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

March 2008

Panasonic slightly upgrades CF-19 notebook convertible
Panasonic upgraded its compact Toughbook CF-19 convertible PC from an Intel Core Duo U2400 to a Core 2 Duo U7500. Supporting chipsets have also been upgraded as has standard memory size (now 1GB). An integrated 2MP camera is said to become available and pricing for the CF-19F now seems to start at about US$3,200. [read description and specs of the updated Panasonic CF-19] -- Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Added: Unitech lineup of durable and rugged data collection PDAs and terminals
We've added the Unitech lineup of durable and rugged point-of-sale and data collection handhelds. Unitech, a Taiwanese company, has almost 30 years of experience in data collection handhelds with integrated laser scanners, imagers, and RFID readers. Read description and full specs of the enterprise PDA Unitech PA500, the somewhat more rugged Unitech PA600, the rugged Unitech PA966/967 with a 36-key keyboard, the very rugged Unitech PA982 that can handle extreme temperatures and full immersion, and the RFID reading Unitech RH767. All units are Windows Mobile or Windows CE-based. -- Posted Saturday, March 22, 2008

Taiwanese Adlink buys rugged embedded IPC maker Ampro
Adlink Technology, a Taiwan-based industrial PC maker announced the acquisition of privately held Ampro Computers, an IPC producer headquartered in California. The acquisition, characterized as highly synergistic by both companies' CEOs, merges Ampro's expertise in board-level embedded computers with ADLINK's low-cost manufacturing capabilities and products targeting the industrial control and communications markets. Ampro originated the PC/104 and EBX form factors, makes the RuffSystem Extreme Rugged Embedded PC, and specializes in modular embedded solutions for aviation, military and rugged industrial applications. -- Posted Friday, March 21, 2008

Added: Panasonic CF-52
The semi-rugged Panasonic Toughbook CF-52 looks more like a "real" Toughbook compared to its unassuming CF-51 predecessor. On the technology side, the magnesium-clad CF-52 has been upgraded to T7100/T7300 Core 2 Duo processors. Available hard disks are shock-mounted 80 and 120GB, memory goes up to 4GB, and the display comes in two varieties: 1200 x 800 pixel WXGA or a stunning 1920 x 1200 pixel WUXGA. Overall, this is a superb machine, and that especially goes for the top-of-the-line model with the 1920 x 1200 display. If you need maximum resolution in a still fairly small and handy notebook that's also semi-rugged, the CF-52 is hard to beat. [Read description and specs of the Panasonic Toughbook CF-52] -- Posted Friday, March 21, 2008

Advantech introduces semi-rugged industrial tablet
Taiwanese Advantech, a global vendor of embedded and industrial computing platforms, introduced the MARS-3100S Industrial Tablet PC. The 3100S has a 10.4-inch display and runs Windows XP Pro or XP Embedded on a power-efficient AMD LX 800 processor. With a magnesium-alloy housing and rubber bumpers the 3100S can survive 3-foot drops. IP54 sealing and the usual MIL-STD-810F testing compliance make this new Advantech product suitable for use in manufacturing, warehousing, shop floor maintenance, field service, transportation, law enforcement, fire or other emergency services. [See description and specs of the Advantech MARS-3100S tablet] -- Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008

MobileDemand named Technology Company of the Year by the Technology Association of Iowa
The Technology Association of Iowa last week named MobileDemand, a Cedar Rapids-based rugged Tablet PC manufacturer, Technology Company of the Year. MobileDemand was recognized for its rapid growth, innovation and leadership in the field. congratulates MobileDemand for this well-deserved honor! -- Posted Monday, March 17, 2008

VDC describes shifting market conditions for rugged vendors
From briefings with rugged mobile computing vendors at the AUSA Winter Symposium held in Ft. Lauderdale from February 27 through 29, VDC concludes that the robust military spending over the past years is coming to an end, which means military-oriented vendors of rugged mobile computing equipment will need to explore opportunities in other markets. It also means that the military may pursue a “rugged enough” approach and look towards less expensive equipment. VDC mentions the new DRS ARMOR C12 and X10 as well as the Trimble/TDS Recon and Nomad as examples of products that are both reasonably priced AND versatible at a time where the military will no longer automatically purchase expensive successor models. -- Posted Friday, March 14, 2008

GETAC launches rugged PDA/GPS combo device
GETAC officially launches its Model PS535E Rugged PDA with sunlight readable display this weekend during the ESRI Worldwide Business Partner Conference at the Wyndham Hotel and Palm Springs Convention Center. The PS535E is a combination PDA and GPS device that performs and protects your data in the field. It features embedded GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, 8 hours of battery life and a 3.5-inch transflective sunlight readable display for outdoor performance all day long. It also is as Rugged as they come, withstanding testing to MIL-STD-810F and IP54 standards. We hope to have a full review soon! -- Posted Thursday, March 13, 2008

TDS Nomad gets broadband cellular data capability
Tripod Data Systems announced the availability of a new broadband wireless modem for the Nomad outdoor rugged handheld. The EVDO high speed cellular data modem, made by Franklin Wireless, allows users to communicate from the field to office or other locations where Sprint cellular connectivity is available in the U.S. Expanding upon the Nomad's current WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities by adding advanced cellular technology, users now have the ability to move about more freely and extend their range while working in the field. [See review of the TDS Nomad]
-- Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2008

VDC reports on HIMSS 2008
The 2008 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) annual conference took place in Orlando, Florida. Venture Development Corporation (VDC), a Massachusetts-based technology market research firm reports that vendors are turning from horizontal mobile computing solutions to healthcare-specific hardware to appeal to the potentially huge, yet very fickle, healthcare market. VDC cites the "awkward tablet" and commercial-grade handhelds and smartphones as mostly unsuitable for the healthcare market. VDC praised new products that address ruggedness, germ prevention, white casing and acceptable price points as the way to go, and mentioned the industry's impressive adoption of the Motion Computing C5 medical markets tablet. [Read VDC's HIMSS press release] -- Posted Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Added: Gateway C-141
The Gateway C-Series Tablet PC convertible (now called an "adaptable notebook") goes on with the C-141 models, following up on the CX200 Series introduced in October of 2005 and the company's initial M275 Tablet PC convertible. [See description and specs of the Gateway C-141 Tablet PC convertible] -- Posted Monday, March 10, 2008

Added: GETAC P470 and new B300
Rugged computer maker GETAC is on a roll. The company has been introducing slew of impressive new products. We just added a description and specs for the ruggedized "business-class" P470 (left), a compact and fairly light notebook with Core 2 Duo power, excellent connectivity, and a 14.1-inch wide-format screen. Most impressive is also the new B300 (right), a fully rugged notebook that skillfully combines a superbright 1200 nit display with Core 2 Duo L7500 performance, battery life up to 12 hours, and above-average onboard connectivity. [See description and specs of the GETAC P470 and GETAC B300] -- Posted Friday, March 7, 2008

Dual personality rugged military smartphone
Though it looks a bit like it, the Sectéra Edge by General Dynamics is not your average Blackberry clone. Instead, it is a SME-PED — a Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device. The Windows Mobile-based device was specifically developed for the National Security Agency's SME-PED program and is certified by the NSA. It's fully rugged and can be operated both in classified and unclassified mode. [See description and specs of the General Dynamics Sectéra Edge] -- Posted Thursday, March 6, 2008

DRS Tactical lunches ARMOR line of rugged computers
DRS Tactical, located in Melbourne, Florida, announced ARMOR, a line of rugged mobile computers with an emphasis on data protection technology, anywhere connectivity and sunlight readable display options for industrial and government customers. The initial products of the ARMOR line include the compact C12 notebook convertible and the X10 Tablet, a 9th generation Hammerhead. -- Posted Thursday, March 6, 2008

Taiwanese magnesium chassis plant suffers fire damage
Digitimes reports that a fire has damaged the production lines at Taiwanese Waffer Technology, a company specializing on thixomolded magnesium chassis for mobile computers and other applications. Some production is said to be shifted to China. While commercial notebooks still largely use plastic chassis, some rugged device manufacturers may be affected. -- Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dell introduces rugged Latitude XFR D630
Dell is getting serious about rugged notebooks. The XFR D630 is a heavily ruggedized version of the Latitude 630 platform. As such it fits right into the IT infrastructure of numerous organizations that already have hundreds or thousands of Dell Latitudes. But the XFR D630 can more than hold its own with up-to-date technology, excellent connectivity, numerous wireless options, Dell's superb DirectVue sunlight-viewable display technology and impressive ruggedness specs: IP54 sealing, multiple 3-foot drops, operating temperature between -20 and 140 degrees, solid state disk options, a touch screen option, and a competitive price. [Read description and specs of the Dell Latitude XFR D630] -- Posted Tuesday, March 4, 2008

MobileDemand announces production availability of rugged xTablet T8700
MobileDemand announced full production availability of the xTablet T8700, the latest installment in their roster of rugged computer solutions built for a variety of vertical markets. The xTablet T8700, equipped with a data entry keypad and available with scanner and mag card reader options, is ideal for mobile workforces with its unique combination of Intel Core Duo performance, extensive data collection capabilities, and military rated ruggedness. The T8700 is also one of the few rugged tablets we've seen supporting Windows Vista (we published the test scores). See the videos for an amazing demonstration of the unit's ruggedness! [Read full press release] [Read our full review of the xTablet T8700] -- Posted Monday, March 3, 2008

What role will Intel's new Atom processor play?
Intel introduced the low-power Atom processor designed specifically for mobile internet devices. While desktop chips draw as much as 35 watts of thermal design power (TDP) and even ultra-low power Core Duos draw almost 10 watts, the Atoms will draw from 0.6 to 2.5 watts. Intel stresses that the chip is not a shrunken version of a desktop chip, but designed from the ground up. Various Intel sources mentioned its use as in $250-400 notebooks, "Intel's architecture for mobile devices," "devices that fit in pockets," and as "the basis of new sexy: low power and small." And no fan needed. Will Atom replace the ARM-based PXA processors that Intel jettisoned to Marvell? [See our take on Intel's new Atom processor] -- Posted Monday, March 3, 2008

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