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

June 2006

Symbol to use SoftRISC Voice over WiFi
SoftRISC, a provider of VoIP and multimedia software solutions for RISC platforms, announced its Echo Canceller will provide Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) capabilities on future Symbol Technologies' mobile computers. SoftRISC's solutions enable superior voice quality, while eliminating the need for separate DSP and AEC chips by software implementation on host CPUs. This way, Symbol can design voice and multimedia solutions without the use of DSP and AEC chips, resulting in reduction of BOM, board space, power consumption and design complexity. -- Posted Thursday, June 29, 2006

E-Tech Solutions takes core business apps mobile
E-Tech Solutions launched a tool set to mobilize enterprise applications running on Windows Mobile 5.0. The goal is to reduce friction between mobile workers and enterprise apps by allowing data capture at the point of service. E-Tech is rolling out its new mobility initiative with which is using E-Tech's framework to link remote workers at multiple companies to their networks' core business functions, including invoicing, inventory management and customer service. The solution helps companies across multiple industries, including healthcare, pharmaceutical and financial services, meet customers' needs on the first visit, while significantly reducing the cost of sales, service and support. E-Tech's real-time data synchronization links mobile and enterprise with cellular or Wi-Fi connections, enabling companies to have fully-functional remote staff. If devices are out of range, staff can work offline with the most current data, and the devices will auto-synch when reconnected. E-Tech's mobility services work with dozens of devices, including PDAs, smartphones and ruggedized handheld computers and tablets running Windows Mobile 5.0 or Windows XP Tablet Edition. -- Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Symbol sues battery maker over alleged IP infringement
Symbol is sueing Harvard Battery Inc. and Global Technology Systems Inc. d/b/a Honeywell Batteries for allegedly selling batteries that infringe on its intellectual property. Symbol is seeking an injunction to prevent further sales of infringing batteries, as well as monetary damages. -- Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006

O'Neil Product Development newsletter
O'Neil Product Development's June 2006 online newsletter reports on Printing on the Go - Thermal Technology in Law Enforcement; Trouble-Free in Retail - The LP3 Solution; RoHS Compliancy Update; and O'Neil's acquisition by Dover Technologies. O'Neil has long been one of our favorite suppliers of rugged mobile printing solutions. Check the site to sign up for the informative, free newsletter. -- Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Aruba Networks delivers DOD-compliant WLAN
Aruba Networks announced that it is delivering the only WLAN system that meets all requirements of the U.S. Department of Defense's recent mandate on secure wireless access and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS). DoD Directive 8100.2, released June 2, 2006, provides additional guidance on the requirements for any wireless device that is connected to the DoD Global Information Grid and specifies that all such systems should be capable of delivering integrated IDS in addition to other security measures. -- Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bar codes aren't dead quite yet points out that with all the hype over RFID these days, little is reported on advancements in bar code technology. In fact, uses for bar codes and their capabilities are growing, and many manufacturers prefer them over RFID because they cost less. Though bar codes have been around for over 50 years ago, the technology and its applications are still evolving. One increasingly popular use for bar codes, especially in the automotive and aircraft industries, is direct part marking (DPM) where a 2-D symbol is edged onto a part for unique identification throughout the manufacturing process. Symbol makes standard bar code readers with DPM scanning capabilities, whereas before special scanners were needed to read the 2-D symbols. -- Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Symbol selected to provide RFID to China Post
Symbol and its Premier Solutions Partner, Concord Unity International Limited, have been selected by China Post to supply RFID technology to track express mail bags within the postal district of Shanghai. RFID technology has been successfully deployed in the Shanghai Post Express Mail Service (EMS) operations, and is part of an on-going national pilot project co-sponsored by China's Ministry of Science and Technology to validate the benefits of RFID within China Post's operations. -- Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Windows Vista enables universal pen input
Digitizer pen technology pioneer Wacom emphasizes Microsoft's upcoming Vista release introduces significant pen input features for a faster, easier and more efficient computing experience. Wacom pen tablet and pen display users will enjoy intuitive new Vista-enabled note taking resources, handwriting recognition and time-saving gesture control options. The combination of Vista's built-in support for pen input and Wacom's capabilities as a source of advanced input technology will also enable software developers and other hardware manufacturers to integrate compelling pen and touch input capabilities into future products. [ -- Posted Monday, June 26, 2006

UPM Raflatac launches RFID Gen2 campaign website
UPM Raflatac, a RFID tag and inlay manufacturer announces today the launch of a new campaign website designed to provide the retail and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries with detailed information about EPC Gen2 RFID technology. The website features case studies as well as a wealth of information about the Rafsec Gen2 tags and inlays by UPM Raflatac. The website can be accessed at Another valuable feature in the website is the RFID Hall of Fame - a collection of real-world case studies demonstrating successful collaboration between UPM Raflatac and its RFID end-users. The Hall of Fame features major suppliers who are currently shipping RFID-tagged pallets and cases to retail giants METRO Group, Wal-Mart and Target.
-- Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Resizable LCDs validated for custom military applications
In a milestone for the display industry, the U.S. Display Consortium (USDC) announced that General Dynamics Canada has successfully validated the use of a resized commercial Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display (AMLCD) device within the military ground-mobile operational environment. Resized commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) display components provide high-performance solutions at a cost estimated at one-tenth the cost of equivalent custom displays. Commercial display components are available in fixed, "standard" sizes that in many cases do not match the needs of military and other rugged environment applications. The ability to cut and resize lower-cost commercial LCD components to match the needs of both new and established weapon systems is an important factor in minimizing the cost of integrating displays into military equipment. However, resizing commercial display components involve new manufacturing processes that introduce additional stress on the display during the electronics disassembly, glass cutting, resealing and electronics reattachment. [see full USDC release] -- Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2006

AXCESS White Paper on IT Asset Management and protection using RFID
AXCESS International Inc., a provider of RFID solutions and Real Time Location Systems, announced the release of a white paper which details successful implementations of its ActiveTag long range, battery-powered RFID solution for economically and automatically managing and protecting IT assets. More importantly, the paper outlines the solution applicable to data centers, record departments and enterprise operations where computer assets must be accounted for and protected to be in compliance with Federal and State Laws, which require notification to individuals if personal privacy data may have been compromised. The white paper can be downloaded from the AXCESS web site at or by calling Kelly Stark at AXCESS on 972-407- 6080. -- Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Zebra rolls out XML-enabled Z Series printers
Zebra Technologies has expanded its XML-enabled printer family with the release of a no-charge option for XML-enabled printing on its popular Z Series printers. Developed in collaboration with Oracle Corporation, Zebra's XML-enabled printers can accept and parse incoming XML data streams directly from Oracle's Warehouse Management System and Mobile Supply Chain Applications without middleware or additional print server hardware, offering a lower total cost of ownership. -- Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Symbol introduces rugged vehicle mount mobile computer
Symbol has introduced the VC5090 vehicle/fixed-mount mobile computer which combines rugged construction, high performance processing and wireless networking to enable real-time data access and collection on forklifts used in the harshest environments. From the warehouse floor to the loading dock and the freezer, the new VC5090 mobile computer can help warehouse workers increase productivity and reduce errors in receiving, tracking, put-away, picking, scanning and shipping. -- Posted Monday, June 19, 2006

PSC releases the first series of RoHS compliant products
PSC Inc., a global leader in data collection technology, announced the release of its initial series of RoHS compliant products. The Magellan 2200VS and 2300HS fixed retail scanners, QuickScan QS2500, QS6500, QS6500BT Bluetooth handheld retail scanners, and the Master B+ and Master BB+ decoders have all completed their migration to compliance with the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) 2002/95/EC Directive. "PSC remains committed to the reduction of electronic waste reaching our landfills," said Mark Cohen, Program Manager for Regulatory Compliance. "While RoHS is primarily a European standard, RoHS compliant product will become the standard for products shipped to our customers worldwide." -- Posted Monday, June 19, 2006

New reviews posted
We posted full reviews of the durable Twinhead Durabook N14RA, as well as Motion Computing's diminutive LS800 Tablet PC slate and Toshiba's full-size Tecra M4 Tablet PC convertible. -- Posted Friday, June 16, 2006

Healthcare software developer launches website for mobile devices
Advanced medical information systems developer, Global Care Quest, Inc. today announced the launch of, a specialized version of the company's website designed for easy access via smartphones, PDAs and other handhelds. Site visitors can read industry news, access product info, request support and even download and install the company's mobile Integrated Clinical Information System (ICIS Mobile) product directly from any PocketPC or WindowsMobile-powered device. -- Posted Friday, June 16, 2006

Thin computing adds more appeal: less energy usage
Wyse Technology, a leader in thin computing, today announced new green computing research, which demonstrates how organizations can cut desktop energy costs tenfold by deploying thin-computing architectures. While the average traditional desktop guzzles over 80 watts of electricity, Wyse thin clients use about 7 watts -- or 8 watts with overhead from the central server included. Our take: Thin computing is already seen as having numerous security and cost advantages by many governmental agencies and the military. Stressing its energy efficiency will only serve to make think computing even more attractive. -- Posted Thursday, June 15, 2006

Skyscape launches RxPlan for mobile devices
Skyscape, a service for medical information by specialty for mobile devices, introduced the latest in formulary technology with RxPlan, a comprehensive and accurate compendium of health plan formularies. RxPlan contains formularies for over 4700 health plans, including Medicare Part D and Medicaid. It continuously updates the status of over 12,000 drugs, and enables RxPlan prescribers the ability to offer choices based on patient health plan coverage. Designed for Palm, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile PDAs and Windows PCs/TabletPCs, RxPlan searches by drug name, drug class or clinical system and allows the prescriber to browse drug lists within each formulary, giving the status of the drug coverage and automatically selecting possible alternatives for the patient -- reducing hassles and improving efficiency so the prescriber can better focus on delivering the best care. Skyscape has a registered user base of over 550,000 medical practitioners. -- Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wyse beefs up WIn CE 5.0 for Thin Computing
Wyse Technology, the global leader in thin computing, announced exclusive enhancements to Windows CE 5.0 for its thin clients. Wyse Feature Release 2 will be offered in new devices and as an upgrade for current customers. Windows CE 5.0 WFR2 delivers the first industry-standard Atheros-based wireless 802.11a/b/g solution for Win CE; USB Wi-Fi LAN adapter support for thin computing environments; support for WPA-2 and PEAP-GTC authentication protocols for strong 802.11x wireless authentication; a performance-enhanced Citrix ICA 9.0 client for application virtualization and access infrastructure applications; integrated Ericom PowerTerm terminal emulators for legacy systems connectivity; new Terminal Services Advanced Client (TSAC) functionality that connects and launches RDP sessions from within Internet Explorer as ActiveX components; and improved RDP performance under low bandwidth conditions. -- Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006

DRS Technologies gets $398 million Army contract
DRS Technologies, Inc. has been awarded an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity $396 million contract to provide rugged Appliqué Computer Systems and peripheral equipment for the U.S. Army's Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) program. Installed on over 40 vehicle platform types as well as Tactical Operations Centers and other command post platforms, DRS's Appliqué Computer Systems support the Army's Blue Force Tracking requirements, which include beyond line-of-sight reporting and tracking, and significant improvements in vertical and horizontal information integration for incorporation into the military's overall battlefield visualization efforts. The contract was awarded to DRS by the U.S. Army's Communication-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command (CELCMC) in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. For this award, the company's DRS Tactical Systems unit in Melbourne, Florida, will provide rugged Appliqué Computer Systems, including processor, display and keyboard units, as well as rugged solid-state hard disk drives and mission data loaders. Under an initial $79.9 million order, product deliveries will commence in October 2006 and continue through July 6, 2007. -- Posted Monday, June 12, 2006

Symbol RFID helps Hoboken battle parking permit counterfeiting
Symbol and PayLock Inc., a provider of parking enforcement and collections solutions, announced that the city of Hoboken, New Jersey, is pioneering an innovative RFID solution to manage its on-street residential parking program. Hoboken is one of the first municipalities in the United States to implement RFID in this way. Hoboken's solution consists of Symbol MC9000-G RFID mobile computers running PayLock software to read Symbol passive RFID tagged parking permits. With this integrated solution, parking enforcement officials can do away with the laborious car-by-car inspections that were previously needed to determine whether a permit was real or counterfeit. -- Posted Monday, June 12, 2006

IP67 Ethernet switches
When we discuss IP ratings, we usually think of them in terms of rugged, mobile computers. However, a mobile system is only as protected as its weakest link. So it makes sense that peripheral equipment must also be protected. The new SIXNET IP67 switches (ET-5xS-IP67) were designed for the toughest applications, including military. The rugged packaging and Amphenol RJField connectors are rated to protect against water, oil, dust, vibration and much more. Mount them directly to any machine or convenient flat surface. Available in Ring or Unmanaged models. Complement the ruggedness of these switches with Kevlar protected Ethernet cables. -- Posted Friday, June 9, 2006

Zebra adds smart card encoding
Zebra Technologies, a worldwide leader in card printing and bar code labeling solutions, announced that the Zebra P330i plastic card printer now offers an optional integrated smart card encoding solution. The new encoder option supports the ISO/IEC 7816 standard for contact smart cards. -- Posted Thursday, June 8, 2006

Fujitsu T4210 TPC convertible has bi-directional hinge
Ever since the first prototype of Acer's TPC convertible, tablet convertible enthusiasts have had not only to put up with the little-satisfying pivot hinge solution, but also the fact that the thing only turned clockwise. Heck, even big stickers didn't keep many from erroneously twisting the other way, at times with sad results. So Fujitsu took action when it released the LifeBook T4210, the fifth generation of its popular TPC convertible. You can now turn the screen pivot both clockwise and counterclockwise. A small thing and not a total solution to the pivot, but appreciated nonetheless. The T4210 uses, surprise, an Intel Core Duo, has a modular media bay that can accommodate a second battery, has a wide viewing angle 12.1-inch XGA screen, and offers excellent battery life (6.5 hours with one, 11 hours with two). There are dual digital microphones, a dedicated SmartCard slot, a fingerprint swipe sensor, and the usual complement of ports and interfaces. The T4210 weighs just 4.2 pounds and starts at US$1,729. [see full release] -- Posted Wednesday, June 7, 2006

BIO-key unveils latest law products offerings
BIO-key International announced at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Law Enforcement Information Management (LEIM) conference a major upgrade of its mobile messaging and query software products, InfoServer and MobileCop. This release is the next step in providing fingerprint biometric integration, delivering a high level of security combined with ease of use and a lower cost of ownership. BIO-key's InfoServer V5.1 (formerly PacketCluster Server) and MobileCop V5.1 (formerly PacketCluster Mobile) contain significant new features helping over 1200 law enforcement agencies to do their jobs more efficiently and with greater safety. -- Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Panasonic offers licence plate recognition system
Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, a leader in durable, reliable mobile computing and digital video recording solutions for public safety agencies, today announced the availability of automatic license plate recognition through its Toughbook Arbitrator rugged, reliable in-car video solution. This new capability, delivered through the integration of the PlateScan ALPR system from Civica Software, enables agencies to leverage their investments in digital video solutions to identify vehicles of interest during routine patrols. Every license plate scanned by the system is also date, time and GPS encoded. This data can be downloaded wirelessly, consolidated on a single server and analyzed using Civica Software's suite of crime information management tools for post-incident investigation or other requirements. -- Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2006

NEC launches new transflective industrial displays
At ther SID Symposium, NEC Electronics America announced it has expanded its industrial display portfolio of transflective thin-film transistor LCDs to include four new super-transmissive natural light technology modules. With the addition of these new modules, NEC Electronics America now offers transflective products ranging in size from 5.5 to 15 inches, including the poplar 8.4, 10.4 and 12.1 formats. Well-suited to environments with high ambient light, the new LCD modules can be used in products such as ruggedized laptop PCs, and a variety of other outdoor applications. [see NEC's display p[anel page] -- Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Good news for European RFID outlook
Rugged equipment vendors deploying RFID technology in Europe have been hampered by regulations resulting in inadequate channel capacity for large scale deployment of RFD readers. While in the US, the frequency allocated to RFID is sufficient (902-928MHz), this is a big issue in Europe where it is limited to 865 to 868MHz. However the European Telecommunications Standards Institute Task Group 34 (TG34) has now demonstrated a new technique that will overcome the limitation. -- Posted Monday, June 5, 2006

Samsung shows interesting displays at SID 2006
The SID (Society for Information Display) Conference takes place in San Francisco June 4-6. A variety of vendors are showing products that may well have a significant impact on displays and touchscreens used in future rugged mobile products. Samsung showed a 3.5-inch LCD with an embedded touch screen they call a 640 x 480 pixel hTSP (Hybrid Touch Screen). This design does not require a separate printed circuit board because the circuitry is within the panel, making for a thinner, lighter display. In addition, Samsung showed a 7-inch plastic LCD. -- Posted Monday, June 5, 2006

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