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

August 2016

Weak tablet demand prompting vendors to leave segment
According to DigiTimes, a weakening tablet market has caused companies like Acer and Asustek to focus more on niche applications, and MSI to leave tablets altogether. Chinese white box vendors have mostly stopping pushing tablets. Wintel-based 2-in-1 device growth is strong, but not enough to offset tablet decline. Many tablet players have turned to develop products for niche markets such as industrial, enterprise, military and education. [See DigiTimes article] -- Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Congrats to Xplore Technologies: 20 years of rugged tablets, and only rugged tablets
At the January 1997 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I walked into the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center on the lookout for something — anything — new and exciting in tablets or pen computers. Sure, Microsoft had announced Windows CE at the Fall Comdex in response to Apple’s Newton Message Pad and the emerging “Palm Economy,” and our bi-monthly Pen Computing Magazine was doing well. But, by and large, handhelds and tablets were very far removed from the booming world of desktop computers and laptops and printers and the latest of absolutely-must-have PC software. But there, amidst all of the glitzy, glossy booths of mainstream computing was… an even glitzier and glossier booth by a company I had never heard of. They called themselves Xplore Technologies, and they were thinking big... [Read Congrats to Xplore Technologies: 20 years of rugged tablets, and only rugged tablets] -- Posted Monday, August 29, 2016

OLED not likely to replace LCD
According to DigiTimes, the Chairman of LCD maker Innolux doesn't think that OLED will replace LCD for mainstream display panels due to lower cost-to-performance ratio and lower reliability. He does see market niches for OLED in smartphones, wearables and VR due to lower cost. Longer term, he sees promise in Micro LED. [See DigiTimes article] -- Posted Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: ARBOR Technology ARES-1230/1230-E/1231 fanless embedded controllers
When it comes to embedded fanless controllers — the usually hidden Box PCs that control all sorts of things and make them work — sometimes you need a lot (or a whole lot) of I/O in a fanless embedded controller PC, sometimes you don't. It's good to have choices. And that's what ARBOR Technology provides with their ARES-1230/1231. [See review of the ARBOR ARES-1230, 1230-E, and 1231] -- Posted Friday, August 26, 2016

VDC Research on the global market for enterprise tablets
VDC Research issued a new report entitled "The Global Market for Enterprise Tablets." While VDC Research sees the overall tablet market to shrink some over the next five years, they project the rugged tablet market to slightly grow from US$590 million in 2016 to US&624 million in 2020. VDC Research projects that while Windows will remain the primary OS in rugged tablets, Android will gain significant growth. Competition between consumer grade and rugged tablets in enterprise Line-of-Business deployments remains fierce, with protective cases currently the most popular accessory. And what's the most important enterprise deployment selection criterion? Battery life. [See Executive Brief of The Global Market for Enterprise Tablets] -- Posted Thursday, August 25, 2016

Eastpointe Fire Department switches to Dell
C&G Newspapers reports that the Eastpointe, Michigan, Fire Department is replacing their old Panasonic systems with Dell Latitude 14 Rugged computers. C&G reports that the department's current computers are not compatible with the new CLEMIS (Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System) Computer Aided Dispatch system that will go live in September. [See C&G article] -- Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Xplore blog: Buying accessories to fit the tablet, or vice-versa?
It's a chicken or the egg thing. Some may say the inclination to select a rugged tablet first — and then hope you can find the right mounting design to support it in your forklift or patrol car — is all wrong. That it’s more logical to think about the accessories needed to support your workflows first... and then decide which mobile computers should be shortlisted. Who's right? [Read The Mounting Debate: Do You Buy Accessories to Fit the Rugged Tablet, or Vice Versa?] -- Posted Monday, August 22, 2016

Zebra scores IDSA International Design Excellence Award
Zebra Technologies announced that the TC8000 enterprise mobile computer has been named a Gold winner in the 36th annual International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) conducted by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). The TC8000 — competing against over 1,700 design projects from 30-plus countries in IDEA 2016 — is a rugged handheld mobile computer with an innovative design that has proven to increase productivity and reduce fatigue for workers in highly intensive barcode scanning environments. [See Zebra media release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Zebra TC8000]
-- Posted Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: Advantech SOM-5897 COM Express module
COM Express modules measure just 4.9 x 3.75 inches and are used to power all sorts of embedded systems where toughness and reliability matter. We tested the SOM-5897 that is available with no fewer than nine different Intel Skylake i7, i5, and i3 processors, as well as Xeons and a Celeron. Ours came with a Core i7-6820QE, and it became our new benchmark performance king, faster than any mobile rugged system we ever tested, and faster than our production desktops. Quite impressive. [See review of the Advantech SOM-5897 COM Express module] -- Posted Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wavelink terminal emulation available on Janam’s XG3 rugged mobile computers
Janam Technologies announced that customers of its XG3 rugged, gun-shaped, mobile computer now have access to a custom Wavelink Terminal Emulation client. Wavelink TE allows more than 10 million mobile devices worldwide to access, manage and maintain connections to host system applications, enhancing IT staff and mobile workforce productivity,and allowing organizations to spend less time on support and more time on improving operational efficiencies. [See Janam media release] -- Posted Thursday, August 18, 2016

Xplore receives US$13.5 million follow-on order for Android-based XSlate D10 rugged tablets
Xplore announced that one of the largest broadband and wireless telecommunications companies in the United States has ordered more than 9,000 XSLATE D10 fully rugged tablet PCs. With this $13.5 million investment, the customer intends to completely eliminate the use of laptops by its fiber optic service division. Xplore says that after extensive field testing, the XSLATE D10 rugged tablet was the only mobile computing solution with the flexibility and adaptability to meet the division’s field-service performance standards and Total Cost of Ownership target. [See Xplore media release] -- Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Review: Winmate FM10 modular vehicle-mount PC
The 10.4-inch FM10 is part of Winmate's modular lineup of Intel Bay Trail-based vehicle-mount computers for use in a wide variety of commercial, industrial and government applications. Winmate used a cost-saving approach via common docks, system units, peripherals and accessories. Unlike many panel computers, the FM10 can be operated either on vehicle power or use its own internal battery, allowing for seamless move between vehicles and locations, as well as occasional use as a self-contained mobile tablet. [See full review of the Winmate FM10 modular vehicle-mount PC] -- Posted Monday, August 15, 2016

DT Research All-in-One medical-cart computers first to power continuous data access at Point-of-Care
DT Research announced the DT590 Series of All-in-One Medical-Cart Computers, integrating small and inexpensive hot-swappable batteries to facilitate mobility for healthcare applications. The DT590 series — available in 19, 22, or 24-inch versions with a Intel 5th Generation Core or Celeron processors — boasts a 3-bay hot-swappable battery system for zero downtime work environments to increase mobility over traditional workstations and decrease costs and maintenance associated with medical cart systems. [See DT Research media release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the DT590 Series] -- Posted Monday, August 15, 2016

Review: Advantech's multi-talented rugged MIT-M101 Windows tablet
Sometimes, what's needed is a rugged, speedy, unique and modern Windows tablet designed for a wide range of applications, both indoors and outdoors. And that's what we found the 10.1-inch, procap, Intel Bay Trail-powered MIT-M101 tablet from Advantech to be. It's a no-nonsense, expertly made multi-purpose platform equally well suited to demanding applications in the field as in clinical environments and mobile patient care settings. [See full review of the Advantech MIT-M101 rugged tablet] -- Posted Monday, August 15, 2016

Success report: University of Minnesota researchers choose Surface tablets in MobileDemand rugged case
The University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities is home to the Freeman Lab, an academic biological research group of professors and students who are constantly exploring the in’s and out’s of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, investigating interesting enzymes made by bacteria and fungi that play a role in making antibiotics. When they decided it was time replace pens and paper as their main source for data recording, the Freeman Lab chose the Microsoft Surface 3 with a MobileDemand rugged case as their perfect solution. [See MobileDemand success story] -- Posted Monday, August 15, 2016

Xplore reports fiscal Q1/2017 financials
Xplore Technologies announced revenues of US$16.5 million for Q1 of 2016 (down from US$24.04 million for Q1 2016). Q1 2017 showed a net loss of US$1.7 million compared to a net loss of US$224k in Q1 2016. For fiscal 2017, Xplore continues to anticipate revenue to range between $85 million and $95 million, reflecting the impact of what the company believes is a temporary global slowdown in the rugged tablet market and shipment delays experienced during the first fiscal quarter. [See Xplore financials] -- Posted Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why we take things apart and show what's inside
At RuggedPCReview, we take things apart. We open up handhelds, tablets, panels, notebooks and industrial PCs. We dissect them methodically, documenting our progress, jotting down observations and commentary. What we find inside a product becomes part of our detailed reviews, including pictures of the insides and of interesting details. [read more] -- Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Review: Tablet Technologies ConkerTab NX10 with Pixel Qi
Assume you work outdoors a lot, in the blazing sun. And you need a computer for your work. If you use a laptop or tablet with a conventional display, even if it's one of the best, chances are you may not a happy camper. But there are a very few tablets that have a special "Pixel Qi" display that works in direct sunlight, the brighter the better. One of them is the 10.1-inch, Bay Trail-powered ConkerTab NX10 from Tablet Technologies in the UK. [See full review of the ConkerTab NX10 with Pixel Qi display] -- Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Xplore rugged tablets now available to Pennsylvania's public sector agencies via COSTARS
Xplore Technologies announced that its complete portfolio of Xplore and Motion by Xplore rugged tablet PC solutions is now available for purchase through the COSTARS Cooperative Purchasing Program in Pennsylvania. The COSTARS IT Hardware Contract 003-437 awarded to Xplore VAR partner Allegiance Technology now enables all Pennsylvania state and local government agencies — including law enforcement, EMS, and fire departments — to directly purchase any of Xplore’s ultra-rugged, fully rugged or rugged tablet PCs and accessories through Allegiance without additional authorization. [See Xplore media release] -- Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IDC: tablet shipments down 12% in Q2 2016 with market shifting from media consumption to productivity
According to IDC, worldwide tablet shipments, including detachables, were 38.7 million in Q2 of 2016, down 12.3% year over year as vendors begin to refocus product lines and consumers hold off on purchases. 65% were Android-based, 26% Apple iOS-based, and 9% Windows-based. IDC sees early signs of change as the Android vendor list has contracted and champions of the OS have begun to offer Windows-based products, hedging against the decline of Android slates. In terms of unit sales, Apple boosted its leadership to 25.8%, ahead of faltering Samsung (15.6%) and hard-charging Lenovo, Huawei and Amazon. "Others" is down from 48.2% to 42.4%. [See IDC media release] -- Posted Monday, August 1, 2016

Advantech sales, profits up first half of 2016
Industrial computing device maker Advantech reported first half of 2016 revenues of NT$20.79 billion (US$660 million), up 10% from first half of 2015, and net profit of NT$1.46 billion (US$46.3 million), up 10% on year. -- Posted Monday, August 1, 2016

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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."