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

April 2006

Can Toshiba match BEO Hydis in wide-angle displays?
We've been raving about the BEO Hydis wide-angle displays that have set a new standard of excellence in displays, especially for Tablet PCs. Now Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology announced it has incorporated optically compensated bend (OCB) and field sequential technologies into a 9-inch TFT LCD panel. OCB technology provides wide viewing angles in all directions and ultra-fast response time. Pen Computing's Technology Editor provides initial commentary on the Toshiba wide-angle approach in the Pen Reader Q&A section. -- Posted Monday, April 24, 2006

LXE April Newsletter focuses on service
Recipients of LXE's industry newsletter find a common-sense, but on-the-mark examination of what service means in today's vertical markets. The first installment examines Service Before the Sale. -- Posted Monday, April 24, 2006

InPlay introduces new battery-free digital pen/digitizer
InPlay Technologies announced today that its FinePoint Innovations subsidiary has expanded its product line with the introduction of a patent-pending, battery-free computing pen system. Like FinePoint's self-powered pen technology, the new MagicPoint 820 pen is a cordless, active RF digital pen versus the analog pen used with most pen computing systems in the Tablet PC market today. Detailed info on the MagicPoint 820, including a downloadable PDF, is available from the FinePoint site. -- Posted Thursday, April 20, 2006

New Intermec EasyCoder PD41 Printer
Those who seek a value-priced, rugged, high-performance on-demand label printer should look at Intermec's new EasyCoder PD41 bar code printer. It's housed in a rugged metal case and is geared towards affordable use in transportation and logistics, light industrial and retail applications. The PD41 can produce variable-data labels continuously at 6 ips, can take industry-standard 8-inch rolls and 15,000 feet of ribbon, reducing downtime. The PD41 offers high-speed, multi-channel Ethernet as a standard configuration, in addition to serial, parallel and USB connectivity.
-- Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sybase iAnywhere SQL Anywhere 10 Beta
Sybase subsidiary iAnywhere announced beta availability of SQL Anywhere 10, the next generation of its database and synchronization product for frontline environments. SQL Anywhere was built from inception to address these unique, data rich environments, which include high-performance server and desktop applications running at remote customer sites, workgroup applications deployed in enterprise departments and remote offices, and mobile applications used by sales people or service technicians. [Link to iAnywhere 10 Beta] -- Posted Monday, April 17, 2006

VDC predicts sharply rising RFID spending
RFID systems spending for retail in-store applications reached nearly $88 million globally in 2005, according to a recently released report by Venture Development Corporation (VDC). VDC forecasts growth of more than 35% per year in retailer spending on RFID for in-store point-of-sale (POS) applications through 2010, when the market is expected to reach nearly $400 million. [Data from the VDC 2005-2006 RFID Business Planning Service] -- Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2006

IKEY releases compact rugged wireless keyboard
Rugged computer peripherals maker IKEY released a new input device for mobile PC applications. The DW-860 wireless industrial keyboard has a sealed, industrial silicone keypad and a robust ABS polycarbonate case and uses 2.4 GHz WirelessUSB technology with up to a 30-foot signal range. Radio signals aren't susceptible to line of sight issues and the DW-860 even works through a metal enclosure. The small footprint keyboard has a 3-button pointing device, eliminating the need for a mouse. Engineered for use in manufacturing, material handling, POS and other harsh environment applications, the compact IP65-sealed DW-860 meets NEMA 4X industrial specifications, ensuring protection from dust, water and corrosive liquids. [see details]

-- Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2006

HardwareZone reports on Panasonic's 4-Series
As someone who visited the Matsushita/Panasonic Toughbook factory in Japan, I've always had a special appreciation for the Toughbook line. A while ago we added capsule reviews and specs of the 4-Series replacements of the amazingly lightweight, yet durable Toughbook 2-Series, the T4, Y4, and W4. Today we found an excellent summary of the Toughbook 4-Series at hardwarezone.com. -- Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Added Amrel ROCKY Patriot DA4-M Rugged PDA
We added a capsule review and full specs on Amrel's Rocky Patriot DA4-M Rugged PDA, a fully ruggedized, yet amazingly light and compact handheld targeted at military applications. The device features a large 4-inch full 480 x 640 pixel transflective display. -- Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Salesforce.com Introduces AppExchange Mobile
Salesforce.com, the technology and market leader in on-demand customer relationship management, announced AppExchange Mobile via the acquisition of Sendia Corp. The combination of the AppExchange on-demand platform with mobile technology from Sendia will mobile-enable more than 60 on-demand applications that are currently available on the AppExchange. The AppExchange Mobile platform provides critical features for mobile development including over-the-air management, secure and reliable data transfer, and support for handheld devices such as RIM's BlackBerry, and wireless operating systems and platforms including Intel's Centrino, PalmOS, RIM OS and Windows Mobile (beta).[see release] -- Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Virgin Atlantic picks Symbol RFID to track assets
Symbol and PEAK Technologies were chosen by Virgin Atlantic Airways to supply RFID technology as part of a pilot project to track critical, high value aviation assets moving through its logistics supply chain at Heathrow International Airport. Virgin Atlantic is the first airline in the United Kingdom to use RFID technology to track parts onsite. Virgin Atlantic deployed Symbol's MC9000-G RFID handheld mobile computers with RFID readers and a Symbol wireless LAN infrastructure, including a WS2000 wireless switch and AP300 access ports. The aim of the pilot is to track and trace high value repairable aircraft parts often at short notice. -- Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Zebra introduces small, rugged, handy IP54 printer
Zebra Technologies released the RW 220, a rugged mobile thermal printer for indoor/outdoor receipt printing and payment processing applications, along with specialty media designed to withstand hot and cold temperature extremes, resist sunlight and UV light, and stand up to outdoor use. The RW 220 prints tickets or receipts up to two inches wide and is a smaller version of the RW 420. The IP 54-rated RW 220 withstands exposure to water and dust, and can resist extreme temperature, precipitation and repeated six-foot drops to concrete. Available are a snap-in-vehicle mounting cradle, standard USB, 4MB Flash and 8MB RAM, and a 32-bit chip for fast processing of receipts with graphics, complex bar codes and fonts using advanced and secure wireless communication.

-- Posted Monday, April 10, 2006

A different kind of rugged mobile computing
With an eye on homeland security, MobileRobots Inc's unveiled its new Seekur all-weather robot, on preview at the Institute for Defense & Government Advancement's Military Robotics 2006 Unmanned Systems show. Seekur will be the first robotic platform designed to patrol in, out, and around storage facilities and outbuildings, climbing ramps and small steps. Its unique omni-directional wheels turn sideways in place, allowing Seekur to easily maneuver within tight spaces. The robot is built to weather extremes of snow, sand, cold, and heat. Unlike other outdoor robots, Seekur is unmanned, though it can be teleoperated. Proprietary firmware running on an environmentally hardened microcontroller controls the platform. It accepts commands and transfers status and sensor readings to a PC client running Linux or Windows, and using Aria and other robotics development libraries to handle navigation, path planning, and many other robotics tasks. -- Posted Monday, April 10, 2006

Fastech's mobile web-based survey solution
Fastech, a provider of mobile, retail merchandising solutions for the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry, introduced FastLink, an innovative Web-based survey technology to measure and respond to the needs of retail customers. Data is managed through wireless laptops, PDAs and cell phones. The system is fast and flexibility in designing surveys, as well as capturing and analyzing data that can be exported to Excel or CSV format for distribution and analysis. -- Posted Friday, April 7, 2006

RFID transaction: Sirit acquires SAMSys assets
Toronto-based RFID provider Sirit Inc. has entered into an agreement with SAMSys Technologies Inc. to acquire all of the assets and undertaking of SAMSys, also an RFID company. Sirit expects to integrate SAMSys' technology and product offerings with Sirit's family of RFID readers, to provide customers and OEM partners with a broad range of RFID solutions and form factors. -- Posted Friday, April 7, 2006

Datalogic now Intermec RFID Rapid Start participant with acquisition of PSC
Intermec said the Datalogic Group, headquartered in Bologna, Italy, has become a member of Intermec's RFID Rapid Start program following its acquisition of PSC Inc., an original RFID Rapid Start licensee. The Datalogic Group is a leading manufacturer of CCD and laser-based bar code readers, mobile computers and RFID systems. The Intermec Rapid Start program provides participants access to various portfolios of the intellectual property encompassed within Intermec's 150+ RFID patents. -- Posted Thursday, April 6, 2006

Digital Persona biometric ID to support Itronix VR1
Digital Persona, Inc., a provider of biometric authentication solutions for enterprise networks and commercial applications, announced that its DigitalPersona Pro fingerprint authentication solution now supports Itronix GoBook VR1 semi-rugged notebooks equipped with an integrated fingerprint reader. The DigitalPersona Pro fingerprint recognition software affords Itronix notebook users another layer of protection by enabling remote, secure network access that combines traditional safeguards, such as passwords, with fingerprint-based authentication technology. -- Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Motorola HC700 first to support Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile
Motorola announced that its HC700 series rugged mobile computing devices will be the first to support Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile for Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005. Leveraging Microsoft's trusted Windows Mobile software platform and Communicator Mobile, Motorola HC700 series devices are designed to provide enterprise field users with more secure, flexible, real-time communications that enable true seamless mobility. -- Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Smart Labels USA 2006 Conference Highlights
As one of the staple annual industry events, Smart Labels USA was attended by users and vendors from all regions. Now in its fifth year, the event attracted several hundred senior-level delegates from the supply chain, manufacturing, printing, labeling, packaging and logistics sectors. The two-day conference featured speaker sessions that included major end-user application examples, smart label manufacturing techniques, and advanced technologies. Roughly 40 RFID manufacturers and suppliers exhibited. In addition, a special pavilion, dedicated to developments in Asia (most notably China and Japan) was showcased. While there was much to learn at the event, three major topics took center stage:

- Application opportunities for high-margin, high-volume labels in 'niche' markets;
- Vertical market-specific RFID requirements, implementation experiences, and next steps - covering new opportunities from users and step-by-step implementation approaches; and
- New RFID technologies from fully printed RFID to active RFID with sensor technology.

In addition to these topics, Smart Labels USA focused on new and different types of chipless RFID technologies, as well as the impact and profitability of active RFID (and its convergence with WiFi, Zigbee, etc.). Sessions were dedicated to passive chip RFID solutions (including new long-range HF systems) and the manufacturing of RFID smart labels.

It was refreshing to participate in a conference program that did not solely concentrate on supply chain compliance, applications, and technology. The agenda included a broad spectrum of topics, speakers (users, vendors, analysts), technologies, industries, verticals, and regional markets. The presentations on 'emerging' technologies such as chipless RFID and printed organics were most interesting and visionary, although their practical applications and near-term adoption scenarios appeared underdeveloped. [This report by Venture Development Corporation. For further information about the "RFID Business Planning Service 2005-2006: Global Asset and Transaction Management Systems Market Analysis" or any other VDC service, contact: Marc Regberg, VP, 508-653-9000, Extension 111, msr@vdc-corp.com].
-- Posted Monday, April 3, 2006

FloraCraft goes with Psion Teklogix and Interlink
FloraCraft, the world's largest fabricator of Styrofoam brand products for the arts, crafts and floral industry is using WHSe-LINK, Interlink Technologies' warehouse management software package and Psion Teklogix' rugged 7535 hand-held devices, to keep track of products in its three-storey, 250,000 square foot warehouse. The new solution is helping FloraCraft decrease the time it takes to track inventory and improve accuracy. The WHSe-LINK software package links barcode and RF technologies to provide paperless, real-time, and advanced WMS functionality. In combination with Psion Teklogix' 7535 hand-held devices, WHSe-LINK provides efficient system directed tasks for enhanced user productivity and drives inventory tracking to the floor level.

-- Posted Monday, April 3, 2006

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