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

February 2009

Review: RMT Duros 1214 fixed-mount computer
The Duros 1214 is the latest addition to RMT Inc.'s line of rugged and highly configurable vehicle-mount and fixed-mount computers. Equipped with a bright 12.1-inch SVGA resistive touch screen and a low-power processor, the Duros 1214 comes with up to 64GB of CompactFlash. The machine can be equipped with integrated Bluetooth and WiFi, and there are highly effective dual-diversity antennas. Built to run a variety of different operating systems, this rugged fixed-mount PC is primarily geared towards use in warehousing and shipping environments, but certainly has application in a variety of other areas. [Read full review of the RMT Duros 1214] -- Posted Friday, February 27, 2009

VIA introduces tiny industrial Box PC
VIA Technologies, Inc, which is best known for its power-efficient x86 processor platforms and has recently gotten into panel PCs, announced the tiny VIA AMOS-3000, which is the company's first embedded box computer and designed for a range of x86 applications such as gaming, digital signage, industrial automation and in-car entertainment. [Read description and specs of the VIA AMOS-3000 industrial Box PC] -- Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009

Australian freight company uses Intermec CN3
Intermec seems to be on a roll with its CN3. Australian freight pickup and distribution service provider Coastal Midwest Transport is implementing its new Transporta dispatch system with the help of Interdev and Intermec CN3 units from Gamma Solutions. The GPS-enabled, Windows CE 5.0-based CN3 units scan barcodes and assessment notes, track proof of delivery signatures, then forwarded the data for real-time tracking of freight logistics. [See description on Industrial IT] -- Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fujitsu releases tech backgrounder on touch sensor technologies
Fujitsu Microelectronics America published a tech backgrounder entitled "Touch Sensor Controller Technology and Application Trends" that reviews the capacitive technologies used in touch-sensor controllers, and discusses the choices available for optimizing results in various applications. The paper details the differences between analog and digital touch solutions, discusses different sensing applications, and analyzes general industry trends. Go to Fujitsu Touch Sensor Technology Backgrounder download page] -- Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009

Life safers: Kingston miniSD and microSD Card adapters
With memory card standards proliferating and the various electronics we use requiring different cards of all sizes, it's sometimes difficult to keep everything compatible. This is where Kingston Technology's various SD, miniSD, microSD and USB readers and adapters come in handy. Learn about some of their latest adapters and cards, and get a primer on all the card standards. [Read about Kingston memory card adapters and readers, and various card standards] -- Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lenovo designates eight ThinkPads for use in "semi-rugged" areas
Lenovo is designating eight ThinkPad laptops for use in "field and vehicle semi-ruggedized computing environments" such as public safety, utilities, construction and the military. The ThinkPad X200, X301, X200s, X200 Tablet, T400, T500, R400 and SL300 laptops meet a number of military specifications tests and are enhanced with other durability features. Lenovo is also adding an optional 680-nit high-bright panel to its T400 laptop. Lenovo also states that, based on posted website info, its ThinkPad laptops pass more military specifications compared to Dell’s ATG laptops and Panasonic’s business-rugged and semi-rugged laptops. [See Lenovo's "semi-rugged" press release] -- Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New: Trimble Tablet for Construction
Trimble introduced the new Trimble Tablet for Construction, a rugged, versatile and fully connected handheld computer for heavy and highway and marine construction professionals. The Trimble Tablet is an integral component of the Trimble Connected Site portfolio of productivity-enhancing technology solutions to streamline construction workflows between the head office, field crews, site supervisors and earthmoving machines. [Read release and specs of the Trimble Tablet for Construction] -- Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Transcend adds to their Solid State Drive lineup
As solid-state storage is making increasing inroads in rugged and other applications, Transcend is adding to its complete line of SSD products including its new 1.8” portable SSD with either eSATA and USB connection interfaces in capacities of up to 128GB, and also 1.8" and 2.5" SATA-II and IDE interface SSDs with up to 192GB storage capacity. [See Transcend's SSD Center] -- Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Trimble to support Iditarod with rugged Nomad and Yuma computers
Trimble announced that it is the official provider of outdoor rugged computers for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race—The Toughest Race on Earth. Iditarod race officials will use the Trimble Nomad™ handhelds and the new Yuma™ rugged tablet computers to help with safety, communications and logistics challenges over the 1,150 mile race through the heart of the Alaskan wilderness which is scheduled to begin March 7. -- Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Saudi Post selects Intermec CN3 to improve efficiency and service
Saudi Post, the leading provider of mail and parcel delivery services in Saudi Arabia, has awarded Intermec Technologies a contract to equip its postal delivery team with CN3 mobile computers and add-on IP30 handheld RFID readers. Saudi Post will use the RFID and GPS-equipped CN3s to replace three separate devices – a handheld device with an RFID reader, Automatic Vehicle Location hardware for tracking vehicles and an in-vehicle computer to display the navigation application, resulting in considerable savings in cost and time. In addition, the ruggedness of the CN3 allows for unexpected drops without damage or data loss. This contract is the latest in a series of major postal wins for Intermec.
-- Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Review: Advantech ARK-3399 Box PC
There are situations that require a specially configured PC hardware solution in a compact, rugged enclosure that fits into the tightest spaces. That's the market for systems like the fanless, all-aluminum Advantech ARK-3399 Box PC. It can supply Core 2 Duo computing power, digital IO, speedy SATA disks, LVDS and run either conventional or embedded operating systems. [See review and specs of the Advantech ARK-3399 rugged Box PC] -- Posted Monday, February 23, 2009

General Dynamics to move rugged business to Florida
General Dynamics, a major defense contractor with US$29.3 billion in sales and US$2.48 billion in profit in 2008, announced it will phase out its current rugged mobile computer manufacturing and service facility in Spokane, Washington by the end of 2009 and operate the business out of Sunrise, Florida where the company's C4 Systems division set up a new engineering design center in 2008. -- Posted Monday, February 23, 2009

Socket Mobile reports record revenue for 2008
Socket Mobile, Inc. reported revenue for the 2008 full year totaled a record $26.6 million, a 10% increase over revenue of $24.1 million for 2007. Socket Mobile said, "...customer response to our SoMo 650 handheld mobile computer has been excellent and we expect the SoMo to continue to increase its market acceptance. Since the introduction of the SoMo in 2007, we have shipped more than 10,000 units and unit sales have grown in every quarter. For the 2008 full year, SoMo sales grew to $4.7 million, compared to $1.3 million in 2007. -- Posted Friday, February 20, 2009

Trimble introduces Yuma rugged tablet computer
Trimble introduced the Yuma, an innovative rugged tablet computer based on the 1.6GHz Atom N270 platform. The Yuma has a 1024 x 600 pixel 7-inch touchscreen, 32GB solid-state disk, runs Windows Vista Business, measures 9 x 5.5 x 2 inches, and weighs about 2.6 pounds. It has integrated GPS, of course, and also two internal cameras, both capable of geo-tagging GPS information to images. Overall, the Yuma is essentially a rugged tablet version of the currently popular "netbook" platform. (See detailed description and specs of the Trimble Yuma] -- Posted Friday, February 20, 2009

Workshop on the Impact of Pen-Based Technology on Education
A Workshop on the Impact of Pen-Based Technology on Education will be held October 12-13, 2009 at The Inn at Virginia Tech. A call for papers and videos has been posted at the wipte website. -- Posted Friday, February 20, 2009

Microsoft announces Windows Mobile 6.5 and app store
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft announced Windows Mobile 6.5 that includes "an improved user interface that includes touch and other interaction modalities" by "stitching together the PC, the phone, and the web and bringing them closer together into a more seamless and simpler user experience." There's a new home screen and speedier access to major apps. Browsing is said to be better (including Flash Lite 3.1 support) on what from now on will simply be called "Windows phones." Microsoft also announced the Windows Marketplace for Windows phones. WinMo 6.5 phones will arrive this summer. [Read Microsoft press release for Mobile Congress 2009] Our take: Cosmetic improvements and emphasis on phones will do little to help Microsoft in the mobile space where Apple's elegance has redefined the market. What's needed is a deeper overhaul of all of Windows CE. -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Toshiba to take over Fujitsu hard drive business
Fujitsu’s hard disk drive business will go to Toshiba in the form of a new Toshiba Group subsidiary. This will enable Toshiba to reinforce its strong position in small form factor HDDs (2.5-inch and smaller HDDs), and also give Toshiba entry into the enterprise HDD market where Fujitsu is currently a leader. This will allow Toshiba to further enlarge its solid state drive (SSD) business by developing SSD products for servers and enterprise storage systems, fusing Toshiba’s NAND flash memory technology with Fujitsu’s enterprise HDD technology. This move is expected to spur expansion of the rapidly expanding SSD market. -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009

LAN-based electronic locks for wall-mount PCs
Proximity Systems will announce the availability of the LAN Based Electronic Lock Management System for use in its retractable, wall-mounted WorkStations at the 2009 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition. The new locking system simplifies and streamlines making user and lock changes and offers reporting and audit capability to Proximity Systems' retractable wall-mounted computer workstations. Many older multi-compartment workstations can also be retrofitted with the new locking system. -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Meanwhile, Fujitsu banks on WiMAX
Fujitsu Microelectronics America introduced its newest Mobile WiMAX baseband IC, a low-power, small- footprint device designed for the mobile PC market. The new IC incorporates a USB interface so designers can develop WiMAX USB adapters. SPI and SDIO interfaces also are included. Fujitsu expects expect mobile WiMAX to become a key broadband wireless access technology in many portable devices like MIDs, UMPCs, netbooks, tablets and low-cost handsets for emerging markets. [See Fujitsu WiMAX press release] -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Qualcomm's upcoming Mobile Station Modem to support multi-mode 3G/LTE
Qualcomm introduced the industry's first chipset solution for supporting CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev. B and Simultaneous Voice-Data Operation (SV-DO), as well as multi-carrier HSPA+ and LTE. The Mobile Station Modem MSM8960 chipset won't be available before mid-2010 but Qualcomm feels that multi-mode 3G/LTE chipsets will be crucial to smooth deployments of LTE by operators looking to complement their existing 3G networks. [Read full press release]
-- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ARM Cortex-A9 multi processing on Symbian OS
The mobile processor platform wars are heating up! ST-Ericsson announced it will demonstrate the world's first Symmetric Multi Processing (SMP)-enabled mobile platform running on Symbian OS at a private event at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona. The technological breakthrough is based on the ARM Cortex-A9 multicore processor, which represents a significant leap from previous generations of baseband/application processor architectures by providing unprecedented levels of performance and power efficiency. [Read press release on ARM-based multiprocessing] -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SIM card with integrated accelerometer and temperature sensing
Swedish Oberthur Technologies, a provider of Smart Card based solutions, announced SIMSense - a motion-detection SIM card that incorporates accelerometer and temperature sensors. SIMSense potentially allows interesting new functionality such as answering calls, sending predetermined text messages, menu selection via shaking or tapping, or emergency responses. -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Marvell technology adds FM to upcoming handheld devices
Marvell, custodian of the former Intel XScale PXA processors and engaged in storage, communications, and consumer silicon solutions announced that its FM transmitter and receiver technologies are optimized for integration in smaller and power-efficient multi-radio devices for upcoming cellular handheld devices, satellite receivers, and GPS/navigation devices. With full RDS/RBDS support, Marvell's FM receiver and transmitter is designed to both receive FM broadcasts over the air and create a wireless audio link from the device to any FM receiver. We can see this as a useful addition to some rugged mobile devices. -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Added: Stealth Computer StealthBOX Warrior
If a field application requires PCI slot expansion capability, yet requires a rugged, portable system, Stealth Computer offers a number of flexible and hugely configurable lunchbox-sized computers that bring desktop power and connectivity to the job. [Read description and specs of the Stealth Computer StealthBOX Warrior] -- Posted Friday, February 13, 2009

Glacier Ridgeline Q100: rugged PDA
The Glacier Ridgeline Q100 is an ultra-rugged PDA with IP67 sealing designed for data collection under difficult environmental conditions. The PXA270-powered runs either Windows CE 5.0 or Windows Mobile 6.1, offers exceptional onboard connectivity (3 USB, 2 serial, LAN) and numerous wireless options. A 3.7-inch full VGA display is available. [Read description and specs of the Glacier Ridgeline Q100] -- Posted Friday, February 13, 2009

Glacier Ridgeline T600/T650: flexible power
Glacier Computer's Ridgeline tablets were conceived to complement Glacier's line of vehicle-mount computers with a mobile solution rugged enough to survive in harsh environments but light and portable enough to bring standard Windows applications anywhere. The machine has a 10.4-inch touchscreen, a numeric keypad, GPS and wireless options, and can be configured for XP Embedded with a low-power VIA processor or with standard XP on a Core 2 Duo CPU. [Read description and specs of the Glacier Ridgeline T600/T650 rugged tablet computer] -- Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rugged Mentor Ranger tablet certified for Alltel
Mentor Engineering announced the certification of its Windows CE-based Ranger vehicle-mount tablet computer on the Alltel Wireless network. Alltel Wireless serves over 13 million customers across 34 states, including hard-to-service rural areas. Combined with Mentor's BBX wireless modem/AVL/telematic data collection device, the Ranger can be used in Vehicle Tracking and Monitoring systems. [See description and specs of the Mentor Ranger] -- Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009

GETAC line of rugged PCs now available through HP
GETAC announced it has finalized an arrangement with HP to supply – and service – its rugged computer products to the company’s 3rd Party Solution group. Effective immediately, Getac will supply rugged and durable mobile computing systems and services to HP as a Premium Partner to meet the demands of several field-based applications. Under this arrangement, enterprise and industry-specific organizations can acquire Getac-branded rugged notebooks, convertible/slate tablets, handhelds and in-vehicle solutions through HP’s direct sales teams and channel partners. [See GETAC products available through HP]
-- Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009

ADLINK introduces rugged MilSystem 800 military computer
ADLINK, a supplier of trusted embedded systems, announced the MilSystem 800 Extreme Rugged COTS military computer for stationary, mobile, and airborne military applications. The MilSystem 800 builds on the company's RuffSystem 800 but uses MIL-STD-D38999 connectors instead of conventional PC connectors. The fanless design measures 8 x 10 x 3 inches, has been tested to MIL-STD-810 for shock and vibration, and can handle an extremely wide temperature range of -40 to +167 degrees Fahrenheit. It uses solid state memory and runs standard and embedded operating systems on a variety of Intel processors. -- Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dell updates Latitude Tablet PC, enhances multi-touch
Dell released a tech update to its ultra-light Latitude XT Tablet PC convertible. The XT2 switches to Centrino 2 technology with increased performance, better battery life, potentially enhanced security, and also enhancements to the multi-touch capabilities provided by the unit's N-trig DuoSense touch screen/digitizer. The XT2 is an attractive, albeit quite costly, product geared towards enterprise markets. [Read description and specs of the multi-touch enabled Dell Latitude XT2] -- Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009

N-trig Introduces enhanced multi-touch functionality
N-trig, providers of DuoSense technology combining pen and capacitive touch in a single device, announced, in collaboration with Dell, the launch of the Latitude XT2 notebook PC convertible with an enhanced suite of multi-touch functionality. In addition to the current multi-touch gestures — zoom, scroll and double tap — the Latitude XT2 includes rotate capabilities allowing users to turn pictures, documents and other media on the screen using two-finger rotate gestures. [See n-Trig release] -- Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Intel to invest $7 billion in U.S. manufacturing facilities
Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini announced the company would spend $7 billion over the next two years to build advanced manufacturing facilities in the United States. The investment funds deployment of Intel's industry-leading 32 nanometer manufacturing technology that will be used to build faster, smaller chips that consume less energy. Current chips, such as the Atom, use 45nm technology. -- Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Panasonic upgrades Toughbook CF52, adds touch screen
In another round of updates to its semi-rugged Toughbook CF-52, Panasonic added a 13.3-inch touch screen option with a super-bright 1000 nit sunlight-viewable display with anti-reflective and anti-glare properties. The upgrades also include improved security and remote management, expanded memory, longer battery life, and optional Gobi global mobile Internet. 15.4-inch wide displays with resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 are available. The Toughbook 52 has an estimated street price starting at $1,699 and the touchscreen version starts at $2,549. [See description and specs of the Panasonic Toughbook CF-52] -- Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Intermec releases 2008 Q4 and full year financials
Given the difficult economic times, Intermec reported good financials for 2008: Fourth quarter 2008 revenues were $221 million and net earnings were $9.1 million, compared to 2007 fourth quarter revenues of $253 million and net earnings of $16.4 million. Fiscal year 2008 revenues were $891 million and net earnings from continuing operations were $35.5 million, compared to 2007 revenues of $849 million and net earnings from continuing operations of $24.3 million. The company’s cash and cash equivalents at the end of the fourth quarter totaled $221 million. During the year the company paid off $100 million of debentures and ended the year with no debt. -- Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fujitsu expands HSUPA wireless support on tablets and convertibles
Fujitsu announced expanded support for high-speed connectivity on some of its LifeBook notebooks and tablet PCs. The LifeBook T5010, T1010, P1630 and T2020 convertible Tablet PCs join the LifeBook U820 convertible mini notebook in providing built-in access to AT&T's BroadbandConnect High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) network. The LifeBook T5010 Tablet PC and the LifeBook E8420 notebook will support EVDO in the second quarter of 2009. -- Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Motion and Sig-Tec partner to provide access management solutions to healthcare
Motion Computing and Sig-Tec, a leader in identity and access management software solutions, announced they created a partnership to deliver solutions for mobility, information security and clinical workflow. The partnership comes after several joint client initiatives at major healthcare and academic organizations where the companies implemented solutions that improve workflows, free up resources and improve patient experiences. -- Posted Monday, February 2, 2009

RMT Duros 1214: Rugged 12-inch fixed-mount computer
The Duros 1214 is the latest addition to a line of rugged and highly configurable vehicle-mount and fixed-mount computers made by one of the most respected manufacturers in the business. The platform was designed from the ground up for ease-of-use and the ability to hold up in a variety of demanding warehousing, shipping and other industrial applications. The aluminum-bodied Duros 1214 has a 12-inch touch screen and is unusually compact and light for a machine of this type, with a footprint of just 12.0 x 9.5 inches and weighing under eight pounds. [See RMT Duros 1214] -- Posted Sunday, February 1, 2009

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