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

February 2010

Students report on Zebra Technologies
Medill Reports, a news source created by graduate journalism students at Northwestern University, published a detailed report on mobile printing specialist Zebra Technologies. -- Posted Friday, February 26, 2010

Advantech launches rugged medically certified patient infotainment terminal
Advantech announced the launch of its multi-function PIT-1501W Patient Infotainment Terminal with a 16:9 aspect ratio wide-format display that provides HDTV-standard 1366 x 768 pixel resolution and therefore allows HDTV viewing with the optional digital TV tuner. The device is powered by an efficient Intel Atom Z530 processor, enabling silent, fanless operation and very low power consumption. Weighing less than ten pounds with the optional handset, and being just 2.5 inches thick, the PIT-1501W can be used and mounted almost anywhere. Based on Windows XP Embedded, the terminal can provide a wide variety of entertainment, diagnostic, information and communications services. The camera-equipped PIT-1501W is rugged, well sealed, easy to clean and disinfect, and offers safety and security features such as LED indicator lights and nurse call button as well as RFID and Smart Card readers. [See Advantech PIT-1501W product page] -- Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waterproof keyboard with brighter, efficient backlighting
Econo-Keys, which makes washable medical peripherals, has redesigned its most popular waterproof keyboard for higher backlight efficiency. The EKB-97-TP is a sealed keyboard that combines a slim footprint case with an integrated touchpad and number pad. Its revised blue LED backlighting has an improved light transmission layer for more even backlight. The keyboard meets IP67 standards to be resistant to dirt, debris and water, so it can easily withstand medical and industrial environments, along with repeated cleaning procedures. [See product page] -- Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Windows Mobile and the vertical markets
While Windows Mobile pretty much has ceased to be a factor in consumer markets, it remains very firmly entrenched in industrial and vertical markets where it may have a market share that's probably larger than that of Windows in desktops and notebooks. The good news is that as long as Microsoft continues to dominate the desktop, the leverage of Windows programming tools and expertise will probably all but guarantee a continuing role for Windows CE and Windows Mobile. That said, the rapid vanishing act of Windows Mobile in the consumer markets simply must be disconcerting to those whose business depends on Windows Mobile. [...more] -- Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Avalue introduces fanless rugged Box PC with two PCI slots
Avalue is releasing a rugged box PC, the Intel Atom N270-powered EPS-AT270-2PCI designed to withstand industrial operation under extreme environment conditions. The device can handle 5 to 140 degrees F, and passes vibration of up to 5 Grms and shock of up to 50 Grms tests. Excellent onboard connectivity and expansion make the EPS-AT270 suitable for a wide array of multi-equipment industrial control connectivity usages. [See Avalue AT270 product page and specs] -- Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010

4G wireless may need extensive infrastructure changes
ADC, a global network infrastructure provider, says traditional methods to provide mobile coverage cannot scale to offer the coverage, capacity and return on invested capital necessary to deliver 4G services. That's because 4G service modulation efficiency varies widely depending on signal strength, so a user less than a kilometer from the nearest base station may get the multi-megabit data service that's advertised, but those farther away won’t see better service than they have today. [Read release] -- Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rising embedded mobile and M2M revenue predicted
According to Juniper Research, revenues from Mobile Connected M2M and Embedded Devices will rise to $18.9 billion globally by 2014, with consumer and commercial telematics and in vehicle applications accounting for over a third of the total. -- Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Crystal Rugged announces rugged tactical computing module
Crystal Group, a veteran-owned designer and manufacturer of rugged COTS computers, displays, embedded systems, and storage devices announced the TCM2 Tactical Computing Module designed to operate in extreme environments. The image shows the TCM2 with its optional expansion base. [See TCM2 product page] -- Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Toshiba updates its convertible Tablet PC to Intel i3/i5/i7
With the availability of Intel's new Core i3/i5/i7 processors, Toshiba has upgraded its venerable M750 Tablet PC convertible (which remains available for now) to the new Portege M780, which is available in several versions with the new Intel chips. The 4.65-lbs machine has a 12.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixel WXGA display with both digitizer and touch. Other tech specs have been upgraded as well and while the M780 is a durable rather than rugged computer, at least the European specs suggest the ability to survive a respectable 3.3-foot drop. Prices start at US$1,279. [See description and specs of the Toshiba Portege M780] -- Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fujitsu selects Cypress TrueTouch solution
Cypress Semiconductor announced that Fujitsu has selected the TrueTouch solution from Cypress to implement the water-resistant touchscreen in some of Fujitsu's Japanese market phones. Cypress’s TrueTouch family, which seems applicable for a wide range of commercial applications, includes single-touch, multitouch and "multitouch all-point" offerings and the company was first to introduce multitouch with an unlimited number of touches. Cypress recently announced its next-gen TMA300 multi-touch all-point family for the most demanding touchscreen applications. [Check out Cypress TrueTouch] -- Posted Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Advantech launches UTC-W101 interactive, self-service touch computer
Advantech announced the launch of its UTC-W101 eService Touch Computer - a fanless Intel Atom Z510P or Z530P-based all-in-one system, featuring a 10.1” wide format LCD panel with a resistive touch screen. The sturdy, rugged UTC-W101, which received the 2010 Taiwan Mark of Excellence Award, was designed for use in a variety of different eService environments. [See Advantech UTC-W101 product page] -- Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A look at Intel's new Core i3/i5/i7 processors and how they will affect rugged computing
Just when most manufacturers of rugged mobile computers have switched from earlier platforms either to Intel Atom or Core processors, Intel raises the ante again with new Atoms and the next generation of Core processors. By now Intel has released some three dozen Core i3/i5/i7 processors as part of the mobile "Calpella" and the not-so-mobile "Piketon" platforms that include "Lynnfield," "Clarkdale," and "Arrandale" processors, including a number designated as embedded processors. They offer some interesting new capabilities and will surely have an impact on rugged computing platforms. [more...] -- Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Review: Fujitsu Lifebook T4410 with multi-touch
Fujitsu was one of the early pioneers in pen computing and has been making tablet computers and pen-enable convertible notebooks ever since. Their experience shows in the latest convertible notebook, the Lifebook T4410. This is a versatile 4.5-pound notebook that offers excellent performance without compromising battery life. The outdoor-viewable 12.1-inch display offers both pen and touch input, and under Windows 7, the multi-touch capabilities are very good. [See full review of the Fujitsu Lifebook T4410] -- Posted Monday, February 15, 2010

First ruggedized WinMo 6.5 PDA
Pharos Science and Applications announced that they have begun shipment of the world's first ruggedized PDA based on Windows Mobile 6.5. The US$529 Pharos 565 has built-in GPS, a 3.5-inch QVGA touchscreen, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IrDA in a ruggedized Windows Mobile 6.5 PDA with a full QWERTY keyboard. The device is based on the 624MHz Marvell PXA310 chip, has 512 MB Flash ROM, and 256 MB DDR SDRAM, carries IP54 sealing and a 5 feet drop spec. [See Pharos 565] -- Posted Friday, February 12, 2010

Handheld and IPWireless sign strategic partnership for public safety & government market
Handheld Group, a supplier of rugged mobile computers, and IPWireless, a provider of 3GPP solutions for new applications and markets, announced a partnership to deliver state-of-the-art products to the fast growing public safety sector. Under the partnership, Handheld will supply ruggedized products, which fully integrate IPWireless 3GPP mobile broadband technology, for use on public safety and government networks. -- Posted Friday, February 12, 2010

Intermec, HealthWyse and Data Capture Solutions partner to improve Point-of-Care
Intermec announced its partnership with HealthWyse and Data Capture Solutions to provide healthcare professionals with access to electronic medical records anytime, anywhere. According to Intermec, using their CN3 ruggedized handheld computers combined with Healthwyse's mobile clinical software and Data Capture Solutions' support has saved customers, like Caritas Home Care, an average of 98 hours of total annual time per healthcare professional (see Caritas case study). -- Posted Friday, February 12, 2010

Panasonic introduces the rugged Toughbook H1 Field
Panasonic introduced a new version of its Toughbook H1 tablet computer, the Toughbook H1 Field. Specially configured for use by field personnel and equipped with a 64GB solid state disk, the H1 Field offers impressive ruggedness specs (6-foot drop, -4 to 140 F temperature range, IP65 sealing), an excellent 10.4-inch sunlight-viewable dual-touch display, and 6-hour battery life thanks to a power-efficient Intel Atom Z540 processor. For data capture there's, depending on the version, a 1D/2D barcode reader, RFID, and a camera as well as smart card and fingerprint readers. Also available: Gobi2000 mobile broadband. [See detailed description and specs of the Panasonic Toughbook H1 Field] -- Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010

Smart Card in microSD format saves cost, space
Mobile systems manufacturers with space constraints that preclude a conventional Smart Card reader, but who still need to meet stringent security requirements, now have another option. Germany's Giesecke & Devrient announced the Mobile Security Card SE 1.0, a 2GB microSD card that provides Smart Card functionality in a tiny form factor. [Read G&E release] -- Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nvidia fights back against Intel's integrated graphics with Optimus technology
If you haven't noticed, there's a war going on between Intel and third parties who make separate GPUs (Graphics Processing Units). Most of the new Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors have integrated graphics, eliminating the need for a separate graphics module for most applications. Most, but not all, as complex graphics still greatly benefit from dedicated graphics modules/cards, but at the cost of higher power consumption. Nvidia is now fighting back with its Optimus Graphics Technology for mobile systems, which automatically determines whether to use the integrated graphics (and extend battery life) or an external NVIDIA GPU (to boost graphics). [See Nvidia Optimus release] -- Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Could scanner market lose to smartphones?
With smartphones becoming ever more versatile and powerful, we're already seeing scanner applications on them. An article in suggests that the non-rugged scanner market may lose out to smartphones. [read article] -- Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Aitech unveils lightweight rugged Atom-based NightHawk RCU
Aitech Defense Systems, which makes boards and systems for environmentally-demanding defense and aerospace applications, now offers the NightHawk RCU, an extremely rugged, compact Intel Atom-based, self-contained control unit that weighs only 4.5 lbs. The low weight, combined with convection/radiation cooling that dissipates up to 22 watts, makes the rugged control unit ideal for a variety of military, aerospace and commercial environments. [See Aitech description of the KnightHawk] -- Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Handheld introduces rugged, ultra-mobile Algiz 7
Handheld announced the Algiz 7, a rugged, ultra-mobile Intel Atom-based tablet computer designed for use in homeland security, public safety, field service, GIS/mapping, logistics, railways, telecommunications, energy, law enforcement, military, warehousing, etc. The Algiz 7 has a 7-inch MaxView WSVGA sunlight-viewable touch screen, excellent connectivity, onboard camera and Mediatek GPS, and it is available with Gobi 2000 WWAN technology that provides access to any wireless WWAN frequency used around the globe. [See description and specs of the Handheld Algiz 7] -- Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Implementing tri-axis accelerometers
Kionix, an Ithaca, NY company that makes inertial sensors issued an interesting piece of documentation on their KXTF9 differential capacitance tri-axis accelerometers. It's technical but shows how accelerometer chips are configured and implemented. -- Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Datalogic and Getac reveal attractive new websites
After Getac, Datalogic Mobile also unveiled an attractive and much easier to use website. With the web having become the primary initial source of information, having an appealing, quick, informative and constantly updated website has definitely become a strategic advantage. -- Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Amidst fights over 3G coverage, Novatel tests LTE 4G
While AT&T and Verizon spend millions on TV commercials claiming to have more or better or faster 3G wireless, Novatel Wireless announced it has successfully completed the first data transmission call using Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G technology. LTE provides data rates of up to 100Mbps on the uplink and 50 Mbps on the downlink. Novatel Wireless says it is working with operators and plans to launch commercial data devices in late 2010. -- Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Intermec revenues, earnings down
Intermec reported 4th quarter 2009 revenues of US$179 and earnings of US$6 million, versus 4th quarter 2008 revenues of US$222 million and earnings of US$9 million. For the full year, Intermec had revenues of US$658 and a loss of US$11 million, versus 2008 revenues of US$891 million and earnings of US$36 million. Intermec expects Q1 2010 revenues to be at roughly the same level as last year. [See Intermec financials] -- Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Trimble introduces AllTrak for construction contractors
Trimble introduced the Trimble AllTrak Asset Management System running on the Trimble Tablet Rugged PC. Trimble AllTrak supplies building construction contractors with quantitative information about assets, which they can use to analyze and improve the utilization of equipment, tools, and consumables. -- Posted Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Live aerial surveillance solution for mobile devices
Helinet Technologies, the aerial surveillance solutions division of Helinet Aviation, announced the launch of HT 4Sight, a mobile technology solution to allow ground-based personnel to view live, encrypted video feeds on their mobile devices. -- Posted Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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    The editor and co-founder of Pen Computing Magazine launched 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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