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

March 2016

Moore's Law revised; Intel moving to 30 month cycle
The Motley Fool reported that Intel will move away from its 24-month "tick-tock" cycle that was based on Intel co-founder Gordon Moore's "law" that the number of transistors on a defined piece of silicon will double every two years. Instead, Intel is moving to a 30-month "process, architecture, and optimization" cycle where the "optimization step adds another six month to the cycle. [See As Moore's Law Ends...] -- Posted Thursday, March 31, 2016

FBI certifies AMREL's XP7-ID rugged biometric smartphone
Fingerprint readers are on numerous devices these days, but when it comes to serious biometric verification, industrial-grade, FBI-approved technology and solutions are in order. And that's what AMREL's new XP7-ID ultra-rugged Android-based biometric smartphone offers. It combines a tough, waterproof 4-inch procap smartphone with a specialized "enrollment and verification" fingerprint sensor for defense, public safety, and industrial markets. [See description, analysis and specs of the AMREL XP7-ID biometric smartphone -- Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Foxconn buys Sharp for US$3.5 billion
It's official. Foxconn, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer, is buying Sharp, the storied Japanese electronics company with over a century of technology innovations, for US$3.5 billion. That's less than a fifth of what Facebook paid for the WhatsApp messaging applet. This is the first takeover of a large Japanese electronics producer by a foreign company. -- Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016

New RTX standard for rugged Computer-on-Module boards
Advantech, AAEON, Avalue, ARM, NXP and Texas Instruments announced collaboration on a new open form factor ARM-based Computer-On-Module (COM) specification for industrial applications. RTX, which stands for Rugged Technology eXtended, describes a compact (68x68mm), robust (2mm thick boards, four board connectors for stacking) standard with with excellent anti-shock and anti-vibration capabilities, wide-range power input and wide operating temperature range (-40° to 185°F), making RTX an innovative form factor for ruggedized applications. Advantech announced two initial RTX boards, the ROM-3310 and the ROM-3420. [See Advantech media release and RTX standards website] -- Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Getac aims for 30% market share for rugged devices in 2018
According to DigiTimes, Getac expects its revenues to reach US$620 million in 2016 with ruggedized product lines contributing over 50% of the revenues. The company is also aiming to increase its share in the ruggedized PC market to 30% in 2018, up from 20% in 2015, staying stably as the second largest player in the market. Getac had revenues of US$562 million for 2015 with net profits of US$39.4 million, up 44.91% on year. -- Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Janam introduces smartphone-style rugged 5-inch Android Lollipop touch computer
Janam introduced the Janam XT2, a smartphone-style Android 5.1-based touch computer. The IP67-sealed XT2 has a 5-foot drop spec, a very wide -4° to 140°F operating temperature range, yet its footprint is no larger than that of an iPhone 6 Plus. The XT2 has a 5-inch 1280 x 720 pixel procap display, dual cameras, MSR, RFID/NFC, and an integrated industrial-grade Zebra SE4710 1D/2D imager. [See Janam media release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Janam XT2] -- Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016

VIA demos Mobile360 Surround View System
VIA Technologies announced that it will demonstrate their new in-vehicle VIA Mobile360 Surround View System during the 2016 Mid-America Trucking Show being held from March 31st to April 2nd in Booth 60113 of the Kentucky Expo Center, in Louisville Kentucky. Specifically designed for real-time commercial vehicle monitoring, security, and tracking applications, the system utilizes VIA Multi-Stitch Technology to seamlessly combine up to six camera feeds on the fly and create an all-encompassing 360° view that can be displayed locally or remotely. [See VIA Mobile36 surround view system] -- Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2016

50 years of Intel innovations
In light of the recent passing of former Intel CEO Andy Grove, and the 40th anniversary of the microprocessor, TechRepublic ran a fascinating look back at Intel's top contributions to the field. [See 50 years of Intel innovations] -- Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2016

ARBOR IoT-500: Dashboard for the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is coming on strong, and with it a flood of hardware and software tools and building blocks. One of them is the ARBOR IoT-500, a small Android-based mini-panel PC with a high-res 5-inch procap display and comprehensive connectivity. The ARBOR IoT-500 can be mounted almost anywhere and provides a handy dashboard for visualizing, and responding to, what the Internet of Things is doing. Applications are endless. [See description, analysis and specs of the ARBOR IoT-500] -- Posted Monday, March 28, 2016

Avalue announces all-in-one mini POS
Avalue Technology announced the Mini POS, RiPac-10P1, a new all-in-one Mini POS retail solution featuring a 10.1-inch main display, an adjustable 5-inch customer display, a built-in NFC reader, an integrated thermal printer with rich I/O ports for further connectivity. The Intel Atom Z3735F-powered Avalue Mini POS measures only 11.8 x 12.4 x ,5.7 inches, making it suitable for applications such as hospitality, retail, ticketing, queue management and any place where space is limited. [See Avalue RiPac-10P1 Mini POS -- Posted Friday, March 25, 2016

Kelli’s Gift Shop Suppliers improves its warehouse management solution with Janam rugged mobile computers
Janam Technologies announced that Kelli’s Gift Shop Suppliers, a wholesale distributor of gift products that offers more than 4,000 items from more than 700 vendors, has deployed XG3 rugged mobile computers from Janam to optimize its distribution center operations. With employees scanning approximately 20,000 items per day, Janam’s XG3 rugged mobile computer plays a critical role in maximizing efficiency and providing visibility into distribution processes within Kelli’s warehouse management operations. [See Janam media release] -- Posted Thursday, March 24, 2016

Xplore Technologies launches new integrated website
Xplore Technologies announced it has launched a new fully integrated website that showcases the combined strengths and product offerings of Xplore and Motion Computing. The new Xplore website serves as a central resource for partners and customers, reflecting the integrated product portfolio and future of Xplore. "It has been an exciting year of bringing the Motion Computing product line together with Xplore under one corporate brand and product umbrella,” said Peter Poulin, chief marketing officer at Xplore Technologies. “Feedback from our customers on how best to address the global rugged tablet market was a critical factor in the design, and content, of our new integrated website. We are confident our customers will find the right rugged tablet platform to meet their industry and business requirements.” [See Xplore media release] -- Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2016

ARBOR unveils M1860 Android patient infotainment terminal
ARBOR Technology announced the ARBOR M1860, an 18.5-inch patient infotainment terminal based on the TI OMAP 4470 Cortex-A9 CPU, to complement its growing line-up of patient healthcare products. With the introduction of the M1860, Android joins Windows Embedded and Linux as available operating systems for ARBOR’s patient infotainment terminals, providing an alternative for customers creating applications for various healthcare scenarios where the additional OS option may reduce development time and deployment cost. [See ARBOR M1860 product page] -- Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2016

CTL announces rugged convertible Chromebook
CTL, headquartered in Oregon, announced the CTL J5 Rugged Convertible Chromebook. Featuring a 11.6-inch 1366x768 pixel 360-degree rotatable IPS display with 5-point capacitive multi-touch, the US$249 CTL Chromebook is ideal for schools or mobile professionals who want the versatility of an Intel N3050 "Braswell"-powered 3.5-pound Chromebook, which serves either as a notebook or a tablet, is splash- and drop-resistant, and has 10-hour battery life. [See CTL J5 Rugged Convertible Chromebook] -- Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Inventec and Advantech set up joint venture
According to DigiTimes, Inventec and Advantech announced the establishment of a joint venture, AIMobile, for R&D, production and marketing of high-quality industrial tablet and handheld solutions for retail, automotive and medical applications. Advantech chairman KC Liu pointed out that the company is seeing strong demand from clients for handheld IoT devices, and believes the market has strong potential for growth. -- Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Full review: Janam XT1 5.9-inch Android rugged mini-tablet
What if you seek a light and handy data collection and communication device with a larger screen than virtually any other handheld computer, but one that comes in a package that's smaller than even compact tablets and offers integrated industrial grade scanning? Then it's time to look at Janam's Android-based 5.9-inch XT1 "mini-tablet." [See full review of the Janam XT1 mini-tablet] -- Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CipherLab's RS30 Android touch computer certified by MOBISOFT
CipherLab USA announced that its newest Android touch computer, the RS30, is certified for MOBISOFT’s Customer Ordering solutions. MOBISOFT has been providing Customer Ordering solutions that utilize CipherLab terminals for almost 20 years. CipherLab's new RS30 android touch computer is just the latest device that MOBISOFT's MOBIair Customer Ordering, Sales Order Entry and Mobile Labeling solution supports. -- Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Handheld signs framework agreement with Saab
Handheld Group announced that its Nordic subsidiary Handheld Scandinavia has signed a strategic agreement with Saab – a global defense and security solution provider. The 2-year agreement includes ultra-rugged tablets for Saab's military, aerospace and emergency services solutions and covers Handheld's existing range of tablets as well as future products. Saab has integrated Handheld’s Algiz 10X rugged tablet with Paratus, Saab’s modular information system for emergency care. The system has been deployed in ambulances throughout Sweden. Most recently, Saab deployed Algiz 10X rugged tablets equipped with SITHS smart card readers. SITHS (Secure IT for health care) is based on a two-factor electronic authentication protocol and is the current standard for all National Quality Registries in Sweden. [See Handheld Group news release] -- Posted Monday, March 21, 2016

Logic Supply releases 15-inch IP65 Panel PC
Logic Supply introduced the UPC-V315-QM77 rugged, fanless Panel PC. The colorful 15-inch panel is IP65-rated, has an all metal chassis, front facing camera and programmable physical function buttons, making it ideal for a wide range of industrial automation, kiosk, access control, inventory management and other HMI applications. [See Logic Supply media release] -- Posted Thursday, March 17, 2016

VIA Technologies introduces Smart IoT Mobility system
VIA Technologies and Japan Taxi Co., Ltd. unveiled the Smart IoT Mobility system, which integrates a full suite of communication and connectivity features to enhance passenger convenience and safety while reducing costs through smart fleet management and new on-demand passenger services. The Smart IoT Taxi system comprises a rugged compact VIA AMOS-825 in-vehicle system and a 7” touch panel display, and has been finely tuned to withstand the rigors of the road through a number of key enhancements -- Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: MobileDemand xCase for Microsoft Surface tablets
We've had a chance to field-test MobileDemand's xCase for Surface. Available for the Microsoft Surface 3 and Surface Pro 4, the xCase is really more than just a case. It's more like a tough, tight-fitting exoskeleton that converts a Surface tablet into a well-protected, easy-to-carry tool for jobs out there in the field, without losing any of the tablet functionality. [See review of the MobileDemand xCase for Surface] -- Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Juniper Systems on freezing and baking rugged handhelds
We love ruggedness testing "torture chambers." It's where rugged gear can be tested before shipping to customers, and it's also where manufacturers learn just how much their products can take. Juniper Systems' illustrated blog article "Yep, we bake and freeze our rugged handhelds" shows how they are testing their rugged handhelds and tablets. -- Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Android KitKat and Lollipop now on almost 3/4 of all devices
Google has published the latest Android version marketshare. Starting with oldest first, Gingerbread (2.3.x) still has 2.6%, Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.x) 2.3%, Jelly Bean (4.1, 4.2, 4.3) 22.3%, KitKat (4.4) 34.3%, Lollipop (5.x) 36.1%, and Marshmallow (6.0) 2.3%. [See source] -- Posted Monday, March 14, 2016

Gamber-Johnson announces new Zebra TabCruzer docking stations for Zebra ET50/55 tablets
Gamber-Johnson announced a series of TabCruzer docking stations for the Zebra ET50/55 rugged tablets as an easy solution to meet material handling and other fleet vehicle connectivity needs. The TabCruzer for Zebra has tested and passed MIL-STD 810G vibration and shock testing, SAE J1455 crash testing, and cycle testing @ 30,000 cycles for lock and docking mechanism. [See Gamber media release and TabCruzer product page] -- Posted Friday, March 11, 2016

Full review: GammaTech DURABOOK S15AB
The 15.6-inch semi-rugged Gammatech DURABOOK S15AB, successor to the company's earlier full-size DURABOOKs S15C and S15H, is an Intel Broadwell-powered notebook computer designed to be tougher and more durable than standard consumer models, but without the extra bulk, weight and cost of a fully rugged design. Compared to earlier versions, this is a lighter, slimmer design with longer battery life. [See full review of the GammaTech DURABOOK S15AB] -- Posted Thursday, March 10, 2016

ADLINK launches open modular architecture for industrial cloud computing and IoT solutions
ADLINK Technology, which provides cloud-based services, intelligent gateways, and embedded building blocks for IoT edge devices, introduced MICA, the Modular Industrial Cloud Architecture (not to be confused with Advantech's MICA medical tablets). In essence, for cost and availability reasons ADLINK proposes the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platforms for the next generation of industrial IOT solutions. [See ADLINK media release and MICA page] -- Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2016

What happened in rugged computing 5 years ago: March 2011
In March 2011, Advantech launched a rugged in-vehicle solutions campaign, Juniper Systems' Mesa Rugged Notepad was named NASA Tech Briefs Product of the Month, and Technology editor Geoff Walker presented an overview on the status of active digitizer technologies. LXE introduced the rugged Thor vehicle-mount and proudly announced their 2010 sales were up 29%. Getac released the MH132 rugged handheld, Psion said it was profitable in 2010, Microsoft released Windows Embedded Compact 7, Apple the iPad 2, and Western Digital bought Hitachi's hard drive unit. We reviewed the Fujitsu Lifebook T580, the Panasonic U1 Ultra rugged UMPC, and ACC Systems' AT870. The U.S. Army was going to test GD-Itronix GD300 wearable PCs, Eurotech released the WL1500 wearable computer, and DAP launched their next-gen Atom-based M9000 line of rugged dual-OS tablets. [See March 2011 archive] -- Posted Monday, March 7, 2016

Rugged tablet quality: Just what telecoms need to build quality networks
Xplore Technologies' latest blog looks at the fierce competition between telecom providers where pricing wars and special teaser deals are used to gain and retain customers. However, long-term retention and profitability, says Xplore, remains dependent on service reliability and the delivery of innovative, on-demand, cross-platform technologies, And this, the blog states, is why several of the top U.S.-based global telecom operators have invested so significantly in rugged tablet technologies for their mobile workforce over the past decade. [See Rugged tablet quality: Just what telecoms need to build quality networks] -- Posted Monday, March 7, 2016

Advantech's Smart Factory Road Show
Advantech alerts to a series of road shows that discuss the future of manufacturing, and changes that are being made to factories to make them more intelligent and connected. Concepts and technologies such as Industry 4.0, 3D printing, intelligent robots, and intelligent "things" make smart(er) manufacturing possible. Advantech and Gexpro invite you to join them in Sacramento, Calif., on April 14 for their Smart Factory Roadshow. [See registration, and Roadshow Preview video] -- Posted Friday, March 4, 2016

Full review: RuggON VM-521 vehicle-mount computer
With the VM-521, RuggON Corporation provides an elegant, meticulously designed and finished ultra-rugged vehicle mount computer for use in a very wide variety of deployments that require a solid, fixed-mount system. With a compact footprint that allows mounting almost anywhere, the very solid all-metal VM-521 addresses the needs of customers who require tablet computer power and functionality, but in a much more substantial package. [See full review of the RuggON VM-521 vehicle-mount computer] -- Posted Thursday, March 3, 2016

GammaTech partners with En-Net Services to bring its rugged computers to government agencies
GammaTech announced its newest partnership with En-Net, an information technology solutions supplier to public sector and government entities throughout the US. This partnership gives all En-Net customers access to GammaTech’s entire Durabook line of rugged mobile computing solutions. [See GammaTech media release] -- Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Report: Global Medical Tablet PC Market 2016
QY Market Research offers "The Global Medical Tablet PC Industry 2016 Market Research Report" on the current state of the Medical Tablet PC industry. The report is said to focus on leading industry players with company profiles, product pics and specs, capacity, production, price, cost, revenue and contact info. There's analysis of upstream raw materials, equipment and downstream consumers analysis, as well as analysis of Medical Tablet PC industry development trends and marketing channels. (Note: we have not seen the report, nor does the release contain any data) [See Global Medical Tablet PC Market 2016] -- Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Case study: Rugged Nautiz X4 handhelds improve logistics and cargo monitoring for a Scandinavian transport company
Handheld Group reports that Scandic Trans, a transport provider in Finland, has chosen Handheld's Nautiz X4 rugged handheld computers to meet their needs of logistical management, full communication capabilities and real-time cargo monitoring in every environmental condition. The Nautiz X4 also makes their jobs easier while saving time and increasing efficiency. [See case study] -- Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2016

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    The editor and co-founder of Pen Computing Magazine launched RuggedPCReview.com 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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