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

May 2013

Juniper, Motion, Trimble to exhibit at ACE13 in Denver
The American Water Works Association will hold its Annual Conference and Exposition June 9-13, 2013 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. Among the over 500 exhibitors are rugged computing notables Juniper Systems (Booth 15058), Motion Computing (Booth 13065), and Trimble. (Booth 1065), [Learn about ACE13] -- Posted Friday, May 31, 2013

IDC: Tablets to surpass portable PC shipments in 2013, total PC shipments in 2015
International Data Corporation (IDC) published a new forecast that sees tablet shipments growing 58.7% year-over-year in 2013 reaching 229.3 million units, up from 144.5 million units last year. That means more tablets will ship than portable PCs, and by 2015, IDC expects tablets to outsell notebook and desktop PCs combined. Tablet sizes will change, too. Whereas 8 to 11-inch tablets used to dominate, 55% of all tablets sold in 2013 are expected to have displays smaller than 8 inches. [See IDC press release] -- Posted Friday, May 31, 2013

Tiny computer boards: Advantech SOM-7565 COM Express Mini
Most rugged mobile handhelds, tablets and laptops have motherboards designed specifically for each device. Embedded systems designers often prefer to separate the computer from the I/O and peripheral functionality of their project. This makes projects easy to scale and also obsolescence-proof. We analyzed one such computer module, the tiny Advantech SOM-7565 COM Express Mini that packs an entire Intel Atom N2600-based computer onto a minuscule board. [See description, analysis and specs of the Advantech SOM-7565 COM Express Mini CPU module] -- Posted Friday, May 31, 2013

Juniper Systems signs French distributor SDMO Quiniou
Juniper Systems announced its new business partnership with SDMO Quiniou, located in Haguenau, France. SDMO Quiniou, which has been providing measurement tools and other related equipment to customers in the forestry, public works, environmental, and outdoor recreation markets, will add to its product line Juniper Systems’ rugged handheld computers, including the Mesa Rugged Notepad, the Archer Field PC, the Allegro MX, and the TK6000. [See Juniper press release] -- Posted Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rugged, tough AND secure: Xplore iX104C5-M2
RuggedPCReview.com got some extended hands-on with the recently introduced 2nd gen special military version of the Xplore Technologies iX104C5 platform. It comes with an integrated common access card (CAC) reader. The degree of security the CAC provides is mandatory for many branches of government and their contractors, giving the Xplore tablet an edge where that matters. In the process we re-benchmarked Xplore's invincible tablet (which now also supports Windows 8), and it's as impressive as ever. [See Xplore Technologies iX104C5-M2] -- Posted Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rugged notebooks: challenges and opportunities
We've been working on setting up our new rugged notebook comparison tool over the past few weeks. So far, the tool, where users can compare the full specs of up to three rugged notebooks side-by-side, has far fewer entries than our comparison tools for rugged handhelds and rugged tablets. Why are there only relatively few products out there, and what is the overall rugged notebook situation? [Read more...] -- Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New: Rugged Notebook comparison tool

In order to let interested parties and prospective customers more easily learn about, and compare, rugged and semi-rugged notebook computers, RuggedPCReview.com has added a Rugged Notebook Comparison Tool. The tool allows you to compare the full specs of up to three rugged laptops side by side, and instantly link to our assessment and analysis of the product. We're still in the process of adding more products, so check back or recommend additional products to be added. [Check out the Rugged Tablet Comparison Tool]
-- Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Added: VT Miltope RPDA-1
VT Miltope's RPDA-1 is not for everyone. In fact, the Alabama-based specialist in rugged computing gear for military, industrial, and commercial aviation applications designed the device as a flexible and highly configurable rugged PDA platform able to run Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Linux or Android on its OMAP 3530 processor with Army requirements in mind. It has a 480 x 800 pixel 4.1-inch touchscreen and can be paired with expansion modules to address numerous military and industrial I/O and communications requirements. [See description, analysis and specs of the VT Miltope RPDA-1] -- Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Added: Motorola Solutions MW810 R2.0
MW stands for "Mobile Workstation," and the MW810 is Motorola Solutions' offering for anyone who needs a tough, modular mobile computing solution in their vehicles. By separating the screen, keyboard and expansion box, the MW810 system is easy to mount and use. Customers have a choice of high brightness 12.1 or 8.4-inch displays, the latest in storage technology, and a variety of 3rd generation Intel Core processors. It all adds up to getting largely obscolescence-proof computing power in an extremely flexible and expandable package that's ideal for a wide variety of vehicle mount applications. [See description, analysis and specs of the Motorola MW810 R2.0] -- Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Added: Dell Latitude E6430 ATG
ATG stands for "All Terrain Grade" and at Dell that means "semi-rugged." The 14-inch Dell E630 ATG, while based on the company's consumer Latitude E6430 models, is a good deal tougher and more durable with its spill-resistant keyboard, port covers, shock-mounted hard drive and LCD, and a sturdy magnesium base. Best of all, ATG customers get all the same state-of-the-art technology of the standard E6430 models, and that includes a large variety of 3rd gen Intel Core processors. [See description, analysis and specs of the Dell Latitude E6430 ATG] -- Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Second generation Handheld Algiz XRW ultra-rugged notebook offers major performance boost
We had a chance to spend a few weeks with a production second gen Handheld Algiz XRW. The ultra-rugged 3.3-pound has a 1366 x 768 pixel 10.1-inch touchscreen, carries IP65 sealing, and feels quire indestructible. The switch to a SATA SSD and a faster Intel Atom processor (the dual-core N2600) resulted in an overall 2.5X performance boost in our benchmark testing. [See Handheld Algiz XRW] -- Posted Friday, May 24, 2013

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the fastest of them all?
Which is the fastest we ever tested in the RuggedPCReview benchmark lab? That would be the AIMB-501 industrial motherboard by Advantech. With an Intel Core i5-3550S (Ivy Bridge), the microATX board scored a blazing 1,782 PassMark and 228,751 CrystalMark. It's, of course, not a mobile device, but a board for embedded systems (which may well end up in the field somewhere). [See reviews, analysis and description of the Advantech AIMB-501] -- Posted Friday, May 24, 2013

Duke University researchers use MobileDemand xTablet T7200 rugged tablet computers at Mount Everest base camp
When a Duke University team of researchers set up shop at the Mount Everest base camp at 17,650 feet to study the mystery of human survival in low oxygen environments, they entrusted their data to MobileDemand xTablet T7200 rugged tablet PCs. Under very trying circumstances, the tablets worked just as expected. [See Case Study: Computers in High Altitude Expeditions] -- Posted Thursday, May 23, 2013

3M aims to bring more color to LCDs
3M announced it is in the final stages of scale-up for its new 3M Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF). The new film allows up to 50% more color than current levels in LCDs. 3M says that current LCDs typically are limited to displaying 35% or less of the visible color spectrum, and that the new film will represent a drop-in solution that delivers clearly noticeable more saturated colors. [See 3M press release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2012 microprocessor $-volume marketshare
According to semiconductor market research firm IC Insights, 2012 marked the first year since the 1990s where Advanced Micro Devices hasn't ranked second behind Intel in US$ volume of microprocessor sales. Intel led with a dollar amount marketshare of 65.3%, ahead of Qualcomm (9.4%), Samsung (8.2%) and AMD (6.4%). Freescale, Nvidia, TI ST-Ericsson, Broadcomm and MediaTek rounded out the top-10. Needless to say, the rankings would be different in unit sales. [See IC Insights release on microprocessor sales] -- Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Juniper Systems celebrates its 20th anniversary
Juniper Systems, located in Logan, Utah, is celebrating its 20th year in business! Ron Campbell launched the company back in 1993, and Ron's son, Rob Campbell, has served as president of Juniper Systems since 2001. Campbell says, "From day one, my dad strove to build a company that delivered exceptional products and great customer service, while providing a great work environment for its employees." Juniper prides itself in designing and building some of the toughest rugged handhelds available today, each carrying an IP67 rating (more, really; we tested them underwater) and undergoing extensive MIL-STD testing. Congratulations, Juniper Systems! -- Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013

For restaurants and retail: the new DT Research DT315CT
At the 2013 National Restaurant Association Show at Chicago's McCormick Place (May 18-21, 2013), (DT Research announced the DT315CT, an Intel Atom N2800-powered 9.7-inch Windows 7 tablet with capacitive touch, magnetic stripe reader to read payment, ID, and loyalty program cards, a 2D barcode scanner to improve inventory management, and a 5M camera to verify promotions and set up. [See description, analysis and specs of the DT Research Dt315CT] -- Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Samwell Ruggedbook: Rugged tablet computer use in utility meter systems remote control
While manual utility (electricity, gas, water, heat) meter reading still exists, it is labor-intensive, error-prone, and not well suited to handle the increasing demand for complex and unique purpose metering including tiered and special use tariffs, and extended monitoring. In a new feature Taiwanese Samwell (which will be at Computex Taipei, June 4-8, 2013: TWTC Nangang Upper Level L1302) discusses the increasing use of rugged tablet computers such as their Ruggedbook SR820 to automatically read and manage smart meters, benefitting both utilities and customers via more information, higher accuracy, and better service. [Read Computer use in utility meter systems remote control] -- Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Digitimes: Getac to aim for 30% rugged computing marked share
Now this is from Digitimes, and not from Getac directly: Digitimes reports that Getac aims to reach a global market share of 30% in three to five years with China and North America to be the major target markets. Digitimes also quotes Getac as saying that the market for ruggedized notebooks and tablets is still growing, with especially strong growth in China. Digitimes also reported that Getac had 1Q2013 sales of US$123 million and made a small profit. -- Posted Monday, May 20, 2013

DT Research announces 1-pound point-of-sale/service tablet
DT Research announced the DT307SC, a 7-inch tablet weighing only a bit over a pound, and available with magnetic stripe reader, 2D barcode scanner, RFID, and rear-facing camera with LED flash. Running Windows CE or Windows Mobile, the ARM-powered DT307 is easily integrated with third-party applications. As with most products from DT Research, the DT307SC includes the comprehensive remote management through the server-based WebDT Device Manager software. [See description, analysis and specs of the DT Research DT307] -- Posted Sunday, May 19, 2013

How Motorola Solutions made two mobile computers condensation- and freezer-proof
Good phone conversation today with the PR folks from Motorola Solutions. The occasion was the introduction of two interesting new products, the Omni XT15f industrial handheld, and the Psion VH10f vehicle-mount computer. The key here is the "f" in both of the names. It stands for "freezer" and that's what the two new devices are all about. Big deal? [... read more] -- Posted Friday, May 17, 2013

Vocollect A700 combines voice and handsfree scanning
Vocollect, a business unit of Intermec, unveiled its new Talkman A700 solution that introduces a voice industry first -- integrated voice and scanning in one wearable solution. It consists of the rugged wearable Talkman A730 with an integrated Intermec EA30 imager, a Vocollect headset, and Vocollect voice software for workers that occasionally require a scanner for tasks such as order induction or serial and lot number capture. [See press release and Vocollect A700 page] -- Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pansonic upgrades Toughbook H2 rugged tablet
Panasonic announced it has updated the Toughbook H2 tablet with an Intel 3rd generation Core i5-3427U processor, boosted the standard hard disk from 320 to 500GB, improved estimated battery life from 6.5 to 7 hours, and enhanced connectivity with using an Intel Advanced-N 6235 module (802.11a/b/g/n and Class 1 Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR) and offering either 3G Gobi with GPS or 4G LTE mobile broadband. -- Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dell drops price of Windows RT tablet
Dell, one of the few companies offering a Windows RT-based tablet, dropped the price of its 32GB XPS 10 tablet from US$449 to just US$299. A version with 64GB, dock, and 4G LTE dropped from US$799 to just US$499. That's not a good sign for Windows RT, but good news for anyone seeking a true bargain (we liked our Windows RT tablet; see Windows RT: How Suitable is it for Vertical Markets? Part 1 and Part 2). [Dell XPS 10 Tablet webpage] -- Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DT Research introduces rugged 9.7-inch Windows tablet
DT Research introduced the rugged Windows 7-based DT398 tablet as a tougher, more performance-oriented complement to their roster of point-of-sale tablets. The DT398, which has a 9.7-inch XGA resistive touch display and uses either an Intel Celeron or Core i7 processor, was specifically built to meet the requirements of government and military deployments, though the company also targets construction, utilities, inspections and public safety. [See description, analysis and specs of the DT Research DT398] -- Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Motorola introduces freezer-rated Psion Omnii XT15f
Motorola Solutions introduced the Omnii XT15f, a special "freezer and condensation-rated" version of the Psion Omnii XT15 rugged handheld. Since the temperature extremes and condensation issues when working in and around freezers can affect displays, touch screens, keypads, battery life and longevity, the XT15f includes a variety of frost-free and heating technologies that address those issues. [See description, analysis and specs of the Motorola Solutions Psion Omnii XT15f] -- Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Motorola introduces freezer-rated Psion VH10/VH10f
Motorola Solutions introduced the Psion VH10 and VH10f vehicle computers. The VH10 platform is specially suited for forklifts and similar, offering a bright 8-inch 800 x 480 pixel WVGA touchscreen as well as plenty of function keys and a full QWERTY keyboard. Windows CE 6.0 offers compatibility with numerous apps and software tools, and the device, which uses vehicle power but can also be ordered with a battery backup, is built for use in the harshest environments. The VH10f version includes internal and external heaters to guard against damage from moving in and out of freezer environments, as well as eliminate external condensation. [See description, analysis and specs of the Motorola Solutions Psion VH10/VH10f] -- Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blog: Handheld -- Pursuit of a vision
I had a chance yesterday to meet over dinner with Sofia Löfblad, Marketing Director at Handheld Group AB, and Amy Urban who is the Director of Marketing at Handheld US. I hadn't seen them since I presented at the Handheld Business Partner Conference in Stockholm three years ago, and it was a pleasure catching up in person... [read more] -- Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Intermec Cedar Rapids facility to open May 15
The Gazette reported that Intermec's new US$12.5 million, 81,000 sqft downtown Cedar Rapids facility with leading-edge electrical, mechanical, software and RF test labs will open May 15. The Gazette reported that Intermec, which has 2,300 employees worldwide, has 219 staff at the Cedar Rapids site, most in R&D and design, and with an average tenure of 17 years. [See Gazette article on Intermec facility] -- Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Windows 8.1 preview to become available June 26
At the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston, a Microsoft representative told the audience that the update previously referred to as "Windows Blue" will be called Windows 8.1 and become available as a free update to Windows 8 for consumers through the Windows Store. In a blog post, Microsoft said a public preview of Windows 8.1 will be available starting June 26, timed with the Build developer conference in San Francisco. The preview will be available for Windows 8 and Windows RT. -- Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013

6,500 Datalogic Elf mobile computers improve store replenishment efficiency at The Co-operative Food
Datalogic announced that The Co-operative Food, one of the largest food retailers in the United Kingdom, deployed 6,500 Datalogic's Elf Mobile Computer (see our analysis of the Elf) for speeding up daily operations, thereby increasing productivity of its SMART (Store Merchandising and Replenishment Transformation) system in more than 2,800 stores in the UK. [See Datalogic press release] -- Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Added: Lenovo ThinkPad X230t
Yes, Virginia, it used to be IBM that made the ThinkPads before they sold the business to Lenovo, and the first ThinkPads some 20 years ago were just that, pads, and not notebooks. It was only when pen computing failed to catch on that ThinkPads became laptops. But IBM and then Lenovo never really gave up on tablets, and the current Lenovo ThinkPad X230t is the latest in a long line of convertible laptops. It looks big and heavy now compared to Lenovo's sleek IdeaPads, but it has plenty of power, is very reasonably priced, and exudes a timeless elegance. [See description, analysis and specs of the Lenovo ThinkPad X230t] -- Posted Monday, May 6, 2013

Added: Fujitsu Stylistic Q572
Fujitsu has been a pen computing and tablet pioneer for over 20 years, and that know-how shows in their Stylistic Q572 business-class tablet. The 10.1-inch WXGA (1366 x 768 pixel) IPS anti-glare display is bright (400 nits) and uses the N-trig DuoSense capacitive multi-touch and active pen combo. There are dual cameras (720p front, 1080p and 5mp stills rear), SD and Smart Card slots, and solid state storage up to 256GB. The Q572 is powered by an AMD Z-60 APU that includes AMD RADEON HD 6350 graphics, and runs either Windows 7 or Windows 8. [See description, analysis and specs of the Fujitsu Stylistic Q572] -- Posted Monday, May 6, 2013

New: Rugged Tablet comparison tool
In order to let interested parties and prospective customers more easily learn about, and compare, rugged tablets, RuggedPCReview.com has added a Rugged Tablet Comparison Tool. The tool allows you to compare the full specs of up to three rugged tablets side by side, and instantly link to our assessment and analysis of the product. About 50 rugged tablets have been included so far, and we're still in the process of adding more products. [Check out the Rugged Tablet Comparison Tool]

-- Posted Monday, May 6, 2013

Juniper Systems launches Get Rugged blog
Juniper Systems has revealed its new company blog, named Get Rugged. As the company itself, the Get Rugged blog concentrates on industries that collect data in rugged environments. Juniper's goal with the blog is to provide an entertaining, informative space for those in the data collection sphere who wish to learn more about their field and exchange ideas. Blog authors include Juniper Systems employees from across various departments, promising to offer a wide range of interesting topics and perspectives. "It is important to us for our customers to know that as individuals we are passionate about rugged data collection, and that we aren’t just a faceless business entity," said Kirk Earl, Marketing Communications Manager. [See Juniper press release and Get Rugged blog] -- Posted Thursday, May 2, 2013

Added: DLI 7200 4.3-inch Windows/Android POS PDA
Point-of-sale applications usually reside on fixed station terminals. What if you could use those same Windows POS apps on a handy rugged PDA? Impossible? Not with the DLI 7200, an Intel Atom Z670-powered sturdy PDA that runs full Windows 7 (or Win 7 Embedded or POSReady 7) on a 4.3-inch 480 x 800 pixel capacitive touchscreen and can even be equipped with a RFID/magnetic stripe reader module. But there's more: the DLI 7200 can also run Android. [See description, analysis and specs of the DLI 7200] -- Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013

World Vision boosts global aid distribution efforts with Intermec CN50 rugged mobile computers
Intermec announced that World Vision, a global Christian humanitarian organization that provides humanitarian aid to 12-15 million people each year through relief assistance, has deployed the Intermec CN50 handheld mobile computers for use in aid distribution efforts around the globe. Paired with World Vision's "Last Mile Mobile Solutions" software system, the CN50 has helped World Vision achieve time savings of up to 90% in in-field operations. Other benefits include faster verification, quicker processing time, and reduced wait time for beneficiaries. [See video case study] -- Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Do you remember what happened in rugged computing 5 years ago?
Lots happened in May of 2008: Italian Finmeccanica acquired DRS Technologies, venerable Computerworld reviewed three rugged notebooks, Toshiba announced LED-backlit LCD panels, DisplaySearch predicted touch screens would really take off, SDG announced a Linux-based Trimble Nomad handheld, VDC predicted solid growth for handheld scanners, Handheld US introduced the M3 Mobile PDA, the last before they started their own Nautiz brand, MobileDemand published the first of their humorous ruggedness videos (and celebrated their 5th anniversary), etc. Take a trip down memory lane: RuggedPCReview news May 2008 -- Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013

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    About RuggedPCReview
    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."