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

July 2017

A future where quality is king -- A look at Zebra's 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study
RuggedPCReview takes a closer look at Zebra's 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study that provides not only information on how over a thousand manufacturing industry executives see the current and future use of data capture technology of their operations. We find that Zebra also offers a compelling blueprint of how to move from a strictly ROI model to embarking on a future where simple cost-cutting is replaced by greatly enhanced visibility over both supply chains and production lines via a finer mesh of intelligent gates, optimizing both quality and cost in the process. [Read A future where quality is king -- A look at Zebra's 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study] -- Posted Monday, July 31, 2017

Zebra study reveals one-half of manufacturers globally to adopt wearable tech by 2022
Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), the market leader in mobile computers, scanners, and barcode printers enhanced with software and services to enable real-time enterprise visibility solutions, today revealed the results of the Zebra's 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study, a body of research analyzing the emerging trends shaping the future of industrial manufacturing. The global study revealed manufacturers are adopting the IIoT to enhance visibility and improve quality. [See Zebra press release] -- Posted Monday, July 31, 2017

Our tribute to GammaTech's 30 year Anniversary
GammaTech Computer Corporation is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, July 2017. That's amazing longevity in an industry where big names come and go. And it marks GammaTech as one of the pioneers in an industry and technology that truly changed the world. So congratulations, GammaTech, on your 30th anniversary, and for contributing so much to making computers durable, tough and rugged enough to hold up out there on the job and in the field. And for keeping them affordable. Best of luck for the future. You have much going for yourselves. [Read GammaTech celebrates its 30th anniversary] -- Posted Monday, July 31, 2017

DT Research blog: Military-grade rugged tablets answer the call of duty
A recent DT Research blog describes how purpose built rugged tablets for the military meet a variety of challenges faced daily by military personnel on or off base, in an office setting or a demanding environment. High-grade, cutting edge technology is nothing new for the US Armed Forces, but rugged tablets are becoming more popular across branches and bases, on land, in the air, and at sea. [See Military-grade rugged tablets answer the call of duty] -- Posted Monday, July 31, 2017

Utah State University Engineers Without Borders students use Juniper Archer 2 to identify dangerous arsenic levels in Peru
Arsenic is a carcinogen, increasing cancer rates for those who ingest it. Found at high levels in the groundwater in a number of countries, a group of seven Utah State University engineering students left for the Puno region of Peru, just north of Lake Titicaca, to work toward eliminating the problem. After data collection training from members of the Juniper Systems team and extensive arsenic removal research prior to the trip, students worked to identify arsenic levels through sample mapping and removal exploration. [Read full blog post] -- Posted Monday, July 31, 2017

Xplore secures new workforce mobility project with major telecommunications provider
Xplore Technologies announced that it has secured multiple orders for its high performance XSLATE R12 rugged tablet PC part of a new multi-year project with one of the largest telecommunications providers in the United States. The long-time Xplore customer is now equipping its Outside Plant Engineers with the Intel®-powered 2 in 1 tablets, office docks and accessories as part of a division-wide mobile technology upgrade that began this month. The XSLATE R12 will replace standard-issue corporate laptops and replicate the paper-based planning workflows that have been used for years. Xplore expects ongoing orders over the next several quarters in support of this project. [See Xplore press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 27, 2017

Rugged mobile computer maverick GammaTech Computer Corporation celebrates 30th anniversary
GammaTech Computer Corporation is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month. Founded in 1987, GammaTech is the North American branch of Twinhead International Corporation. Best known for its DURABOOK brand of rugged laptops, tablets, and all-in-one computers, the company has a long history in the U.S. mobile device market. "The devices our customer's purchase are critical to the success of their missions," said Tom Wang, President, GammaTech. "When it comes to government, law enforcement and the support of critical infrastructure, businesses want to partner with a company that has extensive market expertise and delivers on reliability and performance, but also one that will be around if you need assistance. With 30 years in the mobility space and a focus on rugged computing solutions designed to operate in environments where failure is not an option, GammaTech is a company our customers and partners can trust. We look forward to the next 30 years of partnership, and innovation." [See GammaTech press release] -- Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trimble introduces new Android application for field surveying and data collection
Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) introduced today Trimble® Penmap® for Android, a cloud-connected application for field surveying and high-accuracy Geographic Information System (GIS) data collection that works on mobile handhelds, smartphones and tablets. The application runs on a variety of Android devices, including the rugged Trimble TDC100 handheld, and supports full-featured Trimble Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers such as the Trimble R10, R8s and R2 receivers. [See Trimble press release] -- Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Themis launches its next generation RES-XR6 Rugged Servers with Skylake Architecture
Themis Computer, a manufacturer of rugged computing platforms, today announced the launch of its next generation XR6 Rugged Enterprise Servers (RES) featuring the newest Intel® Xeon® Scalable (Skylake) Processors. "The inexorable march of Moore's Law continues," said Bill Kehret, CEO of Themis Computer. "and our latest generation of Rugged Enterprise server products will continue to offer the industry's best value for mission critical applications, outside the datacenter." [See Themis press release] -- Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hampshire firefighters safer and public better served with integrated communications
Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI) and Radiocoms today announced that Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will deploy 1,000 MOTOTRBO radios and the WAVE 5000 Mobile Communicator service. The agreement will enhance communications and the safety of fire staff both in-vehicle and on the frontline. The new MOTOTRBO DP4601e portable radios will provide the fire service with a range of innovative features such as push-to-talk instantaneous communication, enhanced audio quality, integrated accelerometers for man-down protection, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi. [See Motorola Solutions press release] -- Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Full review: RuggON PM-311B 7-inch rugged tablet
Small rugged tablets are increasingly used in all sorts of field-based data collection and data verification deployments. With their Blaxtone PM-311B, RuggON offers a tough and exceptionally versatile rugged tablet platform that has uses in numerous public safety, government, military, industrial and commercial applications. With a footprint no bigger than that of an iPad, the PM-311B fits almost anywhere, yet offers full Windows 10 IoT Enterprise features, performance and capabilities. RuggedPCReview examined the PM-311B in detail and found it an exceptionally versatile tool of impeccable quality. [See full review of the RuggON PM-311B] -- Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017

DT Research and ITG bring purpose-built rugged tablet solutions to defense health market
DT Research, the leading designer and manufacturer of purpose-built computing solutions for vertical markets, and Integration Technologies Group (ITG) announced the companies will showcase several models of the Rugged Medical Tablets in the ITG booth #509 at the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium (DHITS), Orlando, FL, USA — show July 25-27 in Orlando. [See DT research press release] -- Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dell Rugged to face extreme test in Clipper Round the World yacht race
Clipper Round the World announced that Dell Rugged laptops and tablets will equip this year contestants in Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, one of the toughest endurance races through the most inhospitable corners of the globe. Dell’s Latitude Rugged devices will be fitted to each of the Clipper Race’s twelve 70-foot ocean racing yachts. Crew members will rely on the machines for navigation, communicating to home base, and recording their journey. A special feature is how the devices are specially equipped to handle the extreme heat, cold condensation, shock, and salt water erosion they will experience in their 11 month race. [See Clipper Round the World press release] -- Posted Friday, July 21, 2017

AI at the Edge: Motorola Solutions and Neurala to work together on intelligence for cameras
Interesting things are happening in mobile cameras used as bodycams and similar. Instead of just recording footage, there emerging camera systems can actually analyze image streams on the fly and search for objects (like types of cars) or persons of interest such as missing children and suspects.Motorola Solutions announced that it will work with artificial intelligence (AI) company Neurala to develop intelligent cameras for public safety users. The companies will work together to integrate Neurala’s AI capabilities with Motorola Solutions’ software and cameras, including its Si500 body-worn camera. [See Motorola Solutions press release] -- Posted Friday, July 21, 2017

Four Seasons building products achieves greater supply chain efficiency with Janam rugged Mini-Tablets
Janam Technologies LLC, a leading provider of rugged mobile computers that scan barcodes and communicate wirelessly, announced that Four Seasons Building Products, a division of Latium USA, one of the largest privately held remodeling groups, is using the Android-powered XT1 rugged mini-tablet from Janam to provide full visibility across its supply chain. [See Janam press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017

Zebra unveils high-performance industrial printers that improve operational visibility and productivity
Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), the market leader in rugged mobile computers, barcode scanners and barcode printers enhanced with software and services to enable real-time enterprise visibility, introduced the new ZT600 and ZT510 industrial printers designed to withstand the harshest environments while delivering superior print quality and uptime. Zebra also announced Printer Profile Manager Enterprise, a browser-based remote printer management solution for Zebra® Link-OS® enabled printers that greatly reduces cost and management time. [See Zebra press release] -- Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Switch to PCIe SSDs helps updated Xplore R12 rugged tablet shatter benchmark performance records
Xplore Technologies' rugged 12.5-inch XSLATE R12 tablet was already among the fastest devices RuggedPCReview has ever tested. Now Xplore raised the ante once again by switching to an even faster Kaby Lake processor and, most importantly, switch from SATA to PCIe solid state disks. The result is absolutely blazing PassMark benchmark performance. The updated XSLATE R12 is half again as fast as the predecessor model, and the overall fastest device we have tested in the RuggedPCReview lab. [See Xplore press release and Hot-rodding the rugged tablet — Xplore Technologies presents super-high performance version of its sleek, lightweight 12.5-inch R12 Kaby Lake Windows tablet] -- Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Chicago Communications Community recognizes Zebra Technologies for intelligent enterprise campaign
Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), the market leader in rugged mobile computers, barcode scanners and barcode printers enhanced with software and services to enable real-time enterprise visibility, announced its "Intelligent Enterprise" campaign has earned two notable communications industry awards, the Golden Trumpet Award and Skyline Award in the B2B marketing category. [See Zebra press release] -- Posted Saturday, July 15, 2017

15 years ago, Microsoft was ready to change the world with the Pocket PC Phone
15 years ago, Microsoft invented the smartphone. They really did. It was called the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone. In the September 2002 issue of Pen Computing Magazine, RuggedPCReview.com editor Conrad Blickenstorfer wrote: No one knows just yet if the world is ready for a convergence between cell phones and PDAs. And no one really knows if such a convergence makes sense in the first place. Be that as it may, in my book the T-Mobile/Pocket PC Phone Edition combo is far and away the best attempt at a completely integrated wireless voice and data communicator yet. Microsoft and its hardware partners really went all out on this one, and the result is magnificent. No product or service is for everyone and that applies for the T-Mobile as well. But if you've been waiting for a powerful wireless PDA that is also a cellphone, this is it. The wait is over. [Read the full article T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone (August 2002)] -- Posted Friday, July 14, 2017

Crystal Group announces next generation rugged rackmount computer line-up with new Intel Xeon processor family (Skylake) architecture
Crystal Group, a leading designer/manufacturer of rugged computer hardware, announced today the redesign and integration of its rugged rack mount computer series with the latest Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor Family powered by Skylake. The next generation of Crystal Group's rugged rackmount products include a host of robust enhancements including a substantial jump in compute performance, greater scalability, increased security, and even more agility to adapt to changing technologies. The improved capabilities are critical in today's rapid technology transformations. [See Crystal Group press release] -- Posted Friday, July 14, 2017

Panasonic works with Volkswagen to deliver a next generation production line mobile testing solution for the automotive manufacturer
Volkswagen and Panasonic have collaborated to create a new rugged and versatile Automotive Mobile Test Solution (AMTS). Christoph Lach, Project Manager, at Volkswagen AG explained: "The AMTS is based on the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 tablet and it meets our production requirements. We use the hardware for commissioning the control units in the vehicle. We have the option of connecting to an external vehicle communication interface, which enables us to communicate with the vehicle, but we can also load the UPS-Client from the vehicle. The steering wheel holder meets all the requirements we had here in the group, which means it's compatible with every steering wheel." [See Panasonic press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 13, 2017

Xplore Technologies collaborates with Microsoft to accelerate Internet of Things solutions
Xplore Technologies Corp announced it has joined Microsoft Azure Certified for Internet of Things (IoT), ensuring customers get IoT solutions up and running quickly with hardware and software that has been pre-tested and verified to work with Microsoft Azure IoT services. Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT allows businesses to reach customers where they are, working with an ecosystem of devices and platforms, allowing for faster time to production. [See Xplore media release -- Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Windows Phone 8.1 support ends, raising many questions
Windows Phone 8.1 support ended July 11, 2017, a bit more than three years after it was introduced. That comes after Windows Phone 7 users could not upgrade to Windows Phone 8, and Windows Mobile users were stranded when the original Windows Phone appeared. Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise is supposed to be the successor of Windows Embedded Handheld, but Windows 10 Mobile's marketshare is minuscule. It's hard to figure out where Microsoft is going in the mobile space, especially since developers don't seem thrilled with adapting Windows 10 "unified core" code to Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise. Most of today's handheld hardware is inherently powerful enough to fun full Windows, but that's often overkill for many mobile deployments. -- Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Juniper’s “Mapping Blitz” helps Bear River Land Conservancy maintain important habitat
In its latest blog entry, Juniper Systems relates how Juniper staff worked with members of the Bear River Land Conservancy to aid in the conservation of important habitat along the Bear River. Using the Geode Sub-meter GPS Receiver, the Mesa 2 Rugged Tablet, and the Allegro 2, a handful of our rugged handheld enthusiasts mapped updates and information on important plants, large debris, fence lines, and more while getting additional hands-on experience using Juniper’s data collection solutions. [See Juniper’s “Mapping Blitz” Helps Bear River Land Conservancy Maintain Important Habitat] -- Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What happened in rugged computing 5 years ago: July 2012
In July 2012, we published a case study on using the Mobile Demand xTablet T7000 rugged Tablet PC in diving and marine exploration. YRCW Worldwide deployed Intermec CN70e rugged handhelds to 10,000 drivers. Motorola Solutions reported very good Q1 2012 with 7% sales increase over Q1 2011, and Xplore reported its third consecutive quarter of profitability. Motion released their CL910 tablet, Getac the Atom N2800-powered 10.1-inch E110 tablet, and Australian Tough Corp called it quits. RuggedPCReview tested an Xplore iX104C5 tablet over a full 160 degree temperature range. Parvus received a US$4.9 million order for DuraCOR rugged mission computers deployed in mine detection, and a Dell Latitude E6420 XFR rugged notebook arrived at our test lab. [See July 2012 archives] -- Posted Monday, July 10, 2017

IOGEAR KeySlate Ultra-Slim Bluetooth 4.0 Keyboard
Tablets have changed the world, and 2-in-1 designs are broadening their appeal even more. But often the usefulness of both tablets and 2-in-1s comes down to having a good keyboard. That's what (among lots of other cool stuff) the folks at IOGEAR provide, great keyboards for tablets. We tested their iOS version and loved it (they offer versions for Android and Windows as well) . [See review of the IOGEAR KeySlate Ultra-Slim Bluetooth 4.0 Keyboard, with some contemplations about keyboards in general] -- Posted Saturday, July 8, 2017

Updated: Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
Dell is known for quickly and nimbly making available the very latest technology to its customers around the globe. Dell Rugged, however, knows that consistency, continuity and compatibility is what matters most to their markets. So instead of frequently replacing their rugged and semi-rugged laptops and tablets with new ones, Dell Rugged quietly keeps their true and tested lineup up-to-date. No wonder their market share in the rugged space has been growing. [See updated description, analysis and specs of Dell's full-size Latitude 14 Rugged] -- Posted Saturday, July 8, 2017

Getac sees June revenue increase
According to DigiTimes, Getac Technology reported revenues of US$59.5 million for June 2017, up 11.27% on year. Year-to-date revenues totaled US$336 billion, up 13.26% on year. Since demand for double biometric security functions such as face and iris identification, has been increasing, Getac Technology chairman Ming-han Huang expects the company's ruggedized product sales to benefit from the trend. Huang expects the company's revenues in the second half to grow between 5-15% from the second half of 2016 -- Posted Friday, July 7, 2017

Habey's fully adaptable touch screen controls
Habey USA is promoting what the company calls "fully adaptable touch screen devices". These look like standard consumer tablets from the front, have 7 to 12.1-inch screens, come with ARM and Intel chips, resistive or capacitive touch, and use a variety of operating systems. From the back, they look more like small Panel PCs, offering plenty of configurable, customizable connectivity. As such, these devices can serve as friendly user interfaces for any number of embedded systems and devices. [See Habey media release] -- Posted Thursday, July 6, 2017

Connecting remote teams virtually to support Rolls-Royce "On Time, Every Time" vision
Librestream announced that it is now a Rolls-Royce approved supplier of the Onsight Collaborative Mobile Platform. This includes Onsight Connect collaboration software for use on the mobile devices and computers of service teams, Onsight Rugged Smart Cameras, and Onsight Collaboration Hubs. The cameras and hubs also enable the sharing of live visuals from remote visual inspection (RVI) and non-destructive testing (NDT) instruments. With this solution, Rolls-Royce field technicians can virtually bring remote experts into the field to facilitate faster and more cost-effective engine inspection and maintenance. [See Librestream press release and Rugged Smart Camera overview] -- Posted Thursday, July 6, 2017

AMobile forms partnership with Konka to tap China market
DigiTimes reports that AMobile Intelligent has formed a strategic partnership with Konka Group for tapping the China market of IoT-based smart city solutions. AMobile is a joint-venture established by IC design house MediaTek and industrial PC maker Arbor Technology for making IoT-based mobile devices for industrial use. The China-based Konka sells LCD TVs, smartphones and home-use electric appliances. -- Posted Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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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."