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

November 2011

DisplaySearch forecasts much higher resolution in tablets
The NPD DisplaySearch shipment forecast indicates that the average resolution of tablet PC displays will grow to more than 200 pixels per inch (ppi) in Q2'12. Expect the launch of higher resolution displays in tablets, such as 10.1' 1920 × 1200 and 9.7' 2048 × 1536. -- Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Safety via Tablet PC - The Trucking Industry's Renewed Frontier
In a new blog article, MobileDemand points out that technology is the driving force behind safety in the trucking industry. Between 1975 and 2007, there was a 148% reduction in fatal, truck-related crashes per 100 million miles driven. This reduction is largely the result of technological improvements: better roads, better trucks and better fleet management systems. [read more] -- Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Burns & McDonnell implements mobility solutions for increased productivity and efficiency at the Point-of-Service
Motion Computing announced that Kansas City-based Burns & McDonnell, a full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services firm, is utilizing Motion F5v Tablet PCs for increased time savings, productivity and efficiency at the point of service. "When factoring in price, performance, features and usability, the F5 was the complete package," said Bryan Claxton, associate project manager, Burns & McDonnell. [See Motion case study on Burns & McDonnell deployment] -- Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2011

ADLINK introduces rugged high-performance COM Express module
ADLINK announced the Express-HRR COM Express Type 6 Extreme Rugged module, designed and validated for reliable performance in extended temperatures ranging from  40°C to +85°C and featuring a 50% thicker printed circuit board (PCB) for high vibration tolerance. The quad or dual core Intel 2nd gen Core i7-powered Express-HRR is compatible with the COM Express COM.0 Revision 2.0 Type 6 pinout and supports the SPI Interface, which was unavailable in COM.0 Rev. 1.0. -- Posted Monday, November 28, 2011

Handheld Group wins prestigious award
The Handheld Group reports it has, for the fourth year running, been awarded "Gazelle" status as one of Sweden's fastest growing and profitable companies. The provider of rugged handhelds and other rugged mobile devices had a successful year where it opened an Australian office, won a Netherlands Railway account for more than 10,000 rugged handhelds, launched the critically acclaimed Algix XRW rugged netbook (see our full review), and was also selected as a Red Herring 100 Tech Europe company. -- Posted Friday, November 25, 2011

Acromag fanless IPC with modular I/O receives 
UL HazLoc approval
Acromag reports that its 6-lbs Acromag I/O Server Industrial PC now has Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certification for Class I Division 2 Group A, B, C, D hazardous locations with volatile substances. This UL approval permits use of the Intel Atom- or AMD Geode-based I/O Server fanless embedded computer and its plug-in I/O modules in environments with flammable liquids, gases, or vapors. UL's Class I Div 2 certification is often required for electronics deployed in chemical, oil, gas, mining, and other manufacturing facilities. With the higher safety rating, the I/O Server can be installed closer to sensors and actuators to reduce installation costs for monitoring and control of automated machinery. [See Acromag IOS-7400 rugged industrial I/O server] -- Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2011

AMREL 9-Series rugged notebooks faster, more flexible
AMREL announced its new RT9 (13.3-inch), RK9 (15.1-inch), and RF9 (17.1-inch) rugged laptop computers designed specifically for the data-heavy applications used by the military and public safety sectors. The new 9-Series models build upon their 8-Series predecessors, but have been upgraded with more powerful processors, more and faster memory, larger hard disks, and a variety of other tech and functional improvements. The 9-Series also includes AMREL's Flexpedient technology that allows the use of application-specific modules in specially modified device bays. [See description and specs of the AMREL RT9, RK9, and RF9] -- Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wyse acquires Trellia, boosts cloud client software portfolio
Wyse Technology announced it acquired Trellia, which specializes in cloud-based mobile infrastructure management. The Trellia solution suite provides Wyse, its customers and partners with a comprehensive suite of cloud-based mobile security, device, app and expense management software solutions. [See press release and acquisition FAQ] -- Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Datalogic doubles its Auto-ID presence with Accu-Sort acquisition
Datalogic announced it is acquiring Accu-Sort of Telford, Pennsylvania. Mauro Sacchetto, CEO of Datalogic, stated: "This transaction doubles Datalogic Group's presence in the Industrial Automation industry by positioning it in the high-end segment and by broadening the company's competitive position in a highly fragmented market with great growth potential. Accu-Sort is complementary to the existing business of Datalogic and is a leading supplier with a widely recognized brand and long-term relationships with preeminent customers." [See Datalogic press release] -- Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Intermec introduces value-priced linear scanner
Intermec announced the SG10T, an inexpensive (US$140) handheld bar code reader designed for small to medium sized businesses. Aiming to combine performance with style in a point-and-shoot form factor, the Intermec SG10T imager uses solid-state imaging technology to read all common 1D bar codes, making it suitable for entry-level counter top reading needs. [See Intermec SG10T product page] -- Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ruggedized Android Devices -- Status and Outlook
As far as operating system platforms go, the rugged mobile computing industry is in a bit of a holding pattern these days. Thanks to the massive success of the iPhone and iPad there is a big opportunity for more durable handhelds and tablets that can handle a drop and a bit of rain, yet are as handy and easy to use as an iPhone or iPad-style media tablet. So why don't we see more Android-based handhelds and tablets? RuggedPCReview analyzed the situation. [... read more] -- Posted Monday, November 21, 2011

Full review: General Dynamics Itronix GD8200
The General Dynamics Itronix GD8200 is a fully rugged 8-pound notebook computer that once again offers significantly better performance at no penalty to battery life compared to its predecessor, the GD8000. It also offers improved sealing while still taking advantage of the inherent quality and reliability of its evolved XR-1/GD8000 platform, but offers state-of-the-art performance with a powerful, yet very efficient and cool-running 2.20GHz Intel Core i7-2665LE processor. [Read full review of the GD8200] -- Posted Monday, November 21, 2011

Rugged convertible notebooks in railroad safety: CATER HANDWave and Samwell Ruggedbook SR858
Railroad safety relies on meticulous testing of tracks and rails as the smallest defect can have potentially disastrous consequences. Modern testing systems employ ultrasonic scanning, imaging, track geometry, ground penetrating radar, and numerous other tests and technologies to determine the condition and soundness of railroad tracks. In the case of Fairclough Corporation's CATER HANDWave testing system they also include a Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR858 convertible notebook computer. [See Rugged convertible notebooks in railroad safety] -- Posted Sunday, November 20, 2011

Added: ADLINK TIOT Windows CE and Android rugged handhelds
ADLINK Technology offers two rugged handhelds that at first sight look identical, the TIOT2000 and the TIOT9000. They are conventional, albeit well equipped, handhelds with 3.5-inch QVGA resistive displays, IP65 sealing, a 5-foot drop spec, and plenty of data capture functionality (1D/2D scanning, RFID, cameras, etc.). What's interesting is that one runs Windows CE 6.0 R3 whereas the other runs Android 2.3, with slight but significant differences in underlying technology and specs. [See ADLINK TIOT2000 (Android) and TIOT9000 (Windows CE)] -- Posted Sunday, November 20, 2011

ADLINK adds new series of rugged PC/104 and EPIC SBCs
ADLINK Technology announced the release of its latest Ampro by ADLINK Extreme Rugged CoreModule720 PC/104-Plus Single Board Computer (SBC) with Intel Atom E600 Series processors and Rugged ReadyBoard 910 EPIC SBC with 2nd Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3 and Celeron processors. Both SBCs feature onboard Solid State Drives (SSD) and provide a compact form factor suitable for applications in harsh environments such as transportation, self-service, digital signage, and video surveillance. -- Posted Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wacom introduces signature capture solution for business
Wacom announced sign&save and sign & safe mobile, plug-and-play signature capture solutions for small to medium size businesses that are seeking to implement or improve customer-facing digital transaction processes. The baseline US$299 sign&save features the STU-500 LCD signature tablet with sign | pro PDF software whereas sign&save | mobile combines a the smaller US$229 STU-300 LCD signature tablet with sign | pro PDF software, creating the ideal solution for people on-the-go. -- Posted Saturday, November 19, 2011

Group Mobile sees 35% increase in rugged tablet sales
Group Mobile, a reseller of multiple brands of ruggedized computing products, reports a 35% year-over-year increase in shipments of rugged tablet PCs for the first nine months of 2011. Stephanie Kreitner, Director of Marketing for Group Mobile, said, "It is obvious that the enormous boom in consumer-grade tablets, driven primarily by Apple's iPad device, has bled over into the commercial, government, and enterprise marketplace." [See Group Mobile press release] -- Posted Saturday, November 19, 2011

iData Partners with Audatex to supply Motion Tablet PCs
iData Distribution, a distributor of automated ID and mobile technologies for the reseller market in southern Africa, reports it has supplied Audatex (the world's leading supplier of vehicle repair data) with 160 Motion Computing Tablet PCs. The Motion "Audapad" tablets are loaded with the Abuntex motor vehicle assessing software and deployed for accurate customer information gathering on the road, simplified results tracking and reporting, while eliminating duplicate efforts, such as re-keying data. [See iData press release] -- Posted Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Juniper Mesa Slingshot Test
Declaring that a mere 6-foot drop onto plywood would be a downright insult to the ruggedness of their Mesa rugged notepad, the ever-crafty folks at Juniper Systems used a giant slingshot to not only drop a Mesa onto plywood from a much larger distance, but to shoot the Mesa right through the plywood! And it still worked. [See Mesa Slingshot video] -- Posted Friday, November 18, 2011

Qualcomm unveils next-gen Snapdragon S4 processors
Qualcomm announced the expansion of its Snapdragon S4 class of next-generation mobile processors (and enhancements to its Snapdragon S1 for entry-level smartphones). The new S4s, using Qualcomm's Krait CPU micro architecture, seek to lower design, engineering and inventory costs while bringing leading-edge 3G/4G connection speeds to next-gen mobile devices from smartphones to tablets. Qualcomm announced several new S4 chipsets, including the MSM8660A, MSM8260A, MSM8630, MSM8230, MSM8627, MSM8227, APQ8060A and APQ8030. These are in addition to the previously announced MSM8960, MSM8930 and APQ8064. [See Snapdragon S4 Processors white paper (PDF)] -- Posted Thursday, November 17, 2011

Casio/Verizon introduce rugged G'zOne Ravine 2 phone
We've been seeing all sorts of increasingly sophisticated ruggedized handheld computers with smartphone functionality in an effort to relieve field works from having to carry two devices. If, however, all you need is a tough phone that won't break, check out the new Casio G'zOne Ravine 2 on Verizon Wireless. Casio says the oddly named rugged phone has been tested according to MIL-STD-810G procedures, has push-to-talk, dual screens, a 3.2mp camera, microSDHC card slot, GPS, thermometer, Bluetooth, a browser, and it's available for US$149 with the usual 2-year contract. [See Casio G'zOne Ravine 2 release] -- Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fujitsu UK & Becrypt launch ultra-secure tablet for public sector
Fujitsu UK and Ireland reports that it has joined forces with data protection expert Becrypt to offer the first comprehensively secure tablet PC for UK government deployment. Becrypt's DISK Protect Baseline full disk encryption software has been developed and modified for use on the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550, delivering peace of mind for customers handling sensitive data. The Becrypt software will be CESG(1)-accredited to protect information and files saved locally up to Impact Level 3 (restricted access). [See Fujitsu press release] -- Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Juniper Systems introduces Mesa with Barcode Scanner
Juniper Systems introduced an important optional extension/enhancement to its unique 5.7-inch Mesa Rugged Notepad (see our full review), the Mesa with Barcode Scanner. The integrated high performance Motorola 1D/2D scanner (which can also be retrofitted to existing Mesas) reads all common 1D/2D symbologies, is compatible withmost barcode scanning software, and also comes with Juniper's own Barcode Connector utility. [See Juniper Mesa with Barcode Scanner brochure] -- Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grapevine Push-to-Talk now on Panasonic Toughbook U1 tablet
DecisionPoint Systems, which provides field-based workforce automation solutions, announced that its Grapevine cloud-based Push-to-Talk software is now certified on the Panasonic Toughbook U1 ultra mobile rugged PC. Grapevine Push-to-Talk is a worldwide communication system that is "always on," enabling instant voice communication over a range of mobile devices and PCs. -- Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011

GammaTech expands Canadian distribution with Pro-Data
GammaTech Computer Corp., an international manufacturer and supplier of rugged notebook and tablet computers, announced a new partnership with Canadian distributor Pro-Data. Pro-Data will distribute GammaTech’s Durabook models to resellers across Canada, as well as become an authorized GammaTech service center. -- Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Entertaining Intel site helps with picking the right Core processor
While Intel kind of designates its Core i3/i5/i7 processors as "good," "better," "best," it's notoriously difficult to make the case for one processor line over the other, unless there are very specific requirements (such as the use of some specific Intel technology that may be available in one line but not the others). Apparently Intel is aware of this confusion and predicament and has created a special multimedia website where users can figure out which Core processor is right for them. It's not very scientific, but quite entertaining. [See the visibly smart Intel Core processor family site] -- Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Motion webinar: The Motion CL900 SlateMate with barcode scanner and mag stripe reader
On Tuesday, November 6, 2011, Motion Computing will present a free webinar explaining the first CL900 SlateMate module that includes a MSR and BCS for mobile data acquisition and transaction processing. The webinar shows how users can benefit from rapid data acquisition for improved documentation, real-time access to customer and inventory availability, improved customer service due to insight into up-to-date data from any location, and faster turnaround times through improved collaboration and connectivity. [Sign up for free Motion webinar] -- Posted Monday, November 14, 2011

Winmate releases 4.3-inch rugged industrial PDA with capacitive multi-touch
Over the years, the size of Pocket PC/PDA displays has been going up and down. First it was 3.8 inches, then they got smaller and smaller, and now apparently the trend s reversing, perhaps due to the advent of ever larger smartphone screens. Perhaps this is why Winmate's new E430T industrial PDA has a nice and large display. But that's not all: the handy, rugged 8-ounce E430T uses a modern capacitive multi-touch display and is available either with Android 2.3 or Windows Mobile 6.5. [See review of the Winmate E430T] -- Posted Monday, November 14, 2011

Panasonic launches the Toughpad at Dallas Cowboy Stadium
With the stated goal of providing the first tablet designed for business, Panasonic introduced their new Toughpad in grand style at Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Available early 2012, the 10.1-inch Marvell/Android-based Toughpad A1 offers IP65 sealing, a 4-foot drop spec, dual cameras, 10 hour battery life, daylight viewability, and enterprise level security. A smaller 7-inch B1 version will be available later in 2012. [See full coverage of the Panasonic Toughpad launch event] -- Posted Friday, November 11, 2011

Xplore gets US$14+ million rugged tablet order
Xplore Technologies announced it has received purchase orders from one of the world’s largest utility companies for more than 4,000 of its newly launched iX104C5 rugged tablet PCs, representing over $14 million in aggregate sales orders. These C5 tablets are expected to be delivered during the first half of calendar 2012 and will be used to improve the productivity of the customer’s field service operations. [See Xplore press release] -- Posted Thursday, November 10, 2011

Windows 8: a bit of fear, uncertainty and doubt
In mid-September 2011, Microsoft showcased a preview of the next release of Windows at the BUILD developer conference. After reading up on it, I wrote down my impressions in the days following the preview, but held off putting it in the RuggedPCReview blog until I had a bit more time to let it sink in and contemplate the likely impact on rugged mobile computing manufacturers and users. My thinking hasn't changed, so below is pretty much what were my first impressions about Windows 8 and what it will mean for rugged mobile computing... [Read more] -- Posted Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eurotech and IBM contribute software to connect next gen of wireless and mobile devices
IBM and Eurotech announced that they are contributing software to accelerate and support the development of a new generation of smarter wireless and mobile devices. The technology, which could become the basis for a new standard of mobile connectivity and interoperability, will be contributed to the Eclipse Foundation open source community. [See press release] -- Posted Sunday, November 6, 2011

Analysis: Fujitsu Lifebook T731 and Styistic Q550
What should you get if you want business-class tablet functionality? A pure tablet? Or a notebook that can be converted into a tablet? Dan Rasmus analyzes two Windows 7-based devices from Fujitsu, the Intel Core i5 or i7 powered Lifebook T731 and the light and sleek Stylistic Q550. [See analysis of the Fujitsu Lifebook T731 and Stylistic Q550] -- Posted Friday, November 4, 2011

SIE Computing Solutions introduces new rugged small form factor embedded Mupac platform
SIE Computing Solutions., a provider of rugged electronic systems for mission-critical and performance-critical embedded computing platforms deployed in harsh environments, today unveiled its new Mupac Small Form Factor line, the Intel Core i3/i5/i7-powered 760 Series. The initial two products in the 760 Series include an IP67 NEMA Rated Version and IP50 NEMA Rated Version. -- Posted Friday, November 4, 2011

ARM acquires IC design software company Prolific, Inc.
ARM has acquired privately-owned, California-based Prolific, a developer of IC design optimization software, to address the increasing complexity of 20nm and below process technologies needed for the implementation of highly integrated, low-power system-on-chip solutions. [See press release] -- Posted Friday, November 4, 2011

Intermec reports Q3 2011 financials
Intermec reported Q3 2011 sales of US$212 million and a small profit of just under a million compared to sales of US$169 million and a loss of US$7 million the same quarter last year, before the acquisition of Vocollect that contributed about US$34 million. Intermec expects Q4 2011 revenues to be within a range of US$235 to US$245 million -- Posted Friday, November 4, 2011

Datalogic releases new rugged 10.4-inch vehicle-mount panel computer
Datalogic Mobile launched the Datalogic Rhino 10, a rugged Microsoft Windows Embedded 6.0 R3-powered Vehicle Mount Computer designed for warehousing management in distribution centers, warehouses and manufacturing shop floors. The IP65-sealed panel has a bright 10.4-inch VGA touch screen, good connectivity, and can be ordered with an extended -22 to 140F temperature range. [See description and specs of the Datalogic Rhino 10] -- Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011 releases small rugged fanless Mini PC, a ISO 9001 manufacturer of industrial rugged computers and peripherals has released the new model LPC-125LPFM, a rugged, small footprint, fanless computer for industrial, Mobile/In-Vehicle and Embedded applications. The LPC-125 is powered by a 1.8GHz Intel Atom D525, measures 4.6 x 6.1 x 2 inches, weighs just 1.2 pounds, and offers impressive connectivity. Starting at US$895, the LPC-125 could be an interesting solution for in-vehicle, mobile, industrial control, diagnostic, machine, medical and a host of other applications. [See LPC-125 page] -- Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Eliminating wasteful paper trails with rugged tablet PCs
The latest entry in Mobile Demand's Ruggedized Computing Blog describes how one of the big benefits of rugged tablet PCs is the elimination of wasteful paper trails, and that a proper ruggedized device has the computing power to access databases within your network, as well as update records, transfer files and create new records on the go. [See Mobile Demand Ruggedized Computing Blog] -- Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Raytheon and LA Sheriff's Department partner in mobile public safety project
Acting as system integrator, Raytheon announced that Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) patrol cars, motorcycles, prisoner transport vehicles and SUVs equipped with new mobile data computer systems (MDCS) are now on the streets. MDCS will help more than 2,400 field units will be able to use the Sheriff's Data Network, Intranet and other criminal databases from their vehicles with touch-enabled mobile computers (judging by the pictures, Panasonic Toughbooks). [See Raytheon press release]. -- Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Aptina CMOS image sensors represent unrealized potential for HD video in rugged mobile computers
Aptina, a provider of CMOS image sensor solutions announced the launch of its new MT9P006 high definition 5MP image sensor that can do HD video capture at 720p/60fps and 1080p/30fps in a variety of lighting conditions. While this particular imager is geared towards security cameras, the technology is eminently suitable for rugged notebooks, tablets and handhelds. Combined with H.264 codecs from the likes of Ambarella, this emerging HD video/still technology could inexpensively add invaluable HD image capture and video recording to rugged mobile computers. -- Posted Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TI introduces low-cost Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processors
We're increasingly seeing Texas Instruments Sitara chips in products, and now TI introduced the new Sitara AM335x line of low cost but high performance ARM Cortex-A8 chips. The new line was designed specifically to provide low power consumption and reduced heat emissions to enable portable, pocket-sized, fanless applications. [See TI Sitara AN335x page -- Posted Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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