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

March 2006

Zebra introduces dual radio mobile printers
Zebra Technologies is introducing the industry's first mobile printers with dual radios. Many users of 802.11b wireless LANs have relied on cables in the past to serve as a back-up if the network went down or if they were out of LAN range. Now, with the introduction of dual-radio support in Zebra mobile printers, they can opt for Bluetooth to serve as a back-up connection with their handheld devices. Zebra's dual radio option will be available on Zebra's IP54-sealed RW 420 and the QL Plus series of mobile printers in the US, Canada and Europe, and will feature a Bluetooth radio and a Symbol Compact Flash 802.11b radio. -- Posted Friday, March 31, 2006

DualCor launches corporate early adopter program
DualCor, Inc. announced a Leadership Early Adopter Program (LEAP) where companies can review and test the DualCor cPC as well as influence DualCor product development activities. The DualCor cPC is the first ultra portable PC to simultaneously run full-function Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 and Windows Mobile 5.0, combining the power of a desktop PC, the instant-on of a PDA and the always-connected functionality of a cell phone. Its patented, dual-processor architecture and hard drive allow users to run real-time, non-diluted versions of enterprise applications in the field as easily as they are used in the office. The 6.5 x 3.3 x 1.2 inch DualCor has a 5" 800x480 passive touch screen, a 1.5GHz C7-M Via chip for Windows and a 400MHz processor for WinMo, a 40GB hard disk where files can be moved between the two operating systems, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 1GB of Flash, Bluetooth and WiFi, 3 USB 2.0 ports, a mini-VGA port, audio in/out, a CF Card slot. Not much info on the phone capoabilities yet. Price is expected to be in the US$1,500 range. Our take: Surprisingly little is known yet about the DualCor. And the recent "Origami" release has put extra pressure on the more expensive DualCor. The DualCor is smaller, about the size of a Sony PSP, but the real-world benefit of the dual OS approach will need to be demonstrated first, especially for the strategic enterprise mobility solutions DualCor targets.

-- Posted Friday, March 31, 2006

Industrial touch panel PC with Windows Mobile 5.0
Embedded and single board computer specialist Ampro Computers, Inc. announced the ReadyPanel Industrial Panel PC for industrial automation, HMI and operator control panels. The ReadyPanel Panel PC includes a standard EPIC form-factor Pentium compatible single boad computer, a 6.5" color flat panel display and 4-wire resistive touch screen integrated into a compact enclosure. The ReadyPanel 6.5 runs Windows Mobile 5.0 on Intel processors from 400 MHz Celerons to Core Duos. Memory size is up to 1GB DRAM and Compact Flash up to 2GB. A 400MHz, 128MB RAM, 64MB Flash WinMo 5.0 ReadyPanel 6.5 with a 400MHz Celeron is available now for under $1200 in moderate volume. [see release] -- Posted Thursday, March 30, 2006

Symbol PPT8800 picked for London subway
Symbol Technologies and mobile software solutions company Syclo announced that Tube Lines Ltd, a tube maintenance company that works in partnership with the London Underground, has equipped its engineers with more than 200 rugged PPT8800 mobile computers running Syclo's mobile work management solution, across three key London Underground lines. Symbol PPT8800 mobile computers were selected with the support of rail union GMB because they matched Tube Lines requirements for a ruggedized and easy-to-use handheld. Of the 210 PPT8800 mobile computers, 60 were supplied to two main end-of-line depots with one device supplied per work group and the remaining 150 across smaller locations. -- Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2006

TabletKiosk first to market with their eo UMPC
TabletKiosk seems to be the first company to actually offer an "Origami" Ultra-Mobile PC. The TabletKiosk eo UMPC v7110 can be viewed, configured, and ordered in four different versions. The base eo v7110 256/30 (yes, that refers to RAM and hard disk size) can be had in black or white starting at US$899 whereas the eo v7110 512/40 is available starting at US$999, also in either black or white. All eo UMPCs are powered by a 1GHz VIA C7 NaNo processor, run the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition with Touch Pak, have a 7-inch 800 x 400 pixel Wide-Angle View TFT display, 802.11b/g WiFi and Bluetooth, measure 9.0" x 5.75 " x 1.0" and weigh just under two pounds. -- Posted Monday, March 27, 2006

Symbol introduces new wireless infrastructure, MC9090 line
Symbol Technologies announced new wireless network infrastructure features for increased coverage, enhanced security and mobility -- including Layer 3 roaming, mesh networking and wireless security with location-based services. These new features enable enterprises to operate more efficiently with increased security, and expand their wireless coverage area. Symbol also announced the MC9090 family of premium rugged mobile computers for demanding environments. Select MC9090 models support reading of direct part markings (DPM) used in the manufacture of metal parts in industries such as automotive and aerospace, as well as Push-to-Talk walkie-talkie capability and integrated GPS support built into the recently announced MC9097 mobile computer -- the industry's first iDEN rugged mobile computer. -- Posted Monday, March 27, 2006

G2 RFID tags use existing 802.11 wireless networks
G2 Microsystems Inc., a developer of integrated circuits for the Mobile Resource Management market, announced an ultra low-power, active RFID System-on-a-Chip that leverages existing 802.11 network infrastructures. By using 802.11, G2 Microsystems' SoC enables businesses to install asset tracking systems at a fraction of the cost of today's solutions resulting in at least a 75% reduction in total cost of ownership. Additionally, the chip's integrated support for multiple location technologies and environmental sensing coupled with ultra low-power consumption enables a new class of tags that will open the door for global MRM services in many enterprise applications. -- Posted Monday, March 27, 2006

Itronix receives GCN "Best of FOSE" award
Itronix, a developer of wireless, rugged mobile computing products, today announced that its GoBook VR-1 semi-rugged notebook computer received the “Best of FOSE” award from Government Computer News at FOSE 2006, the annual government information technology tradeshow in Washington, D.C.. Matthew Gerber, senior vice president of product line management for Itronix said, “Mobile workers from police and fire departments, the military and employees from other government agencies can count on the VR-1 to operate reliably in harsh environments. The VR-1 is the first semi-rugged notebook that meets military specifications for temperature and vibration, and also comes with a published specification for drops. The VR-1 offers mobile workers the protection and features of a fully rugged notebook at a very competitive price.” -- Posted Friday, March 24, 2006

MobileSentinel: mobile security policy enforcement
Mobile Armor, a provider of Enterprise Mobile Data Security (EMDS) solutions software, announced the release of MobileSentinel, a security compliance and remediation solution that provides real-time transparent security policy enforcement for all wired and wireless desktops, laptops and PDAs. MobileSentinel maintains security through network policy delivery, compliance enforcement, auditing and automated remediation. By pairing MobileSentinel's compliance system with an Enterprise PolicyServer administration console, you can centrally define, deploy and administer all corporate security policies from a single management console. -- Posted Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New onscreen key-entry system
Prevalent Devices LLC announced a new on-screen keyboard that may have use on vertical market devices that often must be operated with gloves. Phraze-It text entry software for Windows Mobile Pocket PC is a unique on-screen keyboard and input method that enables users to finger-type text via a choice of eight on-screen keyboard layouts, including one-handed or two-handed typing or thumbing input. It has large on-screen buttons for accurate text entry and each key has only one character at a time. The system reduces the number of on-screen keys by using a "aeiou" home row as a starting point. Tapping each brings up between three and five consonants, so that any letter is two taps away. Numbers and symbols work the same way. The system provides full keyboard functionality, large typing keys and a roomy text display area. [See how it works] Phraze-It runs on all Pocket PC and PPC Phone variants. -- Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Cole OrderPad optimized for Tablet PC apps
Cole Systems, provider of OrderPad Enterprise mobile sales force automation software, took the stage today at The Microsoft Executive Business Forum. The company hosted a kiosk showcasing OrderPad Enterprise, the first mobile software of its kind optimized for Tablet PCs. To accentuate the software's benefits and ROI when applied in a real-life situation, the company highlighted OrderPad's use by the New York Lottery to drive $6.2 billion in annual sales. -- Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006

Gunze USA releases improved next-gen touch panel
Resistive touch panel manufacturing specialist Gunze USA announced their next-generation Highly Transmissive Circular Polarizer touch panels that achieve high levels of visibility through the sputtering of an Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) low-reflective layer. The process isolates incoming light rays and converts them into circular polarized light, which is then transformed into vertically linear polarized light that cannot pass through the panel. The highly transmissive circular polarizer touch panels facilitate enhanced readability and transmissivity in direct sunlight and high-reflection environments, with as much as 76% transmissivity, an increase over standard circular polarized touch screens which have 67% transmissivity rates. The panels are coated with anti-reflection materials and have been designed for both pen and finger input. Gunze's circular polarizer touch panels are used for devices such as rugged notebook computers and handheld devices, as well as any type of film-glass or film-film LCD. They can be ordered in a range of standard or custom sizes and come with a one year/one million input guarantee. [see conceptual diagram of Gunze touch panel]
-- Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006

DRS WalkAbout releases next gen Hammerheads
WalkAbout Computer, now known as DRS Tactical Systems, Inc., a unit of DRS Technologies, Inc., announced the launch of the 8th generation of Hammerhead rugged tablet computers - the Hammerhead and Hammerhead Xtreme. DRS stresses exclusive data protection technologies, "anywhere" connectivity and a selection of display options, including reflective for use in bright sunlight. The new Hammerheads are geared towards industrial and government customers. DRS' patented ShutOut technology seals and protects all Hammerhead computers from water, dirt and other harmful contaminates. Inside the new rugged tablets, the company's proprietary ProtectIT and QuickBack technologies enhance data protection. Drive heads retract when extreme shocks or acceleration occur. On data corruption, QuickBack immediately recovers critical data by "turning the clock back" to a point in time prior to data loss or system failure. We haven't had a chance yet to review the 8th gen models, which retain their time-proven design but appear to have undergone considerable technological updating. -- Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006

AIM Global taps LXE president as new chairman
AIM Global, a worldwide automatic identification and mobility trade association with an educational focus for its members, announced that LXE president and general manager James S. Childress has assumed the duties as Chairman of the association. Childress succeeds Intermec (and former Norand) executive Tom Miller. -- Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fujitsu considers UMPC
According to Digitimes, Fujitsu Siemens is currently in talks with Microsoft for a possible launch of Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPCs), according to Raymond Foo, Product Marketing and Communications for Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific. Unlike flat-panel computers and notebooks in general, a UMPC is considered more like a high-end PDA and their sales will hardly threaten Fujitsu Siemens' current eight-inch notebook offerings, said Foo. Our take: It would make great sense for Fujitsu to offer a UMPC, especially one in the "durable" or "semi-rugged" class. Such a device could replace the old Windows CE-based PenCentra line, offering the same small form factor or smaller, while providing significantly more punch. -- Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006

RFID virus and worm threat?
European researchers are investigating the possibilities of virus attacks on RFID-based systems. A paper is being presented today at the annual IEEE Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications in Pisa, Italy. It raises some interesting, and scary, possibilities. A single infected RFID tag, for example, could disrupt an entire system, with possibly disastrous consequences. The academic paper on RFID threats can be download as a pdf.. [Learn more about the potential of RFID viruses and worms] -- Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006

NSTL expands testing services
National Software Testing Labs, the world's leading mobile application, device testing, and certification company, has expanded its extensive offering of quality assurance testing services. NSTL announced additional global testing facilities designed to provide local testing solutions to the worldwide audience of application developers. These services will be provided through NSTL's appRELAY branded offering currently used by most major mobile application developers. AppRELAY is a "one-stop shop" that puts all phases of mobile application deployment such as QA and certification pre-testing, localization, porting, and application evaluations in one convenient source. [NSTL wireless/mobile testing] -- Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Detailed overview of Microsoft's Ultra-Mobile PC Platform
Technology editor Geoff Walker presents a detailed overview of Microsoft's new Ultra-Mobile PC Platform. Code-named "Origami," the platform specifies a tablet computer significantly smaller than current Tablet PCs. The UMPC is in its very beginnings, with just a few prototypes being shown, and no product currently available. However, the lightweight, low-cost platform may end up having significant impact on vertical markets. [Read Geoff Walker's overview of Microsoft's "Origami" Ultra-Mobile PC platform] -- Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Vertical market digital camera with GPS or barcode
Ricoh makes some interesting specialty digital cameras, such as the Ricoh Pro G3 "GPSD-Ready" digital camera. The specs are particularly up-to-date (we're talking 3.2MP); what makes this camera special is that it has a CD Card slot especially for either a GPS receiver, Bluetooth, WiFi, or even barcode reading. That means professionals can take pictures with GPS coordinates. Users can even add other GPS information via a special menu system, making pictures searchable from within a ESRI GIS system. A barcode reader-equipped Ricoh G3 can embed scanned barcode information into images. Use a WiFi card and you can even ftp images to a server, and the G3 becomes a fully IP-addressable network device. [see Ricoh G3 Geo-Imaging site] -- Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Symbol releases low-cost durable scanner
Symbol Technologies introduced a new high-value laser bar code scanner targeted at small businesses. Designed to withstand the rigors of everyday use, the new cost-effective LS1203 bar code scanner is highly ergonomic, user-friendly and delivers excellent performance. "The new LS1203 laser scanner offers smaller retailers and customers in emerging markets a reliable and feature-rich laser scanner at an affordable price," said Bob Sanders, vice president and general manager of Symbol's advanced data capture division. "With its durable design, the new LS1203 is a great option for distributors and resellers who typically bundle the scanner into their point-of-sale offering." The Symbol LS1203 laser bar code scanner has a list price of $155 and is currently available to order globally through Symbol partners. -- Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006

DriverTech picks NAVTEQ for mobile fleet management
NAVTEQ, a global provider of digital map data for location based solutions and vehicle navigation, has been selected by DriverTech as its preferred digital map provider for the US and Canada. DriverTech uses NAVTEQ maps for its military and commercial fleet management systems. DriverTech designs and builds the Windows XP-based DT4000 onboard computer system for vehicles. DT4000 provides in-vehicle, computing resources and an intelligent link between the driver and many sources of data communication coming from or to the vehicle such as work assignments, mapping along with GPS information, and engine data. -- Posted Monday, March 13, 2006

FranklinCovey's Plan Plus supports UMPC
FranklinCovery reports that a free update of PlanPlus for Windows XP 5.0 has been designed to run on the new Ultra Mobile PC. To leverage the new computing platform, PlanPlus for Windows's user interface was redesigned to function well within the Ultra Mobile PC's screen size. It supports new touch screen capabilities and leverages the built-in digital ink functionality. -- Posted Monday, March 13, 2006

Microsoft reveals "Origami" Ultra-Mobile PC
At the 2006 CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany, Microsoft revealed its new Ultra-Mobile PC that had been code-named "Origami." The platform refers to small tablets weighing less than two pounds, with displays measuring less than seven inches diagonally. UMPCs run the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition with special software add-ons to better adapt Windows to the small screen. UMPCs are smaller than conventional Tablet PCs but larger than Pocket PCs and other PDAs. Read our full introduction to the Origami Ultra-Mobile PC. -- Posted Thursday, March 9, 2006

New version of Windows Embedded for Point of Service
Microsoft announced availability of Windows Embedded for Point of Service version 1.1. Launched in May 2005, Windows Embedded for Point of Service has gained considerable momentum with device-makers, application vendors and retailers across the globe, helping address the industry's short-term challenges and maximize the use of legacy peripherals, while helping retailers plan for long-term investments such as RFID readers, biometric scanners and other cutting-edge technologies. [see description of Windows Embedded for Point of Service] -- Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Intermec wins IBM PartnerWorld Beacon Award for best wireless mobility solution
Intermec won the Best Wireless Mobility Solution award in the annual IBM PartnerWorld Beacon Awards competition that honors IBM Business Partners for their innovation, customer satisfaction and outstanding achievements in providing on-demand business solutions. Intermec's IF5 RFID reader, which is being used in the METRO Group Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany, is the first production-scale integration of IBM's WebSphere RFID Device Infrastructure software on an RFID reader. The combination of hardware and software provides early data filtering to minimize network overload, correlate RFID events and integrate RFID event data with enterprise applications. [IBM Award announcements] -- Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Psion releases Mobile Control Center
Psion Teklogix announced the launch of Mobile Control Center (MCC), a device management software product that enables IT administrators to centrally manage all mobile devices in the warehouse or in the field. MCC is a cost effective mobile management software tool that allows enterprises to deploy, maintain, support, configure, update and secure their applications and devices. MCC also provides effective and timely remote training, as well as instant message broadcasting to the mobile workforce. The hybrid solution supports Psion Teklogix' entire line of handheld and vehicle mount mobile computing devices, as well as most competitive Windows CE and Windows Mobile devices. -- Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Zebra introduces global printing solution
Zebra Technologies, a global leader in printing solutions for business improvement, has taken the expense and complexity out of printing international characters on demand. Zebra's new Global Printing Solution now includes Unicode-compliant encoding and font support on its bar code, label and receipt printers. The Zebra Global Printing Solution is available for the company's industrial and high-performance Xi series, 105SL, and Z4Mplus/Z6Mplus model printers and PAX4 print engines. [see Zebra release] -- Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Intermec sponsors Digital Communities inititative
Intermec Inc. has joined Intel, Cisco Systems, Panasonic and Accela as a sponsor of a Digital Communities initiative to help municipalities take advantage of mobile and wireless computing systems to improve efficiency and responsiveness. The initial focus of the group's work is on six segments of the public sector where technology can provide significant benefits: criminal justice, public service and logistics, education, health services, first-alert response and public safety. State and local governments spent an estimated $83.3 billion on IT in 2005 and are investing nearly $700 million in municipal broadband wireless networks, according to recent reports. -- Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Savi Technology releases new military/commercial RFID tag
Savi Technologyannounced a new low-profile version of its flagship active, data rich RFID tag for military and commercial container shipments in harsh supply chain operating environments. The Savi Tag ST-656comes in a new U-shaped form factor that clamps tightly onto the left door of the container, enabling the RFID electronics to be protected on the inside of the container while a low-profile plate on the outside contains an antennae that communicates with fixed or mobile reader networks. -- Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006

WhereNet expands European RFID presence
WhereNet Corp., announced it significantly expanded its European market presence in 2005 as major automakers (like BMW, MINI, Land Rover), retailers, and transportation and logistics providers installed the standards-based WhereNet active RFID, real-time locating system (RTLS) technology to reduce operational costs and inventory while increasing throughput and productivity. -- Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Seamless multi-net mobility for mission-critical data
Motorola announced Multi-Net Mobility, a mobile VPN solution designed to deliver secure connectivity, session persistence, and intelligent routing while users roam wireless networks. Based on standard Mobile IP protocol, Multi-Net Mobility provides end-to-end data encryption for text, image and video applications while operating across a variety of public and private networks. Roaming between wireless data networks is continuous and transparent to the end user, allowing application sessions to remain open through network interruptions or roaming transitions, and maintaining productivity without sacrificing security. [see Motorola page on Multi-Net Mobility] -- Posted Monday, March 6, 2006

CREDANT mobile data protection "follows the data"
CREDANT Technologies, a provider of mobile data protection solutions, announced version 5.1 of its flagship product, CREDANT Mobile Guardian Enterprise Edition that extends policy-driven security management and controls across the entire mobile data lifecycle and introduces support for Collaborative Mobile Data Security -- an enterprise-hosted model that allows organizations to control security policies for data on mobile devices owned by business affiliates. -- Posted Monday, March 6, 2006

Symbol steps up warranty coverage
Symbol Technologies announced that mobile computing product purchases with "Service from the Start" contracts will now include all repairs for the entire device, including accidental damage to displays and keypads, at no additional cost. "Service from the Start" is a three- year service agreement that includes a three-day turn-around for products sent to Symbol repair centers, Internet access to technical documentation and telephone access to support engineers. Symbol's comprehensive coverage simplifies the repair process by covering all repairs, thus significantly reducing costs and delays for customers. It is available worldwide for the MC1000, MC3000, and MC9000 series of mobile computers, as well as the MC50 and MC70 Enterprise Digital Assistant (EDA). -- Posted Monday, March 6, 2006

Psion Teklogix launches multimodal communication for its devices
Mobile computing, imaging and RFID specialists Psion Teklogix launched PTX Connect that brings Push To Talk (PTT), VoIP, instant messaging, text messaging and voice mail to its WORKABOUT PRO family of mobile computers. This will enable mobile workers to communicate in real-time, sharing information cost effectively, while improving workflow across the enterprise. Additionally, PTX Connect coupled with a 2-D imager in a mobile device allows workers to take pictures, add comments to them on screen, and transmit the final images including notations over a wireless network. -- Posted Thursday, March 2, 2006

U.S. car telematics devices market explodes after years of stagnation
Recent research by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) estimates that telematics and communication devices will continue to grow explosively through 2007 and beyond. Telematics devices - location-based communication and information applications are expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.7% and will reach over $1.2 billion by 2007. -- Posted Thursday, March 2, 2006

ASME offers Castings and Forging Standard
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers offers engineering drawing standard ASME Y14.8M that covers definitions of terms and features unique to casting and forging technologies. Because of the similarity of processes and problems of dimensioning and tolerancing molded parts (such as those uses in precision magnesium castings for rugged computers), the ASME Y14.8 committee will include molded parts in its next revision. The current standard, released in 1989 and now released as ASME Y14.8M–1996 (reaffirmed 2002), addresses many of the concerns of the plastics design engineer and the producer of molded parts. ASME Y14.8M-1996 is a must-have for designers and producers of castings, forgings and molded parts and is available from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. See info on the ASME Y14.8 standard. -- Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2006

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