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

February 2006

RF Code adds low cost 433 MHz tag and readers
RF Code, Inc., has added the 433 MHz Mantis Asset Tag and 433 MHz Mantis Reader to its Mantis II product lineup. The 433 MHz line offers the lowest cost active tag at prices far below comparable systems, as well as the only 10+ year tag battery life for 433 MHz RFID products in the market. The 433 MHz frequency is widely allocated for use throughout the world, allowing RF Code's new asset tags and readers to be used in a broader number of countries. -- Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Seagate introduces hard drives optimized for digital video security
Seagate announced a hard drive specifically designed for the commercial video security market ($4.5B worldwide at the factory level). The SV35 Series offers up to 500GB of storage, good for up to 23 days of high quality continuous video recording. The drives can be tuned to be video or data specific at any given time. A low start-up current enables use of low cost power supplies and the drives can spin down into power saving mode where more efficient system cooling improves overall system reliability. This is a great example of the industry providing dedicated vertical market products catering to special and specific needs. [see full release] -- Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sybase offers free RFID University webcasts
iAnywhere, a subsidiary of Sybase, unveiled RFID University, a series of free technical webcasts targeted at RFID developers. The goal of the program is to educate developers on various aspects of RFID development to enable them to jumpstart their RFID projects. -- Posted Monday, February 27, 2006

Know WHERE your passive RFID tags are
Ekahau Inc. and Symbol announced a solution to help organisations more efficiently track the location of inventory and assets with RFID tages. The first implementation of this new application will use Symbol's MC9000 mobile computing RFID reader, which incorporates Ekahau location-enabling software designed to locate WHERE RFID tags are being read. The MC9000 integrates Ekahau's location-tracking software which, in conjunction with a computer running the Ekahau Positioning Engine 3.1 (EPE) application, uses existing Wi-Fi networks to show in real-time the location of the devices. -- Posted Monday, February 27, 2006

Microsoft unveils Vista lineup; Tablet PC folded into some versions
Microsoft announced the product lineup of its upcoming Windows Vista OS, to be released later this year. The lineup consists of six versions, two for businesses, three for consumers, and one for emerging markets: Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Starter. Microsft states, "the lineup is designed to deliver clear value to a broad range of customers, each product tailored to meet specific needs of various segments of customers -- home PC users, small and medium-sized businesses and the largest enterprises -- and is aimed at bringing 64-bit, Media Center and Tablet PC functionality into the mainstream." The Business, Home Premium, and Ultimate versions will contain the Windows Tablet PC technology. -- Posted Monday, February 27, 2006

Symbol reports ok financials, management changes
Symbol Technologies reported revenue for the year ending December 31, 2005, was $1.77 billion, compared with $1.73 billion for 2004. 2005 net earnings were $32.2 million, or $0.13 per share, compared with net earnings of $81.8 million, or $0.33 per share, in 2004. Bedeviled with ongoing legal expenses of $7-9 million per quarter, Symbol also announced a series of management changes. Our take: We hope Symbol will soon get back to making news with its innovative mobile technology products instead of seemingly endless legal matters. -- Posted Friday, February 24, 2006

Philadelphia county uses Motorola ML 900 rugged computers
A suburban Philadelphia county is rolling out improved data communication for its police and fire departments as well as its ambulance crews with the installation of $5 million in ruggedized mobile laptop computers from Motorola, Inc.. Chester County, based in West Chester, Pa., is home to 450,000 residents who reside in 73 municipalities. The county's Department of Emergency Services purchased the Motorola system and 685 Motorola laptop computers to upgrade the way emergency responders receive and share information in the field. 100 Motorola ML 900 ruggedized laptop computers purchased for Emergency Medical Services vehicles are already installed and were deployed last September. Police vehicles serving the county are now being fitted with the rugged computers and installation in fire vehicles will follow. When completed later, the 57 fire companies and 44 municipal police forces serving the county will be seamlessly linked to the countywide data system. "This opens a whole new era for us in data sharing. The ambulance crews are impressed with the amount of data they can store and the mapping and GPS (Global Positioning System) capabilities," said Ed Atkins, director of emergency services for Chester County. -- Posted Thursday, February 23, 2006

Rugged case for the HP iPAQ 6500 Pocket PC Phone
Otter Products, LLC. introduces the OtterBox 1910, an interactive, waterproof case designed for the HP iPAQ 6500. With this case, users have an innovative convergent technology solution -- a phone, PDA, keypad, GPS and a rugged device all in one. The OtterBox 1910 provides access to all major functions on the 6500 including sync/charge, SD Slot, headset jack, and keypad. A clear window on the back allows use of the 6500's camera and flash through the case, taking crisp photos even in the rain! The 6500's keypad also remains operable with direct push activation through the 1910 and an external stylus holder adds convenience. Retail for the 1910 is $129.95. -- Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Intermec and ADC Technologies simplify mobile warehouse operations
Long available to large companies, the power of mobile warehouse operations is now available to small and midsized companies that use Microsoft Dynamics GP Distribution Software, thanks to collaboration between Intermec Inc. and ADC Technologies Group. The combination of Intermec's CK60 rugged mobile computer and ADC's QuickStart Warehouse Mobility Kit, featuring ADC's x10DATA Mobile software, brings every aspect of warehouse operations—sales order processes, purchase orders, and inventory control card and transaction screens—directly to the mobile user. -- Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Florida county selects Bio-key mobile biometric ID system
BIO-key International, Inc., a leader in finger-based biometric identification and wireless public safety solutions, announced that Hillsborough County Fire Rescue has contracted BIO-key to enhance its fire records management system. The addition of the FireRMS Mobile solution will support the Fire Marshal's Inspection Unit by automating building inspections. The new mobile solution will allow personnel to streamline field reporting, comply fully with national reporting guidelines, and will provide a platform designed for expansion as the department's needs change. -- Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006

George Weston Bakeries selects Apacheta RouteACE and VisualACE
Apacheta Corporation,, a provider of revenue management solutions for mobile businesses, announced its selection by George Weston Bakeries (GWB), producer of baked goods such as Entenmann's, Thomas' and Stroehmann. George Weston chose Apacheta to provide them with revenue management solutions based on Apacheta's dynamic RouteACE software. Apacheta will supply GWB's delivery personnel, which consists of approximately 5,000 drivers with RouteACE. The pilot is scheduled to start using the base processes included in RouteACE and customized using Apacheta's VisualACE tool for business process design and deployment. RouteACE and VisualACE provide a flexible infrastructure that can be easily adjusted to meet the specific needs of individual delivery route. -- Posted Monday, February 20, 2006

TDS switches rugged Ranger handheld to Windows Mobile 5.0
Tripod Data Systems (TDS) announced that Windows Mobile 5.0 will replace Windows Mobile 2003 in its Ranger rugged handheld computer. 5.0 supports numerous additional features that improve efficiency and reliability. Comprehensive persistent storage eliminates the need for a RAM file system or Sprite Backup. Windows Mobile 5.0 also unlocks the USB host functionality of the Ranger's standard USB port. The new OS version offers additional features, improved reliability, and modern developer support and tools. [see Ranger capsule review] [see Ranger update at TDS site] -- Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Toshiba releases M400 Tablet PC with optical drive
Toshiba released its third generation Tablet PC convertible, the Portege M400. Like its Portege 3500 and M200 predecessors, the new notebook is an ultra-portable. It comes with a 12.1 inch wide-angle viewing XGA display (1400 x 1050 hi-res optional) and weighs just 4.5 pounds. The big news is the inclusion of a media bay that can accommodate the standard CD-RW/DVD drive, a DVD SuperMulti drive, or a second hard drive. Toshiba also upgraded the hardware with Intel's latest trio of Centrino technology components, including a Core Solo T1300 processor and 802.11a/b/g WiFi. The M400 also gets greatly enhanced security, both in the form of shock protection and via the Trusted Platform Module and a fingerprint reader. Prices start at US$1,699. See our detailed preview of the Toshiba M400. -- Posted Friday, February 10, 2006

RFID-based HealthTrax mobile assets tracking
Healthcare Information Technology specialist InfoLogix announced HealthTrax, their new solution for real-time location tracking and management of medical devices. HealthTrax was developed with InfoLogix partner AeroScout, a leader in Wi-Fi based active RFID solutions. HealthTrax is a complete solution for tracking assets and people within hospitals. It includes both RFID asset tags and enterprise software that can be used with standard wireless networks. The system's benefits are a) asset loss prevention (large hospitals lose hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment each year and spend countless hours searching for patient care assets), b) increased asset utilization (many high-value assets go underutilized, c) patient location tracking (knowledge of patient location helps optimize the patient-care process and critical-care patients particularly benefit from RFID location tracking). [see release] -- Posted Friday, February 10, 2006

Sony Ericsson and Panasonic partner to deliver EDGE access to field technicians
Since the introduction of the EDGE-enabled Panasonic Toughbook CF-29 in August 2005, more than 20,000 field technicians have deployed the solution to achieve faster, more efficient customer service. When utilizing the Cingular Wireless EDGE network via Sony Ericsson's GC83 EDGE PC Card, the notebooks can connect to their corporate databases at average speeds of 70 to 135 kilobits per second (kbps), fast enough to download or access critical information such as dispatch orders, customer installation and repair order details, localized software-based network maps, diagnostics and telephone line testing capabilities, as well as product information. -- Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2006

RFID World Conference Feb 27 to March 1
The 4th Annual RFID World Conference will take place February 27th through March 1st at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas, Texas. With almost 200 exhibiting companies, RFID World is the place for the past three years that the entire RFID industry meets, networks, discusses industry challenges, and educates the marketplace. -- Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Hitachi develops tiny RFID chips
Hitachi released details on its smallest RFID chips yet at the Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. The chips are 0.15mm by 0.15mm (about 150th of an inch each side) and they sit on a substrate that is just 7.5 micron thick. That compares to paper that is usually about 100 micron. Despite it's tiny size, the chip has an integrated RFID antenna. While it won't be ready for production for a few years, it's clear that RFID technology will become ubiquitous. -- Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Symbol MC50 handhelds automate California's building code inspection
Countermind, LLC and Symbol Technologies announced that California Home Energy Efficiency Rating Services (CHEERS) has launched HERS Mobile, a first-of-its-kind mobile solution for the energy-efficiency market. Comprising Countermind's Mobile Intelligence software products and Symbol's MC50 Enterprise Digital Assistant (EDA), HERS Mobile automates the inspection process required by California's building code, ENERGY STAR and various utilities when new homes are built. [see release] -- Posted Monday, February 6, 2006

StayinFront CRM solutions on Tablet PCs and PDAs
StayinFront, a provider of enterprise-wide customer relationship management (CRM) applications and decision support tools announced details of the latest release of StayinFront CRM Mobile, which can run as a standalone CRM application or augment an enterprise implementation of StayinFront CRM. Version 9.3 adds features tailored to the needs of remote sales and field workers, including those who rely on PDAs. Organizations can now deploy a broad range of features and functionality in handheld applications for sales and field force automation, customer management, order entry, sample tracking, etc., on a variety of mobile computing hardware supporting Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0. StayinFront CRM Mobile 9.3 also features an enhanced user interface that is task driven and pen optimized, making it ideal for Tablet PCs. StayinFront CRM Mobile supports multiple synchronization technologies including always-on "trickle-mode," timed, and hard connected. -- Posted Monday, February 6, 2006

Rugged Palm device for automotive diagnostics
Shade Tree Software announced the ProDiag HD automotive diagnostic test tool designed with the professional mechanic in mind. It comes with an industrial RDA (Rugged Digital Assistant) running the Palm operating system. This IP67-compliant, hand-held device, based on the Aceeca Meazura, is waterproof and dustproof to stand up to the most demanding shop environments. ProDiag HD can communicate with vehicles using all the physical interfaces in use today: K-Line, J1850 (using Pulse Width Modulation or Variable Pulse Width) and even CAN (Controller Area Network) bus. It comes with an OBD-II software module that can be used for power-train diagnostics on any 1996 or newer vehicle. The OBD-II module implements the full ISO-15031.5 specification and contains the complete ISO-15031.6 list of trouble code descriptions. A VAG (Volkswagen Automotive Group) diagnostic module designed specifically for VWs, Audis and other members of the VW family is also available. -- Posted Thursday, February 2, 2006

Field apps fuel market for rugged keyboards and keypads
The North American market for rugged keyboards and keypads is expected to reach approximately $206 million by 2008, according to a study recently published by VDC. Growth will be driven by high demand for rugged keyboards and keypads in several fast-growing application markets, many of which were irrelevant to rugged products years ago. [see full release] -- Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2006

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