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

April 2011

Datalogic: Returned to profit in 2010
Datalogic's CEO, Mauro Sacchetto, comments at April 28, 2011 board meeting: "2010 marks a return to profit for the Datalogic Group and validates the strategic decisions made in recent years. The challenge today is continuing to outpace growth in our key market, a performance we achieved in the first months of the year, although the macroeconomic and geopolitical situation remains unstable. -- Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011

Amrel releases ROCKY DB6, the smallest fully rugged handheld with Windows 7/Linux
Amrel announced the launch of the ROCKY DB6, which the company calls the smallest fully rugged handheld that supports both Windows 7 and Linux. The Intel Atom powered DB6 has a very bright (700 nits) 5-inch WVGA (800 x 480) display, a hot-swappable battery good for five hours, numerous connectivity choices, and has been tested according to MIL-STDs 810G and 461F and other standards. Amrel designed the DB6 for tactical communications, mobile biometrics, robotic command & control, first responder, and oil & gas applications. [See Amrel announcement and description and specs of the Amrel ROCKY DB6] -- Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011

Advantech releases quicker, improved second gen patient infotainment terminal
If ruggedized Patient Infotainment Terminals—bedside terminals that let doctors look up things and patients communicate and entertain themselves—catch on, Advantech already has a second generation product. Compared to the PIT-1501W (see full description) we reviewed a while ago, the just released and EN-60950 and EN-60601-1 compliant Advantech PIT-1502W has a faster dual core Atom processor, a brighter 15.6-inch touch display, faster LAN, a higher res camera (2 vs 1.3mp), more OS options, the ability to smoothly play back 1080p video, and about 1.5X performance compared to the first gen PIT-1501W terminal. [See Advantech news item on the PIT-1502W] -- Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is the race for media tablet supremacy already over? Many developers think so
Who could forget Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stomping around the stage and yelling "developers, developers, developers!" at conferences in the mid-2000s (see Balmer developers spoof video on YouTube)? Well, according to the Appcelerator/IDC Mobile Developer Report, April 2011, the developers have spoken and the news isn't at all good for Microsoft, and not even that good for Android. [read more] -- Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GroupMobile and FACS alliance to provide mobile construction project management solution
Group Mobile and Field Automated Communication Systems have announced an alliance that will provide a complete construction project management solution for the AEC industry. The relationship will combine FACS Project Controller project management software with rugged laptops and tablet computers supplied by Group Mobile to provide a turnkey solution to streamline construction project management. [See GroupMobile release] -- Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Socket reports Q1 2011 financials
Socket Mobile reported revenue for Q1 2011 of US$4.0 million, compared to US$3.8 million Q1 2010. Net loss for the quarter, though, was still $928,000, compared to a net loss of about a million in Q1 2010. Socket CEO Kevin Mills said that "The increasing order pace for both our barcode scanners and our handheld computers reflects the improving economy, recent product introductions including our 2D Cordless scanner, and the phasing out by Hewlett-Packard of its 200 series handheld computers (iPaq 200 Series Enterprise Handhelds) in Japan." -- Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Glacier Computer's Everest S9000 Atom-based panel
Glacier Computer of New Milford, CT, recently announced the release of the Everest S9000 stainless steel rugged computer terminal. The Intel Atom N270-based and P65/NEMA 4 sealed unit is designed for food processing, healthcare, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. The S9000 comes in 12-inch and 15-inch XGA display versions, includes a 2.5-inch SATA HDD, 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual internal antennas, runs Windows XP or Windows 7, and has a variety of mounting systems. Operating temp range is -4 to 122F. [See Glacier Everest S9000 product page] -- Posted Monday, April 25, 2011

Mitsubishi adds superbright 5-inch WVGA display
Mitsubishi Electric announced the launch of a new 5-inch 800 x 480 pixel WVGA TFT LCD for industrial use. What sets the unit apart are a very wide 170 degree viewing angle both horizontally and vertically, and a brightness of 800 nits that's far brighter than most available LCD modules in that size range. The package is also only 3.9mm thick (less than 1/6th of an inch). [See Mitsubishi release] -- Posted Monday, April 25, 2011

Motion F5v tablets used at Texas commercial contractor
Motion Computing reports that Texas-based commercial contractor SpawGlass has implemented Motion F5v Tablet PCs running the Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management scheduling program as part of its enterprise-wide building information modeling (BIM) adoption strategy. With the F5v Tablet PCs in place, SpawGlass is saving time, improving efficiency and streamlining project site management, all while providing the project owners with a portable asset management solution. [See Motion press release] -- Posted Friday, April 22, 2011

Qualcomm announces Proof of Delivery app
Qualcomm announced the Proof of Delivery handheld application, which leverages Intermecís CN50 rugged mobile computer. Targeted at private fleets, dedicated logistics operations and specialized carriers, Proof of Delivery is designed to help fleets operate more efficiently and reduce costs by allowing the driver to automate work assignments performed outside of the vehicle, such as barcode scanning, exception management and signature capture. [See Qualcomm news release] -- Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RuggedPCReview now tweeting
You can now follow what's going on at RuggedPCReview on Twitter. We won't deluge you with tweets, but provide first impressions on products and news, review updates, and other exciting stuff. [Follow RuggedPCReview.com on Twitter!] -- Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Psion getting ready to ship the EP10 rugged PDA
Psion describes the new EP10 rugged PDA as having "all the functionality of high-end, full-size devices in a smaller form factor and at an affordable price." The 13-ounce EP10 runs Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.3 on an 800MHz TI OMAP3 processor, has a large 3.7-inch VGA display, camera with flash, 2D imager, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, 3.5G WWAN, an unusually full complement of sensors, good ruggedness specs and a full-shift battery. [See description and specs of the Psion EP10] -- Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Warok (Germany) orders 1,000 Psion EP10
Psion announced that Warok GmbH in Germany, Psion's largest distributor, has placed an order for 1,000 units of the new Psion EP10 rugged handheld computer following what the company calls "unprecedented customer interest." The EP10 PDA is on schedule to begin shipments within the first half of 2011 with larger volumes planned for the second half of 2011. [See Psion release]
-- Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DRS ARMOR X10gx gets Sprint certification
DRS Technologies announced that the ARMOR X10gx rugged tablet computer has been approved for connectivity on the Sprint 3G network. This certification will enable ARMOR customers that use the integrated WWAN capabilities of the X10gx on Sprintís network to experience the benefits of a seamless data and communication exchange. -- Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DisplaySearch: Smartphone screens trend larger, higher res
DisplaySearch just published its latest Quarterly Mobile Phone Shipment and Forecast Report which had some interesting data: First, the fastest growing display technology is AMOLED, which will draw even with LTPS and amorphous silicon TFTs within a couple of years. Second, smart phone displays are getting larger. Third, resolution is getting higher. 240 x 320 pixel QVGA is being dropped in favor of 480 x 800 pixel WVGA, with the 640 x 960 pixel DVGA iPhone 4 setting the pace. What this likely means is that the many millions of smartphone users will demand the same and higher resolution from their rugged handhelds. -- Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RAM mounting solutions for media tablets
With millions of media tablets increasingly used in all walks of life and business, people need proper proper mounting solutions for them. We're taking a look at RAM Mount's media tablet mounting solutions for the iPad/iPad 2, Motorola Xoom, BlackBerry PlayBook, the Samsung tablets and any other 7- and 10-inch tablet, including lock-mounts, an iPad case and various mounting methods. [See RAM mounting solutions for media tablets] -- Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Full review: Getac V200 rugged convertible notebook
If you need a rugged, versatile notebook computer that's still compact enough to carry around in the field, the Getac V200 should be on your short list. With its superbright 1,200 nits 12.1-inch wide format display, various digitizer and touch options, and high performance (2.0GHz Intel Core i7), the V200 offers a state-of-the-art implementation of the convertible notebook concept. It's also tough and rugged, doesn't need a fan, and has remarkably long battery life. [See full review of the Getac V200] -- Posted Monday, April 18, 2011

GE adds more COTS rugged systems
GE Intelligent Platforms is expanding its range of rugged systems for control applications in challenging environments such as unmanned vehicles, launch vehicles, and commercial helicopters and aircraft. The CRS-C2I-3CC1 and CRS-C3I-3CB1 2-slot and 3-slot rugged CompactPCI systems run Linux, Windows or VxWorks, weigh around 10 pounds, and provide CANbus, MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429 as well as discrete I/O on top of regular Ethernet, serial and USB. -- Posted Saturday, April 16, 2011

Magellan introduces a rugged handheld GPS for GIS professionals
Magellan, which is owned by MiTAC, the same company that also includes rugged PC manufacturer Getac, has introduced a rugged, lightweight and waterproof Windows Mobile 6.5-based handheld GPS computer geared towards GIS professionals. The Magellan eXplorist Pro 10 has a 240 x 400 pixel sunlight-viewable touch screen, runs 15 hours on a couple of AA batteries, and includes a SiRFSTAR III GPS module whose inherent 10-15 foot accuracy can be augmented to sub-meter performance via a supplemental external Bluetooth connected SBAS or dGPS/beacon receiver. Bluetooth can also be used to connect to an external laser rangefinder, and there's geotagging via internal 3.2mp camera, 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter. [See description and specs of the Magellan eXplorist Pro 10] -- Posted Thursday, April 14, 2011

Case study: How Panasonic Toughbooks helped free trapped Chilean miners
Panasonic published a case study outlining how Panasonic Toughbook 29 (an earlier version of the current Toughbook 31) and Toughbook U1 computers were used during the successful Chilean mining rescue operation late 2010. The Toughbook 29 was used in the rescue command center in conjunction with Zephyr Technologyís BioHarness BT sensor technology and data to assess miner health data and determine rescue logistics. The smaller Panasonic Toughbook U1 (see our full review of the Toughbook U1), running Zephyr's OmniSense software was then used in the rescue capsule itself, monitoring miner vitals on the long way up to safety. [See Panasonic Chilean Minor Rescue case study]
-- Posted Thursday, April 14, 2011

Psion web event on supply chain automation
On April 20th, 2011 at 2:00 pm EDT Psion will host a live 1-hour Web event, titled "How to Automate the Supply Chain: Extending the Value of Your SAP Installation," that shows how integrating the latest data collection technologies with SAP applications can greatly improve warehousing efficiencies. [See Registration] -- Posted Thursday, April 14, 2011

Acrosser launches fanless telematics in-vehicle computers
In-vehicle telematics computers are increasingly used to improve fleet management, vehicle/trailer tracking, vehicle safety warning system and intelligent vehicle operation. To allow customers to take advantage of telematics, Taiwanese industrial computing pioneer Acrosser introduced the new Intel Atom D425/D525-based AR-V6002FL series of in vehicle computers for telematics applications. The rugged, fanless and dustproof system uses standard vehicle battery power, can handle extreme temperatures, vibration and shock, and offers CAN Bus support, GPIO, and various optional comms modules. [See Acrosser rugged vehicle PC] -- Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Samwell rugged medical tablets deployed at Taipei Veterans General Hospital
We're seeing an increasing convergence of computing platforms. The Medical Clinical Assistant tablet platform Intel pioneered a few years ago is increasingly used in field and semi-rugged applications. On the other hand, rugged and semi-rugged tablets are finding application in clinical environments. Samwell, which is ISO 13485 certified, for example, offers a clinical/healthcare version of its Ruggedbook SR820 tablet, the MCA9, and that tablet has been successfully adopted by the highly regarded Taipei Veterans General Hospital. Implemented by a bio tech systems integration company, the MCA9 allows doctor and nurse to review patient records, including X-ray, medical imaging, history and more. [See Samwell MCA9 product page] -- Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Datalogic Q1 revenues up 17% year-on-year
Datalogic announced preliminary revenues for the first quarter of 2011. Preliminary sales revenue for the first quarter of 2011 reached 105 million Euros (US$152 million), representing nearly 17% growth compared to the first quarter of 2010 and a 3% rise compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. Datalogic Mobile, which makes mobile computers for professional use, closed the quarter with sales revenue of 21 million Euro (US$30.4 million) up 2% -- Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Heavey RF backs Psion Omnii platform with initial 400-unit XT10 purchase
Psion announced that wireless mobile solutions provider Heavey RF has endorsed Psion's Open Source Mobility (OSM) strategy with an initial purchase of 400 Psion XT10 devices for its operations in the UK and Ireland. It is focusing on upgrading its existing customers to the new devices. [See Psion press release] -- Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Handheld Group wins massive contract for rugged PDAs
The Handheld Group announced that it has won the contract to supply the Netherlands Railways with more than 10,000 rugged Nautiz handhelds, 6,000 of which will be the Nautiz eTicket Pro, containing an Arcontia RFID module. According to Handheld, this is the largest tender in the world for rugged PDAs in public transportation during the past year, and one of the largest in the world for rugged handhelds for all business verticals. The contract was won by HS Mobility, a consortium formed by Handheld Group with Dutch software partner Sigmax B.V. The Nautiz eTicket Pro is a specialized version of the Nautiz X5, of which we said that a "combination of powerful leading edge technology, a high-res display, a variety of advanced data capture and communications functions, and a tough but still compact housing make it an excellent multi-function computer and communicator for many commercial and industrial jobs" (see our review of the Nautiz X5). [Read Handheld Group press release] -- Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stealth releases Core i3/i/5i7 Mini PC
Stealth.com Inc. has released their most powerful industrial mini-PC yet. The LPC-670 measures just 6.5 x 6.2 x 1.9 inches, yet provides Intel Core i3/i5/i7 (up to 2.67GHz i7) power and exceptional integrated I/O (gigabit LAN, WiFi, four USB 2.0, serial, DVI-I, audio and HDMI), and there's room for either up to 750GB of hard disk storage, or SSD. Price starts at US$1,650. [Check Stealth LPC-670 specs and pricing] -- Posted Monday, April 11, 2011

DAP Technologies and Solzon partner to integrate rugged computers into enterprise mobility solutions
Rugged computer manufacturer DAP Technologies and systems integrator Solzon Corporation have entered into a reseller agreement. Solzon's customers can now integrate DAP's full line of ultra-rugged PDA, handheld, tablet and fixed-mount computers into their enterprise mobility solutions. [See DAP press release} -- Posted Monday, April 11, 2011

Semi-rugged handheld keeps Garnet OS alive...
In response to customer requests for a compact Garnet OS handheld (previously known as the Palm OS), Aceeca announced the availability of the PDA32. Featuring battery capacity at more than twice the average consumer device, the PDA32 is targeted at commercial customers requiring a handheld that can last all day, is semi-rugged and is low cost with guaranteed long-term availability. The Samsung S3C2440-powered PDA32 has a 3.2-inch 320 x 480 pixel touch screen, costs just US$179, and Aceeca offers custom colors and branding. [See Aceeca release] -- Posted Monday, April 11, 2011

Motorola Solutions announces Service from the Start with Device Management
Motorola Solutions announced the addition of Service from the Start with Device Management to its services portfolio tailored for enterprise customers with a minimum install base of 500 mobile computing devices. The new service integrates break/fix repair and support with device management in a single program. David Thomas, VP, Motorola Solutions considers it "the natural next step in the continuing evolution of service repair and support," and Motorola Solutions expects the new program to lower total cost of ownership of mobility investments. [See Motorola Solutions press release] -- Posted Monday, April 11, 2011

Mobile computing industry stands to benefit from massive cameraphone sales
According to Strategy Analytics, over a billion cameraphones will be sold in 2011, up from about 920 million in 2010. High-end models with resolutions of 8-megapixel and higher will grow especially quickly, as manufacturers are attempting to make ever more advanced imaging applications possible. This will doubtlessly have an impact on the dedicated camera market. It will also mean that miniaturized high-quality camera and flash modules ought to be more available to the rugged mobile computing industry. -- Posted Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gartner forecast on smartphone OS market share
Since phones have become little computers and are in many ways replacing more conventional computers, what happens on phones is important to the computer industry, and especially mobile computing. While the definition of "smartphone" compared to a regular cellphone remains fluid, research and analyst firm Gartner says worldwide smartphone sales will be 468 million in 2011, up 58% from 2010. By 2015, Gartner sees 1.1 billion. Of major OS platforms, Gartner predicts leader Symbian vanishing (2010: 37.6%, 2015: 0.1%). Android's share rises from 38.5% this year to half of all smartphones, but then stays there. That's primarily because Microsoft will make a comeback, from about 5% now to almost 20% in 2015, largely due to Nokia switching to WIndows Phone 7. Apple's iOS has almost 20% in 2011, and will remain more or less steady through 2015 (17.2%). RIM, despite a migration to QNX, will decline from 16% in 2010 to just 11% in 2015. Our take: If these numbers are on the mark, then vertical market handhelds, which are now all Microsoft-based, may still have a migration path rather than a forced switch to Android. [See Gartner release on smartphone OS market] -- Posted Friday, April 8, 2011

Review: Trimble Ranger 3
The Trimble Ranger 3 is the latest version of a large, rugged, full-featured handheld computer designed from the ground up for use outdoors. It's a big handheld with a large 4.3-inch full-VGA display, a large 58-key keypad, a large battery that lasts multiple shifts, and enough ruggedness to reliably work anywhere. The Ranger 3 has a laser scanner, e-compass, accelerometer, 5mp camera with flash, advanced GPS, a fast processor, plenty of storage, BT, WiFi, and optional WWAN. RuggedPCReview.com put the Windows Mobile 6.5-based Ranger 3 through its paces and found much to like. [See full review of the Trimble Ranger 3] -- Posted Thursday, April 7, 2011

Psion reports on financials, progress
Psion released its 2010 Annual Report, showing 2010 revenues of £175 million, versus £170 million in 2009. There was a normalized operating loss of .9 million versus a profit of  million. Psion estimates the Americas market for rugged computing solutions to be US$890 million, with Psion holding a 5% market share. European markets are estimated at US$760 million, and Psion holds 13% of that, and of the US$430 million 5%. Psion stated it is unusually affected by currency fluctuations as it purchases most of its components in dollars and has to pay for them in dollars, an issue when a large portion of Psion's revenue is in Euros. Psion stated it has the industry's largest online community (www.ingenuityworking.com) with over 12,000 registered members. And in 2010, of course, the name was officially changed to just Psion, with reasons ranging from the complexity of the Psion Teklogix logo, and that the old name was "difficult to say in many languages" and "failed to convey a sense of who we now are." [See Psion annual report] -- Posted Thursday, April 7, 2011

Full review: Handheld Group Nautiz X3
When you can't—or don't want to—carry multiple devices in the field you need a handheld that does it all. The Handheld Group's 9.5-ounce, Marvell PXA320-powered Nautiz X3 was designed to combine strong performance with extreme ruggedness and good value. The Nautiz X3, which starts at US$999, uses Windows Mobile 6.5, has a barcode scanner, GPS, camera, WWAN, and can also be used as a smartphone. [See full review of the Handheld Group Nautiz X3] -- Posted Monday, April 4, 2011

LXE and and Powercomp announce distribution partnership
LXE and Malaysia-based Powercomp Distribution announced a distribution partnership that will significantly extend the availability of LXE products through a new, high-growth distribution channel in Southeast Asia. -- Posted Friday, April 1, 2011

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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.

    "Over the many years that we have been testing and reviewing rugged mobile computers, and in our professional careers prior, we have noticed that there is very little standardization and that potential clients are often confused where and what to buy," said Dr. Conrad H. Blickenstorfer, Editor-in-Chief of RuggedPCReview.com and former CIO of the New York State Dormitory Authority. "We hope that our new service will answer many questions and provide all the answers a client needs to make an informed decision."