures, mountain climbs up to 23,000 feet, recorded the trip with its integrated camera, provided GPS navigation and geotagging, and allowed the expedition team to remain in contact. [See the Getac PS236 case study, expedition web page, and video] -- Posted Monday, January 31, 2011

Psion removes Teklogix from name
Psion Teklogix announced it has shortened its operating company name to just Psion, removing "Teklogix" to "create a more effective global brand." Seems like only yesterday when Psion acquired Teklogix in 2000 and we attended the announcing press conference at ScanTech in Chicago. Prior, Teklogix had spawned WaveLink and acquired Badger, which had been making rugged mobile systems in the 1990s. No one expected Psion handhelds to quickly disappear from the market, with the company concentrating on the EPOC OS that became Symbian, whereas Psion Teklogix, operating out of Canada, flourished. So, in name at least, it's all come full circle, and Psion is once again just Psion. [See Psion press release] -- Posted Monday, January 31, 2011

AMREL DB6 rugged Atom-based Windows handheld
While the AMREL DB6-M shown to the right looks like a PDA, it really is a full-fledged computer running Windows 7 on a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 and a solid state disk. The wide-format sunlight-viewable display measured five inches diagonally and offers 800 x 480 pixel WVGA resolution. Operation is via touch or stylus, and also via the dual layer keypad below the screen. The device, which weighs less than two pounds, is hugely configurable and ought to be of interest to military and many industrial applications. [See description and specs of the AMREL DB6] -- Posted Friday, January 28, 2011

N-trig videos highlight the use of pens in touch tablets
N-trig -- the company who makes the DuoSense pen and capacitive multi-touch solution combined into a single digitizer -- just issued a couple of very cool videos that show the advantage of having a precision pen in addition to touch. Watch the N-trig videos here and here. -- Posted Thursday, January 27, 2011

Datalogic offers free Pal inventory software apps for its handhelds
Seeking to address a need for a tool to execute basic tasks associated with data capture and inventory control on Windows CE and Windows Mobile-based handheld computers, Datalogic introduced the Pal software suite for use with Datalogic handhelds that consists of shelf inventory, order entry, asset tracking and shelf replenishment apps. Data can easily be collected and then transferred/synchronized to PCs for analysis in Excel or the Windows NotePad. The apps are simple but very useful, and there's a nice 70 page manual. [Datalogic handheld owners can download Pal from here ] -- Posted Thursday, January 27, 2011

Trimble introduces next gen Ranger 3
Trimble introduced the Ranger 3, a next-generation follow-up to the company's line of rugged Ranger handheld computers. The new Windows Mobile 6.5-based Ranger gets a thorough technology update (processor, storage, camera, scanner, accelerometer, compass, etc.), a larger 4.2-inch full-VGA display, and a new QWERTY thumb-keyboard layout. The design is all new, despite virtually unchanged dimensions, weight and ruggedness. [See description and specs of the Trimble Ranger 3] -- Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Toshiba releases smaller 1.8-inch HDs with larger capacities
Toshiba Storage Device Division announced the industry's first 1.8-inch drives with low-insertion force (LIF) SATA (Serial ATA) connectors, enabling a 10% smaller footprint compared to standard 1.8-inch drives using microSATA connectors. The new 220GB MK2239GSL, 200GB MK2039GSL, and 160GB MK1639GSL single platter drives are designed for demanding mobile computing applications, surpassing 2.5-inch HDDs in vibration robustness, low power consumption, and quiet operation. [See press release] -- Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Full review: DLI 8300 Rugged Tablet
DLI of Laporte, Indiana, offers a full lineup of tablet computers for different purposes and in different sizes. The role of the Intel Atom-powered DLI 8300 with its 8.4-inch display is that of a general purpose tablet computer large enough to serve as a "real" computer in the field or in a vehicle, but small and portable enough to be carried around on the job. RuggedPCReview.com conducted a detailed review of the DLI 8300 and found much to like. [See full review of the DLI 8300 Rugged Tablet] -- Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DAP Technologies introduces two new rugged tablets
DAP Technologies has expanded its lineup with two updated versions of its full screen and half-screen plus keyboard tablets that are available both in Windows Embedded Standard and Windows CE versions. The new M8930 and M8940 include various technology updates and now run Windows CE 6.0 rel3 on 624MHz Marvell PXA300 processors. [See description and specs of the DAP Technologies M8930 and M8940] -- Posted Monday, January 24, 2011

Juniper announces shipment of Mesa Geo 3G Rugged Notepad
Juniper Systems announced that its PTCRB-certified Mesa Geo 3G Rugged Notepad is now available for shipment. The Mesa Geo 3G adds a 3G GSM cellular data modem to provide real-time wireless connectivity while working in the field. The Mesa Rugged Notepad -- a clever crossover between a handheld and a tablet PC -- is available in three models: Standard, Geo, and Geo 3G. The standard Mesa has WiFi and Bluetooth; the Geo adds 2-5 meter accuracy GPS and a 3.2MP camera with Juniper Geotagging; and the Geo 3G model includes camera, GPS, and the 3G GSM data modem. [See Juniper press release] -- Posted Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winmate offers super-compact 7-inch rugged tablet
Taiwanese industrial display technology and rugged solutions provider Winmate introduced a minimalist rugged device geared towards providing GPS information and computing power for military and similar deployments in the smallest possible package. The Atom Z530-powered tablet has a sunlight-readable 7-inch resistive touch display and weighs less than two pounds. [See description and specs of the Winmate 7-inch rugged tablet PC] -- Posted Thursday, January 20, 2011

Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR800 at work at ABB Switzerland
It's always good to hear about new applications and contract wins for rugged tablet computers. Samwell announced it has sold its RUGGEDBOOK SR800 10.4-inch rugged tablet to ABB Swizterland. The ABB Group is a global leader in power and automation technologies, and apparently Samwell's rugged SR800 with its sunlight-viewable display, dual mode input, and good balance between performance, features, ruggedness, portability and battery life fit right into ABB's plans. -- Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011

GE launches preconfigured COTS rugged systems
GE Intelligent Platforms announced a new family of rugged, off-the-shelf systems designed to reduce the cost and time-to-market of developing solutions for a range of military vehicle platforms including UAVs, manned and unmanned ground vehicles and launch vehicles. The CRS-C2P-3CC1 and CRS-C3P-3CB1 are 2-slot and 3-slot pre-validated, application-ready, CompactPCI-based computer systems. -- Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Arbor releases second MCA tablet
Arbor Technology of Taiwan has introduced a second generation MCA (Medical Clinical Assistant). The elegantly designed M1040 MCA has a bright 10.4-inch XGA display with dual input (resistive touch and active digitizer), runs Windows 7 on an Intel Atom N450 processor, has both 2D scanner and RFID, and weighs less than three pounds. There are two cameras, optional 3.75G WWAN, a very well designed dock, and enhanced ruggedness. [See description and specs of the Arbor M1040 MCA] -- Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Intermec buys Vocollect
Intermec announced it will buy privately held Vocollect, a provider of voice-centric solutions for mobile workers, with a US$190 million all cash transaction. Vocollect, which is expected to have 2010 revenues of about US$120 million, concentrates on "hands-free and eyes-free work processes connected seamlessly to a variety of WMS or ERP systems." Vocollect uses its "Talkman" hardware for voice-only solutions, but Vocollect applications are also available on (in addition to Intermec) Motorola, LXE and Psion Teklogix handhelds, thus giving this acquisition a strategic component. [See Intermec release] -- Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Are Marvell PXA processors on their way out?
Mobile processors don't change nearly as fast as notebook and desktop processors do. Most handhelds are still running the same Marvell PXA25x and PXA27x processors that have been around for many years in unchanged form. The also already four year old PXA3xx chips were slow in being adopted, and now Intermec chose the TI OMAP chip to power its new line of likely high-volume 70 Series handhelds. Are PXA processors on their way out? [... more] -- Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2011

AMREL joins EDGE innovation network
AMREL, known for its ROCKY line of rugged, mobile computers, announced that it has joined the EDGE Innovation Network, an initiative of industrial, academic, and government leaders that use cooperation to accelerate the delivery cycle of new capabilities to warfighters and first responders. Sponsored by General Dynamics C4 Systems, the EDGE has successfully delivered innovations including a Soldier Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Receiver to the U.S. Army. Worldwide, there are currently six EDGE Innovation Centers and over 160 members. -- Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Datalogic reports 26% sales increase in 2010
Datalogic reports that preliminary revenues from sales in 2010 rose by 26% compared to the same period in 2009, to 392.7 million Euro. Of the company's three major divisions, automation (barcode, RFID, auto-ID) 2010 revenues rose 36% to 90.4 million Euro, mobile (mobile computers) rose 28% to 87.6 million Euro, and scanning (readers and scanners) rose 24% to 181 million Euro. -- Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Datalogic Falcon X3 for tough retail and warehouse jobs
Datalogic has added the Falcon X3 rugged handheld computer to its already comprehensive lineup. The ergonomically designed Falcon X3 runs either Windows CE 6 rel. 3 or Windows Mobile 6.5 on a 624MHz Marvell PXA310 chip and a Cortex-M3 co-processor, has a 3.5-inch QVGA touch display, your choice of a 29-key numeric or 52-key alphanumeric keyboard, 3-megapixel AF camera with LED flash, 1D and 1D/2D scanning options, impressive ruggedness, and it can be configured with a pistol grip. [See description and specs of the Datalogic Falcon X3] -- Posted Monday, January 17, 2011

Intermec releases 70 Series of ultra-rugged handhelds
On January 11, Intermec announced a whole new series of ultra-rugged handhelds, based on a common architecture and with common basic features, but optimized for various markets via different keyboards, form factors, scanners and, of course, numerous wireless and other options. The 70 Series is based on the 600MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 3530 ARM processor, runs Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, has 3.5-inch full-VGA resistive touch screens with Corning Gorilla Glass, and shares common peripherals and docks. RuggedPCReview.com analyzed the 70 Series platform and each model. See description and specs for the Intermec CN70, CN70e, CK70 and CK71. -- Posted Monday, January 17, 2011

RNB Eagle: Economically priced, well-made, high-performance semi-rugged notebook
There are situations where a fully rugged notebook is overkill, but a standard consumer notebook just won't do. That's where the RNB Eagle by Rugged Notebooks comes in. It is a 6.5 semi-rugged with a 14.1-inch WXGA screen and very substantial performance. There's a magnesium alloy chassis, very solid construction, good outdoor viewability, good connectivity, including an HDMI port, SIM, and DVD writer. There is a fan and vents, so we're not talking water-proof, but the Eagle is spill-proof and can take a good deal of abuse, and the price is definitely right. [See full review of the Rugged Notebooks RNB Eagle] -- Posted Friday, January 14, 2011

DRS Tactical expands roster with ARMOR X7 rugged tablet
DRS Tactical announced the release of the DRS ARMOR X7 rugged tablet computer, which will complement the company's larger X10 rugged tablets. The Intel Atom N450-based X7 has a 7-inch WSVGA display with auto-sensing dual input (active digitizer and resistive touch), is exceptionally rugged (6-foot drop, IP65, -4 to 140F), weighs under three pounds, and offers excellent configuration and customization potential via expansion bays and "FlexSpace" interfacing. [See description and specs of the DRS ARMOR X7] -- Posted Thursday, January 13, 2011

Eurotech/Parvus wins initial contract for US Navy
Eurotech subsidiary Parvus announced a contract with Rockwell Collins to supply 53 rugged DuraCOR 810 mission computer subsystems in support of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) Increment 1 program. The DuraCOR 810 is a robust, PC/104-based COTS computing platform that can meet stringent military requirements, including the harsh environments encountered under the JPALS program. Eurotech says that while the amount of the order is small, the contract itself is important for them because it shows a relationship with an important customer in the American Defense sector which should likely bring to obtaining further volume orders. [See press release] -- Posted Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gunze USA introduces new line of projected capacitive touch screens
Touch panel specialist Gunze announced their new line of extremely durable and nearly vandal-proof projected capacitive touch screens. Gunze's PCAP technology allows them to be tuned to operate through glass or polycarbonate facings in a variety of thicknesses. The panels, which support Windows 7 native gesturing, are available in various sizes from 7 to 22 inches. Gunze PCAP products are made in their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, with 20,000 square feet of Class 10K (ISO 9001 & 14001 certified) clean room and manufacturing space. [See Gunze's projected capacitive product page) -- Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 CES concludes, had good attendance
According to CES, the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas had over 2,700 exhibitors, and 140,000 attendance, including 30,000 from outside the US. These figures are up quite a bit from 2009 and 2010. -- Posted Monday, January 10, 2011

ioSafe's ultra-rugged portable drives
The folks at ioSafe have elevated ruggedness in portable hard drives to an entirely new level. The titanium version of their Rugged Portable can handle 10 foot drops (20 foot with SSD), 5,000 lbs. of crushing pressure, operation at altitudes up to 30,000 feet, immersion into fuels and other noxious fluids, immersion into up to 30 feet of water for days, no-questions-asked warranty, and includes data recovery service. Price starts at US$149 for a 250GB version, and [See ioSafe product page] -- Posted Monday, January 10, 2011

Microsoft releases Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5
On January 10, 2011, Microsoft announced the availability of Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, Microsoft's OS platform solution for enterprise handheld devices. Embedded Handheld 6.5 is built on Windows Mobile 6.5 (and Windows Mobile, of course, is a platform sitting on top of Windows CE). With Embedded Handheld 6.5, Microsoft stresses application compatibility across a range of devices, advanced security (password enforcement, remotes pipes), device management, and inclusion of voice telephony. Yes, the nomenclature is as confusing as ever, but according to VDC Research, Embedded CE and WinMo 6.x accounted for about 87% of the roughly 2.3 million rugged handhelds shipped in 2009, and the market share was probably similar in 2010. [See Microsoft's Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 release, and also the very informative "Handheld Devices for Industry Applications" that offers a side-by-side comparison between Embedded CE and Embedded Handheld.] -- Posted Monday, January 10, 2011

DT Research releases WebDT 372 rugged tablet with encrypted PIN pad and MSR
At the National Retail Federation Expo in New York, DT Research announced the latest addition to its line of WebDT mobile tablets. The Intel Atom-powered ruggedized WebDT 372 offers a 7-inch display and is the first mobile tablet that can be configured with a fully integrated magnetic stripe reader and encrypted PIN pad for secure payment transactions in the field. The encrypted PIN Pad, which will also be available with the company's recently introduced larger WebDT 390, is PCI (Payment Card Industry) certified and supports TDS and AES encryption. [See description and specs of the DT Research WebDT 372]. -- Posted Monday, January 10, 2011

Intel unveils "Sandy Bridge" second gen i3/i5/i7 processors
Seems like just yesterday that Intel came out with the 2010 Core i3/i5/i7 processors, and now they already announced the next generation, code named "Sandy Bridge," that includes about 15 mobile chips. I'll discuss the news in more detail in the RPCR blog, but basically we're getting faster and even more integrated graphics, better turbo boost, a bunch new video features, the usual flurry of special Intel technologies, and a whole series of new chipsets. Unfortunately, the new chips also use a new socket (the LGA1155), so it's back to the drawing board for embedded and mobile device designers. [See table of all new mobile i5/i7 processors] -- Posted Thursday, January 6, 2011

App for payment processing with Android tablets
Advanced Merchant Solutions has released a payment solution for Android tablets. that allows mobile sales professionals to swipe credit cards, print receipts and generate additional sales. This Android app can be used with the company's Pocket Spectrum Plus, a Bluetooth 2-track card reader and thermal receipt printer. [See Android Verifier product page] -- Posted Thursday, January 6, 2011

First aid for wet electronics
A company named DRY-ALL introduced electronic device drying kits at CES that works by placing the device in an emergency kit bag with their proprietary blue bead desiccant/liquid absorption technology. Primarily designed for wet smartphones, they are now branching out into kits for tablets. Might be useful when a non-waterproof handheld or tablet gets wet. [See DRY-ALL] -- Posted Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Motion introduces rugged Windows-based multi-touch tablet
At the 2011 CES in Las Vegas, category pioneer Motion Computing introduced the Motion CL900, a lightweight tablet computer with a high-res 10-inch display and n-Trig DuoSense dual input. The tablet runs Windows 7 on Intel's new "Oak Trail" System-on-Chip Atom platform. The CL900 can handle 4-foot drops, its display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, and the battery is said to last 8+ hours. The CL900 will be available with Gobi 3000 WWAN/GPS, dual cameras, as well as peripheral modules. Starting price is under US$1,000. [Read description and specs of the Motion CL900 rugged tablet] -- Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A million sold
When we think of vertical markets, we generally think of low sales volumes. But that's not always the case. Advantech announced it has sold a cool million of its ADAM series of remote I/O modules. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Advantech put up a special web page where you can win an Apple iPad. [See Advantech's Celebrate a Million page] -- Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011

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