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

June 2014

RuggedPCReview blog: Digital data coverage remains a frustratingly analog experience
As editors of RuggedPCReview.com, we're probably better equipped than most to report anytime, anywhere, and under any conditions. After all, we not only have access to the latest and greatest mobile computing and communications gear, but much of that gear is designed to go just about anywhere. The reality is a bit different, as we learned the hard way on a stretch of several weeks on the road and high sea. [Read more...] -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014

Xplore reports record revenue for fiscal 2014
Xplore Technologies reported financials for all of their fiscal 2014. For the entire fiscal year 2014, Xplore reported record revenues of US$35.6 million, up from US$30.5 million for fiscal 2012. There was a net loss of US$1.76 million for the full year, compared with a net profit of US$0.3 million in 2013, attributable to planned increases in operating expenses associated with Xploreís strategy to broaden addressable markets and awareness. [See Xplore financials release] -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014

Juniper Systems blog's latest: pole staking
Juniper Systems' GetRugged blog usually concentrates on specific applications and how-to posts, as opposed to more general contemplations. The latest entry is no exception, explaining Futura Systems' GPSStaker, a new pole staking application. "Pole staking" is a utilities application that involves mapping a new utility pole run, ensuring that the distance between each pole is up-to-code and geo-located, and then recording the GPS coordinates of where each pole should be placed. The blog post explains how it works, and why Juniper's Archer 2 is the perfect hardware platform to run it on. [See GPSStaker — New Pole Staking Application] -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014

Xplore Technologies blog's latest
On the very active Xplore Technologies blog, you can read what IP67 is and why it is important in rugged tablets, why rugged tablets are the new "must have" for the fleet industry, and three applications to empower a more resourceful cable technician. -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014

Keep an eye on IoT — the Internet of Things
ABI Research estimates that the number of developers involved in Internet of Things (IoT) activities will reach 1.7 million globally by the end of 2014. The size of the ecosystem is expected to exceed 3 million developers in 2019, approximately 10% of all software developers. This is certain to have a massive impact on the rugged computing and embedded systems markets. [See ABI Research release] -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014

MobileDemand blog's latest
In their blog, MobileDemand lists Eight Reasons Why Route Sales Personnel Need a Rugged Tablet, and also reports on the rugged PC use by Ben E. Keith Beverage Distribution, the 2nd largest Anheuser-Busch (AB) wholesaler in the USA covering 61 counties in Texas including Dallas and Fort Worth. -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014

OLED Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out
DisplayMate — which is an industry standard for optimizing, calibrating, testing, evaluating and comparing all types of displays — published a very detailed analysis of the 2560 x 1600 pixel OLED displays used in Samsung's new Tab S tablets, and called them "best performing tablet display that we have ever tested." Ultra-high resolutions will eventually find their way into rugged products as well, where they will be much appreciated for GIS/GPS and other deployments that require the highest display resolutions possible. [See OLED Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out] -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014

CipherLab 9700 Series — new handheld for legacy apps
CipherLab is beating the marketing drums for its upcoming 9700 Series Windows CE rugged handheld that offers three different keypads for diverse deployments (2 numeric keypads with 4 or 10 function keys, and a 53 alphanumeric keypad with 20 function keys to handle VT220/TN3270/TN5250 terminal emulation). There are various near, far and long-range laser and imager options, a 6-foot drop spec, IP65 sealing, pistol grip, etc., making the 9700 an interesting candidate for all sorts of new and legacy applications. [See CipherLab 9700 Series product page] -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014

Datalogic and Honeywell celebrate the 40th anniversary of the barcode
On June 26 1974, a scanner designed by Datalogic (then Spectra-Physics) was used to read a package of Wrigley's chewing gum at Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio. When the price of the gum appeared on the cash register, the bar code industry was born. "Datalogic's commitment to helping retailers build valuable and relevant shopping experiences for their customers was born that day in 1974," stated Bill Parnell, CEO and President of Datalogic ADC. "Forty years ago, I could have never imagined the impact that a barcode would have on consumers and businesses all over the world," added Sprague Ackley, technologist, Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. -- Posted Sunday, June 29, 2014

JLT Mobile Computers celebrates 20 years of commitment to quality, 90,000 systems deployed
JLT Mobile Computers, developer of rugged computers for demanding environments, is celebrating 20 years of delivering rugged computers by awarding the customer of its 90,000th computer with a specially extended 20-Year Service Agreement. It reflects the quality built into every single PC the company manufactures, with many of the very first models still being used today. The winner was Baltic Container Terminal (BCT) Gdynia, part of the international port management group ICTSI, at the trade event TOC Europe in London. -- Posted Thursday, June 26, 2014

Xplore introduces thinner, lighter fully-rugged Windows tablet
Xplore Technologies introduced the Bobcat, a fully-rugged 2.5-pound 10.1-inch Intel Bay Trail-powered Windows tablet that complements Xplore's existing line of ultra-rugged iX104 Windows tablets as well as their Android-based RangerX tablet. The Bobcat, which starts at US$2,199, adds a formerly missing piece that further broadens and expands Xplore's reach in the rugged market. The company says "we believe the Bobcat has the potential to create a demand in the market that is 10 times that of our historically successful iX104 line." [See our detailed review of the Xplore Bobcat] -- Posted Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Motorola Solutions unveils rugged MC3200 handheld available with either Windows Embedded Compact or Android
Motorola Solutions introduced the third generation of one of the industry's most successful mid-range rugged mobile computers. The new enterprise-class MC3200 retains the MC3000 Series flexibility with three form factors and three keypads, but is now based on new dual-core OMAP4 processors and is available either Windows Embedded Compact 7.0 or with Android 4.1 with Moto's Mx extensions that add enterprise security and support. The new models retain complete accessory compatibility from any MC3000 Series handheld. -- Posted Monday, June 23, 2014

Panasonic introduces two 5-inch rugged Toughpads
Panasonic introduced new rugged 5-inch enterprise-class handheld tablet platform available in both Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld (the Toughpad FZ-E1) and Android 4.2.2 (the Toughpad FZ-X1) versions. Externally virtually identical but with slightly different electronics, both versions have 14-hour hot-swappable batteries, FIPS 140-2 Level 1 security, and sunlight-readable HD capacitive 1280 x 720 pixel touchscreens that work with gloves. The devices can survive drops up to ten feet, are IP65/IP68 sealed, and can handle extreme temperatures. There's 802.11ac WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, dual cameras, optional 4G LTE, barcode scanner, MSR and more. Pricing starts at US$1,799 for the Android version and US$1,899 for the WEH 8.1 version. Our detailed descriptions and analysis to follow soon. -- Posted Monday, June 23, 2014

Full review: GammaTech Durabook S15H
The Gammatech Durabook S15H, successor to the company's earlier Durabook S15C, is a 6.6-pound notebook computer designed to be tougher and more durable than standard consumer notebooks, but without the extra size, weight and cost of a fully rugged design. It's a very solid, trust-inspiring machine with a large 15.6-inch wide-format display, good connectivity, and good day-to-day functionality. We put an Intel Haswell Core i5-4300M version through its paces and came away impressed. [See full review of the GammaTech Durabook S15H] -- Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Panasonic sponsors Jeff Gordon's No. 24 NASCAR car
Panasonic has expanded its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports with a new multi-year agreement that includes primary sponsorship of the No. 24 team of four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and current points leader Jeff Gordon. Panasonic will be featured as a primary sponsor of the No. 24 team in two Sprint Cup races annually and as an associate-level partner in all other events. It will mark the first on-car branding for Panasonic since joining Hendrick Motorsports as a technology partner in 2007. The agreement covers the 2014, 2015 and 2016 NASCAR seasons. Panasonicís Toughbook brand will be featured on the carís quarter panels. -- Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Article: Rugged Computers Are More Than Just 'Hard Shells'
Even professional users of rugged laptops, tablets and smartphones, are sometimes unsure of what defines a "rugged computer" and how the various tests to validate ruggedness are carried out. A truly rugged computer is so much more than just a normal computer wrapped in a tough outer case, as Handheld's CEO Jerker Hellström explains in this article. [Read Rugged Computers Are More Than Just 'Hard Shells'] -- Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014

ADLINK premieres industry's first quad-core x86 rugged smart camera, the NEON-1040
ADLINK Technology has released the NEON-1040 next-gen rugged camera as part of their ADLINK Vision platform. The IP67-sealed NEON-1040 not only provides high-speed capture and inspection, but also actually runs WES7 on a 1.9GHz quad-core Intel Atom E3845 1.91GHz, dramatically improving on the performance of existing smart cameras. [See ADLINK press release and NEON-1040 product sheet -- Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TKK Electronics wins major national contract from NCEMSC, includes rugged Getac tablets and notebooks
The North Central Emergency Medical Services Cooperative (NCEMSC) has awarded Milwaukee based, TKK Electronics, with a major national contract for providing information technology which includes the Getac line of rugged computers. NCEMSC is a group of more than 3,800 emergency medical services (EMS) organizations in 49 states and several international provinces. The key products TKK plans to offer EMS organizations are the new T800 and F110 rugged tablets, the new V110 rugged convertible laptop and the latest B300 rugged laptop. -- Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cool and useful gear: StarTech's 7-port USB charger
Every now and then we need to mention some of the truly useful gadgets that come into our lab, that we end up using all the time, and that a lot of our readers out there could probably use, too. One such gadget is StarTech's 7-port USB charger. It's amazing how nice it is to charge all your gear at once and use only one wall outlet. [See StarTech 7-Port USB Charging Station] -- Posted Monday, June 16, 2014

Full review: Advantech SOM-6894 with Celeron 2980U
Another Advantech industrial board for embedded systems we reviewed is their tiny (95 x 95 mm) SOM-6894 COM Express Compact module that can be used with a variety of Intel 4th generation Core processors and drive up to three independent displays. Our review board came with the low-end (but still part of Haswell) Celeron 2980U and gave us an opportunity to see how its performance compares to both high end Core as well as older Atom configurations. [See full review of the Advantech SOM-6894 -- Posted Friday, June 13, 2014

Xplore Technologies blog postings outline various applications and benefits of rugged tablet computers in the field
Xplore Technologies is certainly keeping a very active blog these days. In the last few days, they posted entries on telco technicians staying in touch with customers through rugged tablets (see here), how fleet management applications on rugged tablets can be critical for EMS drivers (see here), and how tablets can be instrumental in centralizing operations for natural gas technicians (see here). -- Posted Friday, June 13, 2014

Full review: Advantech AiMC-3200 intelligent micro computer
Advantech's AiMC-3200 is a PC for industrial automation production applications. a remarkably compact, well-conceived, and highly configurable turnkey solutions for systems integrators of any number of machine automation applications. Its PICMG 1.3 compliant design based on half-size SHBs and SHB backplanes offers desktop PC functionality in a passive backplane implementation optimized for more demanding environments such as industrial automation, but also military, medical and telecom applications. [See full review of the Advantech AiMC-3200 intelligent micro computer] -- Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014

Smith Micro delivers Android and Windows 8.1 connectivity and security solutions for enterprise and public sector
Smith Micro announced the release of two new QuickLink Mobility solutions targeted for enterprises and public safety agencies. QuickLink Mobile VPN for Android and QuickLink Unified Connection & Security Manager for Windows 8.1 provide flexibility and control to expand mobile security and connectivity to a variety of mobile devices beyond legacy Windows-based platforms. Smith Micro said that in many industries where field equipment must be ruggedized, demand for smaller form factors is driving rapid replacement of larger laptops to ruggedized Windows 8.1 and Android tablets and smartphones. [See press release] -- Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014

Technology achievement: RAM Mounts IP65-sealed 2.5-pound composite docking station
It's always been our belief that docks should be just as rugged and well-sealed as the devices they are being used for. That's what RAM Mounts offers with their new RAM docking station for the Harris RF-3590 rugged Android tablet. Weighing just 2.5 pounds, the dock carries an IP65 ingress protection rating and can be mounted in numerous ways. [See description and analysis of the RAM IP65 sealed dock and the RAM IP65 product page] -- Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Panasonic adds Bay Trail powered version of its rugged 7-inch FZ-M1 Windows tablet as lower cost alternative
Panasonic announced an Intel "Bay Trail" Celeron N2807-powered version of the FZ-M1 7-inch rugged Windows tablet as a more affordable alternative to the standard FZ-M1 (see here). Panasonic targets the Celeron version, which starts at US$1,299, as a platform for cloud-based applications, delivery routing, email connectivity and other everyday tasks in the field. -- Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Winmate newsletter: Military Panel PCs
In their June 10 newsletter, Winmate featured their Military-grade Rugged Console Panel PC and Display. Built to survive drops, shocks, liquid spills, vibrations, dust, salt, and extreme temperatures, Winmate's Military line of products is tested for both MIL-STD-810G environmental and MIL-STD 461F EMC standards, and comes in 17, 19, and 201.-inch screen sizes. Powered by a 1.86GHz dual-core Intel Atom D2550, the panels offer high resolution (up to 1600 x 1200 pixel), wide viewing angles, auto-dimming, military connectors, and optional 5-wire resistive touch with EMI mesh coating. [See Winmate military Panel PCs] -- Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2014

NEXCOM updates APPC Series panels to Bay Trail Atom E3800
NEXCOM announced it has upgraded its APPC series of rugged industrial panel PCs to the Intel Atom E3800 family of processors. The Atom E3800 is part of Intel's Bay Trail lineup and consists of single, dual, and quad core embedded SoCs, based on Ivy Bridge Intel HD graphics. In addition to much greater performance, this means up to 8GB of RAM. The APPC series supports fieldbus networking with PROFINET, PROFIBUS, DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP and EtherCAT expansion modules and can run CODESYS SoftLogic, JMobile HMI, and Citect SCADA software. [See NEXCOM release] -- Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Magellan celebrates 25th anniversary of the first commercial handheld GPS, the NAV 1000
It's hard to imagine life without GPS. GPS is everywhere, but few people probably know that the consumer handheld GPS just celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Magellan NAV 1000 shipped in May 1989 and revolutionized marine navigation with its handy size, portability, price and low power consumption. There weren't high-res maps that you could zoom and pan back then; the NAV 1000 just provided the user with an LCD readout of latitude and longitude expressed in degrees and minutes. For a great article on all this, check Commerical GPS Turns 25: How the Unwanted Military Tech Found Its True Calling by maskable.com. [See Magellan press release] -- Posted Monday, June 9, 2014

MobileDemand: A rugged Tablet PC mounted on a forklift can set you apart
No matter how well-designed a warehouse is, it can be a difficult working environment. It's for storage, but the warehouse is also inherently one of the most mobile environments. Which means it must run smoothly and efficiently. And that's where rugged tablets come in. As a result, a rugged PC mounted on a forklift can set you apart, says MobileDemand CEO Matt Miller. [See A rugged PC mounted on a forklift can set you apart] -- Posted Monday, June 9, 2014

Preventive maintenance with the Juniper Mesa Rugged Notepad and Turner MobilOps Software
A recent article in the Turner 2.0 Newsletter describes how Juniper Systems' Mesa Rugged Notepad is being used with Turner Industries' MobileOps software solution for preventive maintenance. Turner Industries said that "clients are reporting efficiency gains, drops in unplanned outages, and improved safety, all while building a contractor culture focused on optimum equipment capacity." [See Preventive Maintenance with Mesa & MobilOps Software article] -- Posted Thursday, June 5, 2014

New AMD embedded G-Series processors selected by HP and Advantech for thin client and industrial solutions
AMD announced new x86 AMD Embedded G-Series system-on-chip (SoC) and CPU solutions for embedded applications, including early adoption by HP for thin client deployment in healthcare, finance, education and retail, as well as Advantech for industrial applications in rugged environments. The new product families bring high performance and integrated security with enterprise-class ECC memory support, dual- and quad-core variants, and a discrete-class GPU and I/O controller on the same die. [See AMD release] -- Posted Wednesday, June 4, 2014

CipherLab exhibits at FMI Connect 2014
CipherLab announced it will exhibit at the FMI Connect 2014 show at McCormick Place, Chicago, June 10-13, 2014 at booth 3864. Ciperlab will show how their dedicated OS handheld can help with Intelligent Order Entry solutions or a Telxon replacement solution. Cipherlab will show their coming 9700 series WinMo device as well as their 1600 series Bluetooth barcode scanner, both designed to control cost and boost productivity on mobile computing and barcode scanning applications. -- Posted Wednesday, June 4, 2014

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