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

January 2014

Rugged Juniper Systems Archer GPS XF101 handheld valuable member of Gamlang Razi high altitude expedition
Last September, a team made up of American and Myanmar climbers set out to climb Gamlang Razi, the 2nd highest peak in Southeast Asia which has never been before climbed—in an attempt to prove that it was actually the highest. A Juniper an Archer Field PC with a Hemisphere GPS XF101 receiver went along, all the way to the top at over 19,000 feet. Was that enough to elevate Gamlang Razi to #1? Read Juniper's nicely illustrated blog on the Gamlang Razi expedition] -- Posted Thursday, January 30, 2014

Handheld Group beefs up worldwide sales force
Handheld Group announced it has added three managers to its global sales team. Oliver Warn, sales manager for north Germany, held positions at Nordic ID and Psion Teklogix; U.S. Sales Manager Terence Howard came from Alcatel One Touch; and Erik Hoekstra, a graduate of Handheld's own Management Trainee Program, is the new sales manager for Handheld's Scandinavia subsidiary. [See Handheld press release] -- Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Google sells Motorola Mobility to Lenovo
A bit over two years ago Google acquired the phone part of Motorola (NOT to be confused with Motorola Solutions which makes network/comms gear and rugged handhelds and tablets) for US$12.5 billion. Now Google sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for US$2.91 billion, with just $660 million of that in cash. However, Google will retain most of Motorola's mobile patents that'll serve as legal protection for Android. -- Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Xplore RangerX rugged tablet now with Android 4.2.2, Google Play store access, over-the-air updating, glove-capable touch
Xplore Technologies announced that their rugged lightweight RangerX tablet now uses Android 4.2.2 "Jelly Bean." During RuggedPCReview.com's initial evaluation of the RangerX (see initial review), we mentioned that the Android 4.0.4 tablet did not yet have Google's GMS certification that would allow it to use the Google Play store and some of the official Google apps. The new Android 4.2.2 upgrade, free to current RangerX customers, fixes that and provides access to the Google Play store, with the Google Play Private Channel allowing enterprise users to distribute internal/approved apps to employees throughout the business. Also new is software that makes the RangerX display more glove-touch capable. [Read Xplore press release] -- Posted Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review: DAP Technologies M9020 — ultra-rugged, highly configurable QWERTY 7-inch Windows tablet
Tablets are in, but there are tasks where an integrated keyboard comes in handy. That's what DAP Technologies created the fully-rugged DAP M9020 tablet for. Powered by an Intel Atom N2600, the M9020 runs Windows 7 on a 7-inch WSVGA resistive touch display. The M9020 supports Bluetooth v4.0, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Gobi 5000 4G LTE, u-blox 6 GPS, micro SD card expansion, dual cameras, RFID, and a 1D/2D barcode scanner. The tablet can survive multiple 6-foot drops and carries IP67 sealing. [See full review of the DAP M9020 rugged tablet] -- Posted Monday, January 27, 2014

MobileDemand: Ruggedized tablet solutions for variable rate applications in agriculture
In a recent Ruggeddize Computing Blog entry, MobileDemand points out that over the past few years, farming has increasingly gone high tech, using computers and various tablets to control and automate specific processes in precision agriculture. That includes the introduction of variable application control systems for use in the field, growers are able to prevent seed and fertilizer overlap, control material rates during application, monitor seeding information in real-time and avoid blocked fertilizer delivery lines. [Read more] -- Posted Friday, January 24, 2014

ADLINK announces Intel Haswell-powered fanless embedded PC
ADLINK Technology announced its new Matrix MXE-5400 fanless embedded computer based on a 4th generation Intel Core i7-4700EQ quad-core processor. Built to withstand harsh environments and including ADLINK's proprietary SEMA (Smart Embedded Management Agent) remote management tool, ADLINK positions the MXE-5400 as a high-performance solution for outdoor intelligent transportation, digital surveillance, security, and industrial automation applications. [See ADLINK MXE-5400 product sheet] -- Posted Thursday, January 23, 2014

Motorola Solutions reports Q4 and full-year 2013 financials: flat sales, earnings, and outlook
Motorola Solutions announced fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 results with Q4 sales of US$2.50 billion, up 3% from Q4 2012, and full-year 2013 sales of US$8.7 billion, same as 2012, with the Government segment slightly up to US$6.0 billion and Enterprise sales slightly down to US$2.7 billion. Q4 earnings were US$413 million, down 9% from the quarter a year ago. Full-year 2013 operating earnings were US$1.22 billion, slightly down from US$1.26 billion in 2012. Total 2013 sales were roughly 31% from enterprise sales and 69% from government sales, roughly the same split as in the prior year, but clearly missing Moto's year-ago expectation of 5-5.5% sales growth. Looking forward, Motorola Solutions expects 2013 sales to be flat to 2% (a surprise to us, given the massive growth in market acceptance of handhelds and tablets). [See Motorola Solutions financials press release] -- Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014

GammaTech to showcase rugged and semi‐rugged notebook and Tablet PCs at DistribuTECH
GammaTech Computer Corp., a major international manufacturer and supplier of innovative notebook and tablet computers, will display select rugged and semi‐rugged notebook and tablet models designed for the utility industry at DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition, held January 28-30, 2014 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX. The company will be providing a sneak peak at its soon‐to‐be‐released newest model, notebook R8300. GammaTech will be exhibiting in booth 736. [See GammaTech press release] -- Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DRS ARMOR gone
Sorry for being late on reporting this, but it seems that DRS Tactical Systems pulled the plug on all DRS ARMOR tablets. Early summer last year we had been told all ARMOR products were current, but an October inquiry went unanswered. We just now came across an October 18, 2013 release by DRS Technologies, informing that all ARMOR products were End of Life (see release). Once known as WalkAbout Computer, tablet pioneers and makers of the rugged Hammerhead computers, the company had been sold to DRS Technologies in 2005, and DRS then to Italian Finmeccanica in 2008. As is, DRS Technologies still sells a variety of military rugged computers, but the last of the WalkAbout DNA seems gone now. -- Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014

AIM honors Intermec for effort to improve global aid distribution
AIM (Automatic Identification and Mobility), the industry association and worldwide authority on bar code, RFID, RTLS and mobile computing, has selected Intermec as the winner of the inaugural AIDC Case Study Competition. The annual award recognizes compelling solutions that contribute to the growth and advancement of AIDC through innovation and technologies which provide benefits that decrease risk, increase the demand and accelerate the adoption of AIDC. [See AIM press release] -- Posted Saturday, January 18, 2014

Havis dock for the Getac F110 rugged tablet now available
Havis announced that its innovative new Docking Station for the Getac F110 Rugged Tablet is available for order. The rugged yet lightweight DS-GTC-200 Series Docking Station provides a secure location for tablet charging and connection to essential peripherals via USB, VGA, LAN, serial, audio, and HDMI. It also has EMI shielding and can be ordered with an optional antenna. [See Havis docking station for the Getac F110 rugged tablet] -- Posted Saturday, January 18, 2014

Review: Trimble Yuma 2 — impressively rugged 7-inch tablet gets the job done, even in direct sunshine and in driving rain
We had a chance to do a full review of GPS specialist Trimble's Yuma 2 7-inch tablet and found it to be an innovative, very well executed rugged tablet computer that offers speed, capacitive multi-touch (even in the rain!), advanced technology, excellent battery life, impressive GPS performance, and a superb screen that remains viewable and usable in direct sunlight. [See full review of the Trimble Yuma 2 rugged tablet] -- Posted Thursday, January 16, 2014

Xplore Technologies presents at MicroCapClub Invitational
Xplore Technologies announced it has been selected to present at the 2nd annual MicroCapClub Invitational. The entire one-hour presentation by Xplore's chairman and CEO Phil Sassower can be viewed at the MicroCapClub site (and provides an interesting insight into the workings and philosophies of one of the pioneers of rugged tablet computing). [View Xplore presentation] -- Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Learn how your company can benefit from RFID
RFID Journal LIVE! 2014—held at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla., April 8-10, 2014—will feature eight preconference seminars and workshops focused on RFID use in various industries. The five in-depth preconference seminars, including RFID Journal University, will cover topics such as RFID in harsh environments, RFID for IT professionals, RFID in the food chain, and RFID for Warehouse and Inventory Management. Three special preconference workshops will discuss retail and apparel, NFC technology and helping businesses formulate an RFID strategy. By attending these preconferences, attendees will learn how to deploy solutions to solve business problems or improve their marketing or operations. [Check it out, or register] -- Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Full review: Advantech's mighty SOM-5894 Intel Haswell-powered computer module packs a punch
COM Modules, such as Advantech's SOM-5894, measure just 3.75 x 4.9 inches, but they can pack a punch as the central building block for various embedded systems projects. RuggedPCReview analyzed and benchmarked the SOM-5894, equipped with an Intel "Haswell" 4th generation Core i5-4402E processor (there's a choice of five Haswell CPUs for the module), and found performance comparable to high-end notebooks and even desktops. And the board can drive three independent displays. [See full review and benchmarks of the Advantech SOM-5894 COM Express module] -- Posted Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Motorola's Staff Communications and Management Solution connects retail teams to each other and customers
At the 103rd National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Convention & EXPO in New York City, Motorola Solutions is showcasing its latest Staff Communications and Management solution which keeps store staff mobile and connected via voice and applications to the information needed to assist shoppers and improve storefront operations. In its recent Holiday Shopping Study, 58% of those surveyed agreed that they have a better experience when sales associates are using the latest technology to assist them. [See Motorola's Staff Communications and Management Solution] -- Posted Monday, January 13, 2014

Panasonic announces future product expansion with Microsoft Windows Embedded 8 Handheld at NRF2014 EXPO
Today at the 2014 2014 National Retain Federation industry show, Panasonic announced that it’s working closely with Microsoft to deliver future enterprise-class mobile devices based on the Windows Embedded 8 Handheld platform. The collaboration will enable Panasonic to expand its rugged mobile computing portfolio with innovative new handheld devices bringing Windows Phone 8 technologies to enterprise customers. -- Posted Monday, January 13, 2014

Dell Rugged Mobility: What really makes a mobile device screen usable and readable outdoors?
Understanding the underlying elements of outdoor readable screens can help you to select the right mobile device for your operating conditions. Dell Rugged Mobility's director of marketing, Patrick Seidensticker, explains the various aspects of outdoor viewable displays, what to look out for, and the importance of reflectivity. Dell long has offered some of the best outdoor viewable displays in their rugged ATG and XFR notebooks. [Read What Really Makes A Mobile Device Screen Readable Outdoors?] -- Posted Monday, January 13, 2014

Datalogic to preview the next-gen Memor X3 handheld
Datalogic announced that at the 2014 National Retain Federation show, which takes place January 12-15, 2014 in New York City, the company will debut the Memor X3, the next generation of its very small and handy mobile handheld computer. The Memor X3 will be faster, have twice the storage, longer battery life, a larger screen, and numerous other improvements. -- Posted Saturday, January 11, 2014

Crystal Group boosts standard warranty to five years
Crystal Group Inc., a manufacturing partner of rugged commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) custom-developed computers, displays, and storage devices, announced it now offers a standard 5-year warranty (see what it includes) on all its products. The new standard warranty program replaces the old one that covered three years. "Product warranties are an important part of the purchasing decision and this new warranty shows Crystal Group's commitment to quality materials, engineering and craftsmanship," said Crystal Group's President, Scott Kongable. [See press release] -- Posted Saturday, January 11, 2014

Xplore blog: Construction industry reduce safety risks and improve business with rugged tablets
In its latest blog, Xplore Technologies discusses how the construction industry can reduce safety risks and improve business with rugged tablets such as Xlore's super-rugged iX104C5 and their handy new Android-based RangerX. Xplore also makes available a paper on "What is Rugged? -- A guide to Rugged Mobile Device Terms & Testing" (request it here). [Read Xplore blog] -- Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review: Advantech ITA-1610 Compact System
Consumers may replace desktops and notebooks with tablets and smartphones, but boxy compact PCs are more popular than ever in intelligent embedded systems across the globe. They are getting smaller and lighter, too, thanks to advancing technology. RuggedPCReview analyzed the Advantech ITA-1610, a fanless 5-pound Intel Atom D525-based compact system with extensive I/O, and found much to like. [See full review of the Advantech ITA-1610 Compact System] -- Posted Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Toshiba Bright Mode technology will provide high-quality slow motion playback
Toshiba announced it's working on "Bright Mode" CMOS image sensor technology that will enable handhelds and tablets to record full 1080p HD video at 240 frames per second. High frame rates are important for the increasingly valuable slow motion playback, but current technology struggles with providing enough light at short exposure times. Toshiba's Bright Mode quadruples brightness, enabling high-quality slow motion playback that will doubtlessly be of value in professional rugged mobile technology. [See Toshiba press release] -- Posted Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Panasonic announces rugged 7-inch FZ-M1 tablet
At CES in Las Vegas, Panasonic announced their latest rugged tablet, the Toughpad FZ-M1. It's an Intel 4th-gen "Haswell" powered 1.2-pound device with a 1280 x 800 pixel capacitive multi-touch 7-inch IPS display, heated solid state disk, IP65 sealing, a 5-foot drop spec, dual cameras, and a wealth of options that include 4G LTE, GPS, mag stripe reader, 1D/2D scanner, and NFC. The Toughpad FZ-M1 starts at US$2,099. [See description, analysis and specs of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1] -- Posted Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources uses rugged Juniper Allegro MX for invasive fish removal program
Juniper Systems reports that field crews of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) began using the Allegro MX with custom fisheries software from Juniper Systems to conduct an invasive fish removal program. Before switching to the Allegro MX, the Utah DWR crew collected data using a pen and paper. Besides the handheld’s ability to more quickly collect data, the crew found the Allegro MX appealing because of its extreme ruggedness, its sunlight-readable display, integrated GPS, RFID compatibility, and integrated alpha-numeric keyboard. [See Juniper blog entry] -- Posted Monday, January 6, 2014

MobileDemand blog: How paying more for a ruggedized tablet will actually cost less
MobileDemand's latest blog deals with the issue of justifying the higher up-front cost of ruggedized tablets for mobile employees, sales staff and fleet personnel. Often, "soft costs" like device failure, system maintenance and lost revenue and not included in budgets. That's a mistake many companies, including law enforcement agencies and field service units, make. The blog shows how rugged tablets can actually cost less. [Read MobileDemand bog] -- Posted Friday, January 3, 2014

What happend in rugged computing 5 years ago: January 2009
In January 2009, GD-Itronix released the high-performance "vehicle-rugged" GD6000 rugged notebook, and President Obama supposedly used a rugged, secure General Dynamics Sectera Edge smartphone. DTResearch launched their WebDT 400 Series of handheld POS devices. OQO, a pioneer in tiny Windows computers, promised an Atompowered model 2+ with OLED screen. Trimble added three versions of its super-rugged Nomad 800 handheld. Getac increased its European presence and expected significant increases in military notebook shipments, Panasonic upgraded its CF-19 and CF-30 to Celeron 2 processors, AMD sold its handheld unit to Qualcom, LXE released two new rugged vehicle-mount computers (the VX8 and VX9), Psion Teklogix announced their rugged 2-inch PrintAbout printers, Glacier upgraded its Ridgeline tablet to Core 2 Duo, and the SD Card Association announced the SDXC card standard. [See what happened in rugged computing five years ago in January 2009] -- Posted Wednesday, January 1, 2014

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    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.

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