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

January 2015

Panasonic Toughbook CF31 now with Intel Broadwell power
Panasonic has not seen a need to physically redesign its long-running Toughbook CF31 in many years. The company, however, has kept its flagship rugged notebook computer meticulously current with periodic technology updates. The latest upgrade brings an Intel 5th generation ("Broadwell") Core i5-5300U (see here) processor that also includes Intel HD5500 graphics. The latest CF31 also supports high-speed 802.11ac WiFi and Panasonic states improved battery life of up to 18 hours on the main battery alone. Pricing starts at US$3,699. [See Panasonic press release] -- Posted Thursday, January 29, 2015

They had wireless handhelds back in '94? They did.
Dusting off stuff in the RuggedPCReview archives we came across a bunch of old product review pics for our old Pen Computing print magazine from the dawn of mobile computing. The two little handhelds in the picture are the Motorola Marco and the Motorola Envoy back in 1994. One ran Apple's Newton Intelligence OS, the other General Magic's Magic Cap. Both communicated wirelessly. See our Facebook page for more handheld and tablet pics from 1994 (and like us while you're there!). -- Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Xplore Technologies introduces camera software for Bobcat and XC6 rugged tablets
Xplore Technologies announced Xplore xCapture Pro camera software for its Bobcat and XC6 Windows-based tablet PCs. The new camera software offers photo editing, geotagging and enhanced barcode scanning functionality, reducing the need for additional devices in the field and offers functionality to enhance the productivity of mobile workforces. The Xplore xCapture Pro software is loaded on all currently shipping Bobcat and XC6 models. It is also available for download for existing customers. [See Xplore press release] -- Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Advantech offers handy Industrial Switch Selector Tool
Advantech announced it's new Industrial Switch Selector Tool. The tool is designed to make it easy for customers to quickly locate, filter, examine, configure and compare its lineup of 80+ industrial switch products -- managed and unmanaged, standard up to extreme temperature range, copper or fiber, various power types -- all backed by a 5-year warranty. [See Advantech Industrial Switch Selector Tool] -- Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Microsoft reports promising smartphone and tablet financials
While it doesn't have a direct impact on rugged mobile computing markets, it's interesting to monitor the fortunes of Microsoft's smartphones and Surface tablets, as their success or failure can has an impact on rugged markets that have remained with Microsoft software more than mobile consumer markets. As is, Microsoft reported that for their quarter ending December 31, 2014, they had phone hardware revenue of $2.3 billion, with 10.5 million Lumia units sold driven by growth in affordable smartphones (i.e. low-end ones, not the ones with the super-high res cameras), and that they had Surface revenue of $1.1 billion, up 24%, driven by Surface Pro 3 and accessories. [See Microsoft release] -- Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Heavy duty rugged storage from Winchester Systems
A few decades ago, the term "Winchester" was as synonymous for "hard disk" as "xeroxing" was for making copies. Well, a company named Winchester Systems is still around today, providing rugged high-performance server and storage systems to commercial, government and military clients. The company just introduced the RR1P hardened, field-deployable data storage unit that features a compact and lightweight removable canister holding 24 SSDs with up to 19.2 TB of storage. The RR1P has passed numerous MIL-STD and can handle extreme vibration in part through the use of SSDs instead of HDDs. [See Winchester press release] -- Posted Friday, January 23, 2015

VarTech adds 21.5-inch 1080p rugged Panel PCs
VarTech Systems reports that the company continues to expand its line of industrial grade Panel PCs with the release of the 21.5 inch industrial NEMA 4 (IP65) black powder coat and NEMA 4X (IP66) 316-stainless steel models. The new panels offer full 1080p 1920 x 1080 pixel HD resolution, and are available with various touch screen technologies (including VarTech's Armor Touch), as well as a vast range of processor choices, various display technologies, and numerous configuration options. [See VarTech's industrial Panel PC lineup] -- Posted Thursday, January 22, 2015

Janam introduces rugged handheld with multi-OS support
Janam Technologies introduced the XM5, a rugged handheld weighing just ten ounces. The IP65-sealed XM5, which has a 600 nit 3.5-inch full VGA display and a choice of two different keyboards, combines legacy functionality with current trends by being capable of running both Microsoft Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 or Android 4.2. The XM5 has embedded RFID and NFC reading capabilities and is available with integrated industrial-grade imagers and scanners. [See description, analysis and secs of the Janam XM5] -- Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Spectralink PIVOT 87-Series: rugged 4.3-inch Android enterprise Voice-over-WiFi handheld for when BYOD is not an option
The PIVOT 87-Series from Spectralink may look like a standard Android smartphone, but it's much tougher and primarily designed to provide the best possible voice quality on internal Voice-over-WiFi networks. It's an IT-friendly enterprise communication tool with commercial-class support and deployment management. If Bring-Your-Own-Device is not an option, a Spectralink PIVOT system may well be the solution. [See description, analysis and specs of the Spectralink PIVOT 87-Series] -- Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Datalogic preliminary Q4 2014 sales up 3.8%
Datalogic reports preliminary Q4 2014 revenues of €124.6 million, up 3.8% from Q4 2013. Datalogic's Automatic Data Capture division (which includes the former Datalogic Mobile) saw its revenues grow by 4% to €82.9 million compared to Q4 2013. For all of fiscal 2014, preliminary sales revenues reflect the gradual improvement achieved by the two main divisions, and came in at €464.4 million, with a growth of 3.1% compared to the full fiscal 2013. [See Datalogic financials press release] -- Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Xplore scores another US$2 million order for ultra-rugged tablet
Xplore Technologies announced it has secured a $2 million dollar order for its XC6 DMSR ultra-rugged Windows tablets from a company providing infrastructure services to utility and telecommunication companies. This newest order expands on a relationship with the company that began in 2008. [See Xplore press release] -- Posted Monday, January 19, 2015

RAM's new GDS Technology with IntelliSkin can truly be The Last Dock You'll Ever Need
With tablets and handhelds becoming ever more popular in the workplace, there's an ever greater need to have those devices communicate with desktops and other backend systems. Which usually means numerous docks and cables. RAM Mounts addresses this problem with their new GDS Technology with IntelliSkin. Billed as "The Last Dock You'll Ever Need," GDS sets a new standard in tablet and smartphone docking, mounting and protection. IntelliSkin is custom designed to fit all popular models of tablets and smartphones and features a molded integrated connector making it compatible with any GDS dock. [See RAM's GDS Technology with IntelliSkin] -- Posted Sunday, January 18, 2015

Added: Datalogic Falcon X3+
The Datalogic Falcon is a rugged, conventional flashlight-style Windows CE/Windows Embedded Handheld-based real-time data capture handheld that has recently been upgraded to Falcon X3+ status. The latest version includes a faster processor, more storage, faster WiFi, better sealing, a higher capacity battery, a higher resolution display for WEHH versions, and also a wider selection of 1D scanners or 1D/2D imagers. [See description, analysis and specs of the Datalogic Falcon X3+] -- Posted Sunday, January 18, 2015

Added: Opticon H-32
While consumer smartphones charge ahead at a breathtaking pace, much of the work back in the trenches continues to be done by "legacy" handhelds based on comparatively basic technology. Opticon released such a workhorse tool with its H-32, a no-nonsense handheld for all those unheralded warehousing and inventory managing tasks. [See description, analysis and specs of the Opticon H-32] -- Posted Friday, January 16, 2015

96% of retailers are ready for the Internet-of-Things, according to Zebra Technologies' commissioned survey
Zebra Technologies Corporation, which now includes the former Motorola Solutions Enterprise Business, released survey results that revealed nearly all retailers are ready to make the changes required to adopt the Internet of Things (IoT). The survey, conducted in October 2014 by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Zebra Technologies, also showed that a majority of retailers believe IoT will be the most important technological initiative of the decade. [Read Internet-of-Things Solution Deployment Gains Momentum Among Firms Globally] -- Posted Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winmate G-WIN IP67 19-inch panel
Sometimes one needs something that seems nearly impossible. Like a totally sealed, rugged 19-inch panel computer that also offers Intel Haswell-level performance. Fortunately, that is precisely what Winmate's new G-WIN IP67-sealed 19-inch panel offers. [See description, analysis and specs of the Winmate G-WIN IP67 19-inch Panel PC] -- Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Panasonic introduces robust enterprise-class 7-inch Windows mobile POS tablet with full EMV reader capabilities
Panasonic took the occasion of the 104th annual National Retail Federation Big Show to launch the Toughpad FZ-R1 with integrated EMV reader, billed by the company as the industry's first 7-inch all-in-one mobile POS tablet running Windows 8.1 for retail environments. The Intel Bay Trail N2807-powered tablet also includes MSR, a capacitive ATM-style pad, NFC, and enterprise-class security and management capabilities. [See description, analysts and specs of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-R1] -- Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sabtech changes name to IXI Technology
Sabtech, a designer, manufacturer and supporter of tactical data communications solutions, specialized interface boards, and rugged computer systems for military and government agencies, announced that it has changed its name to IXI Technology. The new name comes on the heels of a change in ownership, and reflects a strategic approach to advanced technology as well as entering new industrial markets. -- Posted Monday, January 12, 2015

Juniper Systems’ Class I, II, & III, Division 2 Archer 2 for hazardous locations now shipping
Juniper Systems' Archer 2 rugged handheld for hazardous locations is now shipping. The Archer 2 Hazloc with its 4.3-inch procap display and 20+ hours of runtime is certified Class I, II, & III, Division 2 for areas where flammable gases, liquids, vapors, dusts, or fibers and flyings may be present. [See Juniper press release and Archer 2 HazLoc PDF brochure] -- Posted Monday, January 12, 2015

Peter M. Poulin appointed CEO of Motion Computing
Motion Computing announced it has appointed Peter M. Poulin, who has served as Motion’s vice president of marketing since July 2012, as its Chief Executive Officer. With more than 25 years of sales, marketing and general management experience in the public and private sectors, Mr. Poulin will capitalize on the company’s deep mobility expertise to expand Motion’s reach within target vertical markets. Our deep domain expertise radically reduces deployment risks, and users are able to complete their work more efficiently, accurately, and safely. Companies benefit by lowering their operational costs, preserving their existing investments in IT infrastructure, and improving customer service levels.” Poulin said. [See Motion press release] -- Posted Monday, January 12, 2015

Honeywell shows retail back-of-store operations and point-of-sale technologies at 2015 NRF
Honeywell said it will unveil an innovative new suite of Voyager scanners, designed to empower retailers to better connect with customers and minimize checkout time, at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Big Show in New York City. The new scanner products, as well as Honeywell’s full portfolio of retail solutions, including an in-store voice workflow solution running on Honeywell’s next generation mobile platform supporting the Microsoft® Windows Embedded 8.1 and Android 5.0 operating systems, will be on display in booth #2735. -- Posted Monday, January 12, 2015

Datalogic presents new retail technology at NRF 2015
At NRF in New York, Datalogic demonstrated the Magellan multi-plane advanced imaging scanner/scales, the Jade Automated Scanner, their new Joya X2 self-shopping device, the Falcon X3+ and Memor X3 mobile computers, as well as the Heron handheld imager. "Datalogic brought bar code technology to the retail checkout over 40 years ago revolutionizing the checkout process and solidifying Datalogic as a worldwide leader in data capture technology," stated Bill Parnell, CEO and President of Datalogic ADC. -- Posted Monday, January 12, 2015

What happened in rugged computing 5 years ago: January 2010
In January 2010, RAM announced its MDT-Mate vehicle mounting solution. ABI Research said ARM-based processor platforms would overtake the x86 chips by 2013. Xplore launched a military version of its iX104C4 rugged tablet. A Justice Assistance Grant was used to buy GD-Itronix computers for the Butte, Montana, Police Department. Getac opened a sales office in Germany, and announced a 5-year warranty. LXE upgraded its VX8 Kärf and VX9 Förj vehicle-mounts. MobileDemand announced the ultra-compact xTablet 7000. UPS and Honeywell teamed on a next-gen UPS delivery handheld. Intel showed Wireless Display Technology. Analyst firm Morningstar praised Motorola for buying Symbol in 2007. Oh, and Apple announced the iPad. -- Posted Friday, January 9, 2015

Winmate's M101 rugged tablet now available with Android
Winmate announced that as of January 2015, their popular thin-and-light M101 rugged tablet computer platform will also be available in an Android version. The Android 4.2-based M101M4 tablet shares the design, dimensions and 10.1-inch display with the initial Microsoft Windows-based M101B/H, but not the internal electronics which are optimized for Android. [See description, analysis and specs of the Winmate M101M4 rugged Android tablet] -- Posted Thursday, January 8, 2015

Full review: 5.5-inch ARBOR Gladius 5 rugged Android handheld
With the Android-powered Gladius 5, ARBOR Technology provides an interesting, elegant-but-rugged 5.5-inch/270 dpi "phablet" handheld suitable for emerging Internet of Things projects, but also as a technologically advanced multi-purpose dual-SIM handheld for numerous warehousing, transportation, healthcare, mPOS and general industrial and enterprise deployments. And its starting price is no higher than that of an iPhone 6 Plus. [See full review of the ARBOR Gladius 5] -- Posted Thursday, January 8, 2015

DigitTimes: Rising demand for enterprise tablets
DigiTimes reports an increase in enterprise-oriented tablets as large consumer smartphones and market saturation are slowing consumer tablet demand. Digitizes does not see a surge in demand for enterprise tablet, but a stable shipping performance. [See DigiTimes] -- Posted Thursday, January 8, 2015

Xplore XC6 drop test engineering notes
The engineering team at Xplore Technologies has been designing and engineering rugged tablet PCs for more than a decade. Through 17 years of focused research, development and refinement, Xplore has tested numerous tablet prototypes using their in-house testing facilities located in Austin, Texas. A blog entry discusses their methods and includes an impressive drop test video. [See Xplore XC6 drop test engineering notes] -- Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Comark to exhibit at Surface Navy Symposium 2015
Comark, a provider of high performance, mission critical computer and display solutions, said it will be exhibiting at the Surface Navy Symposium on January 13th - 15th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Crystal City, Virginia. Surface Navy Association (SNA) is specifically designed to promote communication between the Military and Business communities who share a common interest in Naval Surface Warfare and to support the activities of Surface Naval Forces. [See Comark press release] -- Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Full review: Advantech ARK-3500 IPS with PCI/PCIe expansion
The Advantech ARK-3500 is a compact, fanless industrial PC specifically designed for those who need either PCI or PCIe expansion in their project. The ARK-3500 offers excellent onboard connectivity and a considerable range of Intel Ivy Bridge processor options as well as storage options, so as to suit the largest variety of possible deployments possible. [See full review of the Advantech ARK-3500 industrial PC] -- Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2015

TCI to relaunch Palm as Silicon Valley company
Chinese electronics giant TCL announced that it has purchased the Palm trademark from HP and intends to relaunch Palm in the form of a US-based subsidiary. What that means, exactly, is unclear. TCL has smartphone expertise (they sell Alcatel OneTouch phones), but many of Palm's patents and technologies are now either gone or rest with different companies. Simply reusing the name of a once great brand doesn't necessarily guarantee success, but the prospect of a new Palm is at least intriguing. Rugged handheld historians will remember, though, the Palm-based rugged Symbol SPT 1550 and SPT 1800. -- Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Getac sees revenue growth in 2014
According to DigiTimes, Getac Technology announced revenues of US$55 million for December 2014, up 23% compared to December 2013, rounding out 2014 with US$508 million in annual revenue, up 8% from 2013. About 45% of Getac's revenue is from rugged and IT product lines, 40% from chassis and internal parts, 15% from aerospace- and automobile-related components. Getac expects revenues from the rugged PC business to continue growing in 2015. Digitizes says that Getac is currently the third largest rugged PC vendor worldwide, following Panasonic and Dell. -- Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Intel unveils 5th gen "Broadwell" U-Series processors
Intel announced the 5th gen of Core processors for notebooks and similar. Codenamed "Broadwell" and using 14nm process technology, the initial lineup includes 14 mobile processors with 15 and 28 watt watt TDPs. Sold as "U Series" processors (as opposed to the already announced "Y" Series for tablets and ultrabooks), Broadwell-U has 1/3 more transistors on a die that over 1/3 smaller. Compared to Haswell, graphics can be up to 25% faster, video conversion up to 50% faster, and there's lower power draw. Integrated GPUs are now Intel HD Graphics 5500, HD Graphics 6000, and Iris Graphics 6200, the latter having EDRAM (embedded DRAM) and increased 3D performance. These enable 4K Ultra HD display, enhanced decode support for VP8, VP9 and HEVC, and support for DX 11.2, OpenCL 2.0 and OpenGL 4.3. Initial Broadwell-U chips come in dual-core/quad-thread i3/i5/i7 as well as dual core/dual thread Celeron and Pentium levels. Two new differentiations are i5 vPro and i7 vPro. [See Intel 5th gen fact sheet] -- Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winmate ultra-wide temperature range embedded rack server
Rack servers — those slim full-service PCs that can be inserted and stacked into standardized stationary or mobile racks — need to be rugged, too. Winmate knows that and offers its Intel Ivy Bridge powered 2U-size IV7 embedded server PC in an extremely wide -40 to 158° Fahrenheit operation temperature range. [See Winmate IV7 Embedded Server PC] -- Posted Monday, January 5, 2015

RuggedPCReview welcomes JLT Mobile Computers as its newest industry sponsor
RuggedPCReview is pleased to welcome JLT Mobile Computers as our newest industry sponsor, helping us spread the word of rugged, durable computing equipment, reporting on news and developments, and providing the industry's most detailed product reviews. JLT, a developer of rugged mobile computers for demanding environments, has been around since 1994, and has shipped over 90,000 rugged computers. Based in Sweden, JLT recently launched a US subsidiary in Tempe, Arizona, from where it will handle sales, services and staging of its vehicle mount terminals across the North American market. -- Posted Thursday, January 1, 2015

Full review: Ultra-rugged and now Intel Haswell-based Winmate IH83 tablet PC retains classic look and legacy support
The boxy, no-nonsense Winmate IH83 provides full Windows functionality in a classic ultra-rugged tablet form factor. Powered by an Intel "Haswell" processor, this latest version of Winmate's classic ultra-rugged provides four to five times the performance of earlier versions, and it does so without the need of a fan. It gets up to 7 hours of battery life, feels nearly indestructible and overall offers a significantly updated version of Winmate's tough, non-nonsense workhorse tablet platform that's now technologically state-of-the without losing its legacy support, simplicity, and straightforward design. [See full review of the Winmate IH83 Ultra-Rugged Tablet PC] -- Posted Thursday, January 1, 2015

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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.

    "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."