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

September 2012

Intel unveils Atom Z2760, Windows 8 tablets that use it
Intel announced the dual-core/four-thread 1.8GHz Atom Z2760 processor which, the company says, was designed specifically for Windows 8 tablets and tablet convertibles. The Z2760 uses 32nm process technology like the recent "Cedarview" processors, but unlike all older Atoms that used the 45nm process. For graphics, there's the Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX545 core, package size is 14 x 14 mm, and there's complex power management that extends battery life. Intel also announced a number of Windows 8 tablets that will use the new Z2760, such as the Acer ICONIA W510, the Asus Vivo Tab, the Dell Latitude 10, the Fujitsu Stylistic Q702, the HP ENVY x2, the Lenovo ThinkPad 2, the Samsung Smart PC, and the ZTE 98. [See Intel Z2760 fact sheet and list of Z2760 tablets] -- Posted Thursday, September 27, 2012

Getac teams with Fedex TechConnect for faster, more efficient service of its rugged notebooks, tablets and handhelds
Getac announced that it has incorporated service, repair, refurbishing and logistics services for its broad line of rugged notebooks, tablets and handhelds with FedEx TechConnect. This combines FedEx TechConnect repair service with FedEx shipping, resulting in super fast turnaround. RuggedPCReview.com toured the FedEx TechConnect facility in Memphis, TN, and we came away impressed. [Read our full report at Getac teams with Fedex TechConnect for faster, more efficient service and see Getac's new Service Portal] -- Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Panasonic updates its semi-rugged Toughbooks
Panasonic announced upgrades to its semi-rugged 14-inch Toughbook 53 notebook computer. Key upgrades are a switch to 3rd gen Intel Core processors (i5-3320M), expanded storage (up to 500GB 7200rpm HD, 4-8GB faster RAM, optional SSD up to 512GB), two USB 3.0 ports, longer battery life (up to 11 hours), optional integrated GPS and RFID/Smart Card reader. Panasonic also upgraded the 15.4-inch Toughbook 52 to the i5-3360M processor, expanded 500GB 7200rpm hard drive, improved wireless with Intel Centrino® Advanced-N 6235 WiFi technology and Bluetooth 4.0 and expanded connectivity with USB 3.0 -- Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Intermec offers HTML5-capable WebKit-based browser for select rugged Intermec devices
Intermec announced a new HTML5-capable browser, allowing for the development of OS agnostic web apps that can run on iOS, Android and select Intermec rugged mobile computers. The browser, which is based on the widely used WebKit rendering engine, supports apps designed to run either on-line, off-line, or a combination of the two. It comes preloaded on Intermec's CN50, CS40, CN70, CN70e and CK70, and is a free download for the CK3, CK71 and CV41. That means that HTML5 apps that run on smartphones and tablets can also run on these select Intermec rugged devices without changes or rewrites. "With future operating system roadmaps uncertain," the press release suggests this as a good way to go for verticals until the smoke clears. Our take: If this works, it would extend the life of older Windows Mobile based devices by letting them run browser-based apps, probably similar to the iPhone's initial Safari-based apps. [See Intermec press release] -- Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rugged handhelds in land survey and conservation: Why BRLC chose Juniper Systems' Archer Field PC
When conservation groups resolved to survey habitats along the Bear River in the Great Basin in order to preserve the important wetlands in those dry areas, they needed tough, compact handheld computers that would not break, were easy to use, and would run all day on a battery charge. The Bear River Land Conservancy (BRLC) found that in Juniper Systems' Archer Field PC. [Read about the Bear River riparian area survey project] -- Posted Monday, September 24, 2012

Panasonic upgrades the Toughbook 31
Following upgrades earlier this month to the Panasonic Toughbook 19 fully rugged convertible tablet PC, the Toughbook 31 rugged notebook has now also received substantial tech upgrades. First and foremost, there are now Intel 3rd generation processors (i5-3360M, i5-3320M, and i3-3110M), boosting graphics performance (by a lot), overall performance, and boost battery life. i5 models now have 500GB 7,200 rpm drives, 802.11a/b/g/n is now standard, and there is a USB 3.0 port for much faster throughput. Prices for the updates Toughbook 31 start at an estimated street price of US$3,499 -- Posted Friday, September 21, 2012

Modern Day Marine Expo will take place September 25-27, 2012 in Virginia
The Modern Day Marine Expo will take place September 25-27, 2012, at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA. Of rugged computing equipment notables, AMREL, DRS Technologies, Elbit Systems, General Dynamics, Getac, Motorola Solutions, Panasonic, RAM Mounts, and VT Miltope are all exhibiting. -- Posted Friday, September 21, 2012

Trimble introduces OEM GNSS module for high-accuracy mobile positioning
Trimble introduced the Trimble BD920-W3G receiver and communication module. As part of Trimble's GNSS OEM portfolio, the new compact (51 mm x 41 mm x 7 mm ) module features centimeter-level, Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) positioning capabilities coupled with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular that deliver flexible communication options for precise, mobile positioning. [See BD920 product page] -- Posted Friday, September 21, 2012

Juniper Systems welcomes Robert Davis as Director of Business and Channel Development
Juniper Systems is proud to announce the addition of Robert Davis as Director of Business and Channel Development. Davis will be responsible for strengthening existing worldwide sales channels and expanding Juniper Systems’ reach into new markets. Davis comes to Juniper Systems with 15 years of experience in mobile technology. Most recently he served as the Director of Channel Sales and Marketing Communications for Trimble Navigation's Mobile Computing Solutions (MCS) Division. [See Juniper Systems press release] -- Posted Thursday, September 20, 2012

Intermec CTO Arvin Danielson receives AIM's Richard R. Dilling Award
Intermec announced that its Chief Technology Officer, Arvin Danielson, a 37-year veteran of Intermec, received the association for Automatic Identification and Mobility's (AIM) highest honor -- the Richard R. Dilling Award -- at the 2012 AIM Summit in Chicago. AIM selects one Dilling Award Recipient annually, presented to executives, scientists and engineers for their outstanding contributions that further the growth of the industry. [See Intermec press release] -- Posted Thursday, September 20, 2012

Vocollect introduces rugged high-performance SRX2 wireless headset
Vocollect, a business unit of Intermec and a specialist in voice-enabled solutions for mobile workers, unveiled the ruggedized, yet compact SRX2, a new wireless headset for distribution centers and warehouses (including low temp environments down to -22F) that enhances worker efficiency with enhanced voice recognition. Its modular design enables shared use of headset electronics across multiple shifts, resulting in lower total cost of ownership. [See the Vocollect SRX2 page] -- Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Handheld launches the Nautiz X1 Ultra-Rugged Smartphone
Handheld Group, a Swedish manufacturer of rugged mobile computers, announced the launch of its Nautiz X1 ultra-rugged smartphone. The 4.9 x 2.6 x 0.6 inch, 6.3 ounce Nautiz X, powered by a 1GHz dual core OMAP 4430 processor, has a 4-inch procap sunlight readable display, a 5mp camera, Bluetooth, WiFi, mobile broadband over both GSM or CDMA networks, and runs either Android 4.0 or Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. It carries IP67 sealing, can handle 4-foot drops, and will start at US$899. Orders can be placed immediately, the device will be available January 2013. [See description and specs of the Handheld Group Nautiz X1 rugged smartphone] -- Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012

MobileDemand introduces high-performance xTablet T7200 rugged computer with innovative display option
MobileDemand has introduced the xTablet T7200, a rugged, compact Tablet PC for jobs that require the full Windows OS. Measuring only 8.9 x 5.8 x 1.95 inches and weighing just over than three pounds, the xTablet T7200 is based on a third generation dual-core Intel Atom N2600 processor with integrated graphics that provides a very substantial performance increase over the predecessor model. Also new is the availability of xView Pro, an innovative indoor-outdoor display technology that allows the display to remain clearly viewable even in direct sunlight. [See full review of the new xTablet T7200 rugged Tablet PC by MobileDemand] -- Posted Monday, September 17, 2012

Avalue launches high-performance rugged industrial PC
Avalue Technology announced their new EPS-QM57 series of high-performance rugged embedded industrial PCs based on Intel Core i7 processors. Using a fanless design and having extensive state-of-the-art and legacy onboard I/O, the EPS-QM57 can handle operating temperatures between -14 and 132 degrees Fahrenheit, shock, vibration and it can be run with a wide variety of Windows operating systems as well as with Linux. [See Avalue EPS-QM57 product page] -- Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WD creates 0.2 inch thick 2.5-inch hybrid hard drives
There are more and more "hybrid" products because it often makes sense to apply different technologies to different aspects of a task. In cars, a battery powered motor handles the stop and go that otherwise would burn a lot of gas while a gas motor handles higher speed driving where it is more efficient. The same hybrid approach is now increasingly used in data storage where flash memory provides super-fast throughput and response whereas less expensive rotating drives handle high-capacity storage. Western Digital just announced a new generation of 2.5-inch hybrid hard drives that are only 5mm (0.2 inches) thick, with capacities up to 500GB, and a cost of only about a tenth that of what a similar capacity Solid State Disk. [See WD press release] -- Posted Monday, September 10, 2012

Added: Unitech TB100 rugged Android tablet
While there is a growing selection of consumer media tablets, there are far fewer durable and ruggedized tablets for the business and vertical markets. That's why rugged handheld maker Unitech entered the tablet market with the TB-100. It's an Android 3.2 7-inch tablet with 1280 x 800 resolution, Gorilla glass, a dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, a wide -4 to 140F operating temperature range, 4-foot drop and IP65 sealing. [See description and specs of the Unitech TB100] -- Posted Monday, September 10, 2012

Added: NORCO PPC-3308 rugged Atom-powered tablet for fleet management, factories, outdoors
NORCO recently introduced the PPC-3308 rugged Tablet PC. The device has a SVGA sunlight-readable 8.4-inch with a resistive digitizer, is powered by a 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z670 processor, runs Windows 7 or Linux, and weighs just under three pounds. Robust construction, solid state storage (up to 64GB), and those prominent protective corner bumpers help the PPC-3308 survive 4-foot drops. Sealing is at the IP64 level, and the device is configurable with numerous options (3G/4G/LTE WWAN, GPS, 1D/2D barcode, RFID, MSR, etc.). [See description and specs of the NORCO PPC-3308 rugged tablet] -- Posted Thursday, September 6, 2012

Video: Major Intermec CK71 abuse
Some folks at a TJX warehouse (the company that runs T.J. Maxx and Marshalls) decided to figure out just how much abuse an Intermec CK71 rugged handheld could take. So they took an industrial sander to its keyboard to see if the keys remained legible after major abuse (they did), then threw it way up in the air to see if it still worked upon crashing down (it did). [See YouTube video of major Intermec CK71 abuse] -- Posted Thursday, September 6, 2012

Samwell to display RUGGEDBOOK line at Birmingham Service Management Expo
Samwell International reports that the company will exhibit and demonstrate its RUGGEDBOOK line of rugged notebooks and tablets at the Birmingham Service Management Expo September 18 and 19, 2012, at Stand 810. -- Posted Thursday, September 6, 2012

RuggedPCReview adds Android section
While Android holds a commanding market share in consumer smartphones, most enterprise/industrial handhelds are still using Windows Mobile. In tablets, the iPad continues to rule, but we're starting to see ruggedized Android-based tablets. To provide a resource where interested parties can keep track on rugged Android-based handhelds and tablets, we have added an Android sub-section to RuggedPCReview.com. The section provides background info and a list with links to all Android devices for which we have created product pages. [See "Rugged Android Handhelds and Tablets"] -- Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Panasonic moves Toughbook 19 to Intel 3rd gen Core processor platform
Panasonic announced another technology update to its Toughbook 19 convertible notebook. The hardware platform itself, mature to the max, hardly needed improvement, but Intel's rapid flurry of Core processor familiy announcements made the update desirable. So the latest revision of the CF-19 now goes from the second to the third generation of Intel Core processors, one that slightly boosts processing performance, greatly boosts graphics performance, and also improves power efficiency. Additional benefits of the move to the Intel 3rd gen Core chips include the much faster USB 3.0, a switch to Interlink's VersaPad for increased touchpad responsiveness, expanded storage, and a variety of ancillary improvements. [See Panasonic Toughbook 19 updated specs] -- Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Synaptics ClearPad Series 3 offers multi-touch even with gloves
Synaptics announced that the new Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820 will be the first smartphones in the world to use a new multi-touch experience based on the Synaptics ClearPad Series 3 capacitive touchscreen sensing technology that supports use with gloves and fingernails. Note that this sort of technology will be important in emerging procap rugged devices that do require the ability to be used in the rain and with gloves on. [See Synaptics ClearPad Series 3] -- Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Getac introduces rugged 7-inch Android tablet
Getac officially announced the Z710 rugged Android tablet designed for use in extreme work environments. The 1.8-pound Z710's sunlight-readable 7-inch 1024 x 600 pixel capacitive multi-touch display can also be used with gloves and a stylus, making it suitable for outdoors work and in the rain. The device has a 6-foot drop spec, a wide operating temperature range (-4 to 122F), and carries IP65 sealing. It can be equipped with WWAN, barcode reader, dual cams and RFID. [See Getac Z710 description and specs] -- Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Intel Atom processors face uncertain future in PCs
DigiTimes says that Intel may be forced to adjust its roadmap for Atom processors in PCs. That's because netbooks, which were largely responsible for the Atom's success, are going away. Asus is phasing out its Eee PC netbook line, Acer may also drop out, and almost everyone else is concentrating on tablets instead. In addition, Windows 8 licensing fees and the move to high-res displays and touch screens also doom inexpensive netbooks. That's unfortunate for the Atom line, especially since the latest Atom N2600 and N2800 performed very well in RuggedPCReview.com benchmark testing. It should be interesting too see how the Atom's future affects vertical market and embedded devices where Atoms are quite popular. -- Posted Monday, September 3, 2012

RuggedPCReview.com welcomes Trimble as an industry sponsor
RuggedPCReview.com is pleased to welcome Trimble as our newest sponsor. Trimble's Mobile Computing Solutions Division has been offering innovative GPS, GIS and rugged computing products that enable mobile workers to be more efficient in extreme outdoor and industrial environments. See Trimble's outdoor rugged computer's at the Trimble website, at outdoorrugged.com, and here at Trimble's minisite at RuggedPCReview. -- Posted Saturday, September 1, 2012

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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.

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