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

September 2013

TAG issued U.S. patent for field-upgradable CPU technology to improve serviceability of rugged computer systems
TAG (Technology Advancement Group, Inc.) announced that the company has been issued US patent 8,537,540 for a removable computer module heat sink assembly that forms a water and air tight seal when attached to the computer chassis and mated to the baseboard component through an internal compartment of the chassis, providing a quick method for servicing or upgrading an integral component of rugged computer systems. [See TAG press release] -- Posted Monday, September 30, 2013

ABI Research: Android ecosystem passing Apple
According to ABI Research, Apple's iPad family of products finally has passed leadership to the Android ecosystem, with the number of Android-powered tablets surpassing iOS-based slates for the first time, tablet-related hardware revenues reaching parity, and the average selling price of iPads rapidly approaching the market average in Q2 2013. ABI also pointed out that smaller 7-inch tablets became the majority of the shipments, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini represented about 60% of total iPad shipments and almost half of iPad-related device revenues in the quarter. [See ABI Research press release] -- Posted Monday, September 30, 2013

Handheld signs 5-year partnership deal with world's leading package delivery company
Handheld Group announced a strategic five-year agreement with a global leader in logistic solutions where Handheld's innovative package sorting and printing SP400X device will be deployed across hundreds of package sorting facilities. Handheld says the SP400X is the first and only scan-and-print solution to integrate 2D imaging, inkjet printing and wireless communication in one device. It's designed to simplify high-volume logistic operations centers and postal services that use manual scanning and labeling to sort packages. [See Handheld press release, SP400X product page, and the SP400X YouTube video that shows how the device is used to scan, print, and communicate. -- Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013

Crystal Group introduces two new rugged thin and zero clients
Hiawatha, Iowa, based Crystal Group, an employee owned small business, designer, and manufacturer of rugged commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) computers and peripherals, announced the 3.3-pound RTCZ90 rugged Thin Client (shown) and the 1.6-pound RZCP25 rugged Zero Client, both MIL-STD-810 tested (operating temperature, humidity, altitude, vibration). [See RTCZ90 page and RZCP25 page] -- Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013

Winchester Systems doubles capacity of RR2P rugged removable canister disk arrays to 40TB
Winchester Systems, a data storage solutions provider, announced that their RR2P Rugged Removable Canister disk arrays now offer twice the capacity -- up to 40 TB. The RR2P is designed for mobile use aboard planes, ships and ground transports. These "purpose built" products are used primarily by the US military and emergency responders. Designed for harsh environments, each canister includes an easy-to-replace filter that protects against ambient dust and humidity. [See RR2P product page and press release] -- Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013

Toshiba introduces dual-camera module that records both image and depth data
Toshiba introduced the industry's first dual camera module for tablets and mobile devices. The twin 1/4-inch 5-megapixel CMOS imagers can simultaneously output recorded images and depth data, so that it becomes possible to manipulate depth of field and point of focus. Used in combination with custom applications, the module can result in the creation of new entirely functions and functionality. Imagine what this could mean for professional rugged computing devices! [See Toshiba TCM9518MD dual camera module page] -- Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013

In defense of Microsoft Surface
A few days ago Microsoft introduced their second generation Surface tablets, hoping for a kinder reception. Problem is, industry expert Daniel W. Rasmus says, that the biggest issue with the original Surface tablet was not the hardware, nor was it really the software, because Windows 8 went well beyond Surface. The real issue with Windows Surface was expectations, misguided expectations that Microsoft continues to foster through its advertising. [Read more] -- Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013

Things to know about rugged and non-rugged touch screens
MobileDemand posted a very informative article on the various types of digitizers and touch screen technologies used in rugged and non-rugged tablet devices, and how their respective functionalities affect performance and usability under various operating conditions. [Read Things to know about rugged and non-rugged touch screens] -- Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Microsoft introduces second gen Surface tablets
Microsoft announced two new Surface models, the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2. The Surface 2 replaces the Surface RT, has a 1.7Ghz Tegra 4 processor, a full 1080p screen, dual cameras (5mp rear, 3.5mp front), a redesigned kickstand, and will start at US$449. The Surface Pro 2 comes with a 1.6Ghz Haswell Core i5-4200u chip, HD Graphics 4400, and improved battery life (8-10 hours). It will start at US$899. -- Posted Monday, September 23, 2013

GammaTech to exhibit at 2013 SYNNEX Conference
GammaTech announced it will display its line of mobile rugged tablets and PCs at the 2013 SYNNEX National Conference from October 2‐5 in Greenville, S.C. As a vendor, GammaTech will interact with 350 SYNNEX resellers and show its newest Durabook products, including the SA14 rugged notebook, the TA10 rugged tablet, and the CA10 semi-rugged tablet. [See GammaTech press release] -- Posted Friday, September 20, 2013

Xplore CEO to present at Alpha Select Conference
Xplore Technologies announced that Mr. Philip Sassower, Chairman and CEO of Xplore, will speak at the 2013 Alpha Select Conference hosted by Craig-Hallum Capital Group on September 26, 2013 at Convene Midtown East, 730 3rd Ave., New York, NY. Mr. Sassower will present Xplore's growth strategy. -- Posted Thursday, September 19, 2013

Juniper Systems provides Mesa computers to help Colorado flooding
Juniper Systems reports it is shipping rugged Mesa handheld computers to Colorado to help with disaster mapping of the flooding there. The Mesa's large 5.7-inch display and ultra-rugged construction make it especially suitable for mapping and surveying deployment. [See illustrated blog] -- Posted Thursday, September 19, 2013

Honeywell completes acquisition of Intermec
Honeywell announced that it has completed its acquisition of Intermec, a leading provider of mobile computing, radio frequency identification solutions (RFID), voice-enabled workflow and data-collection solutions, and printing solutions. Honeywell announced its intent to acquire Intermec in December 2012, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately US$600 million. "The acquisition of Intermec will add innovative products and solutions, as well as deep engineering expertise and a broad global sales channel that further demonstrates our commitment to provide our customers an increasing array of innovative technologies in the highly attractive AIDC industry," said John Waldron, president of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. [See Intermec press release and, for a blast from Intermec's past, see our 2003 Intermec i-comm Conference report...] -- Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2013

MOTOTRBO Anywhere bridges the communication gap to mobile devices
Motorola Solutions announced that work teams can now connect on a new level with MOTOTRBO Anywhere. Building on the MOTOTRBO digital two-way radio portfolio to extend reach, MOTOTRBO Anywhere allows workers to communicate with MOTOTRBO radio users and talk-groups with an app on their Android or iOS smartphones, which connects via a wireline gateway to the MOTOTRBO radio network. [See Motorola Solutions press release] -- Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Acadian Ambulance streamlines patient care and reduces overtime with mobile technology from Motion Computing
Motion Computing announced that Acadian Ambulance, one of the largest private ambulance services in the US, is deploying Motion F5t Rugged Tablet PCs across their fleet for mobile dispatch and electronic patient care recording. The Motion technology works seamlessly with Sansio HealthEMS software and Acadianís back-office systems to optimize EMT and paramedic field work. [See Motion press release] -- Posted Monday, September 16, 2013

Updated Handheld Algiz 7 rugged Windows tablet benchmarked
In August, the Handheld Group announced a technology update to their Algiz 7 rugged tablet computer. Handheld replaced the single-core Intel Atom Z530 of the original Algiz 7 with the much newer dual-core Atom N2600, enhanced data security, doubled the size of both RAM and onboard storage, upgraded the camera, added antenna diversity, and made Gobi 3000 available. We've now had a chance to benchmark the new version, and the results are most impressive. [See description, analysis, specs and benchmark results of the Handheld Algiz 7] -- Posted Monday, September 16, 2013

How to succeed with mobile solutions
Mobile solutions have a huge potential to drastically increase the efficiency of field workers and save big money for companies in a range of industries. However, the implementation of mobile solutions is filled with pitfalls. Erisma Technologies CEO Mikael Nilebacke shares his top ten advice on how to succeed. [Read How to succeed with mobile solutions] -- Posted Monday, September 16, 2013

FTC puts conditions on Honeywell's acquisition of Intermec
It's been over nine months since Intermec agreed to be acquired by Honeywell for US$600 million (or $10 per share), and the deal still hasn't closed. Upon considering charges that Honeywell's acquisition of a rival scan engine manufacturer would be anticompetitive, the Federal Trade Commission has now put conditions on the proposed acquisition: Honeywell will have to license its and Intermec's 2D scanning patents to Datalogic so that Datalogic can enter the U.S. market and restore the competition lost due to the merger. [See FTC ruling] -- Posted Friday, September 13, 2013

The trend towards 'ruggedish' computers and smartphones
The large cell phone and computer manufacturers are increasingly launching smartphones and other mobile devices that are rugged, or rather "ruggedish". Handheld's founder and CEO Jerker Hellström takes a look at the reasons for this trend and where it might leave the traditional rugged computer makers. He also explains what rugged really means. [Read The trend towards 'ruggedish' computers and smartphones]
-- Posted Friday, September 13, 2013

Amrel announces thinnest and lightest rugged laptop
Amrel announced what the company describes as the "thinnest, lightest fully rugged laptop on the market." The new Amrel Rocky RS11 weighs 5.5 pounds and is 1.1 inches thick, roughly as much as a MacBook Pro. Yet, the sleek aluminum-clad 3rd gen Intel Core i7-powered notebook, which has a 1600 x 900 pixel 13.3-inch sunlight-readable IPS display, offers IP65 sealing, has a -4° to 131° operating temperature range, and is independently certified to MIL-STD-810G (and 461F for military-spec models). [See description, analysis and specs of the Amrel Rocky RS11] -- Posted Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rugged tablet provider MobileDemand earns spot on the 2013 Inc. 5000 list
MobileDemand, a global provider of rugged tablet PCs, announced it has been recognized by Inc. magazine in its annual Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private U.S. companies. With a sales growth from 2009 to 2012 of 566%, this earns MobileDemand a ranking of 800, placing among enterprises such as Living Social, Kum & Go, GoDaddy.com and CDW. -- Posted Thursday, September 12, 2013

IDC forecasts tablet shipments to top total PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013
IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker expects tablet shipments to surpass total PC shipments (desktop plus portable PCs) in the fourth quarter of 2013 (4Q13). PCs shipments are still expected to be greater than tablet shipments for the full year, but IDC forecasts tablet shipments will surpass total PC shipments on an annual basis by the end of 2015. Smartphones will continue to ship in high volumes, surpassing 1.4 billion units in 2015 and accounting for 69% of all smart connected device shipments worldwide. -- Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reebok Spartan World Championships gets rugged and announces Xplore Technologies' RangerX as the official tablet
Xplore Technologies and Spartan Race, a major obstacle racing company, have announced that the Xplore RangerX will be the official tablet of the 2013 Reebok Spartan Race World Championships taking place in Killington, Vermont on Sept. 21 and 22. Spartan athletes will be able to quickly check their results in real-time on the rugged 10.2-inch Android tablets at the event, improving the race experience. In addition, the RangerX will be used on the course to assist the race staff with production and logistics. [See Xplore press release] -- Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Winmate's Stainless Panel PC for hazardous area deployment
In response to increased demand for Panel PC equipment certified for use in locations where flammable substances may be present, Winmate introduced a 15-inch Intel Atom N2600-powered stainless steel Panel PC suitable for use in NEC Class 1 Division 2 and ATEX Gas Zone 2 environments. The panel, which is only two inches thick, can be ordered with either resistive or projected capacitive touch, is sealed to IP65 specs, and can handle a very wide -4° to 140° operating temperature range. [See description, analysis and secs of the Winmate Stainless Panel PC] -- Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What happend in rugged computing 5 years ago: September 2008
In September 2008, we wondered if WiMax was for real and said LTE would probably win. Panasonic introduced the Toughbook F8, T8 and W8. Lenovo introduced the ThinkPad X200t convertible notebook. Psion introduced the rugged 9.7-ounce NEO handheld, and Intermec introduced the CK3 rugged handheld. We reviewed the Getac P470 semi-rugged notebook, and Getac also announced a new superbright display for their V100. And salt fog certification for their rugged B300 notebook. Motion computing upgraded their LE1700 tablet with Core 2 Duos, SSDs, and an ultra-sharp SXGA+ display. [See what happened in rugged computing five years ago] -- Posted Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What's in a name? The Honeywell Thor vehicle mounts
Did you know the Akerstroms Trux Triton Tx800? Or the LXE VX8? The LXE Kärf? Or perhaps the Honeywell Thor VX8? If you know one, you know them all, because they are one and the same rugged vehicle mount computer. Acquisitions and mergers mean product name changes, and in this case LXE first acquired Swedish Akerstroms Trux, and then Honeywell acquired LXE, which at one point was one of the top five suppliers in the world of rugged handheld and vehicle-mounted mobile computers. We've updated all the names and specs of what is now the Honeywell "Thor" Vehicle Mount Computer lineup, including the new Thor VM2. See the Honeywell Thor VM1, Thor VM2, Thor VX8 and Thor VX9. -- Posted Monday, September 9, 2013

Motion expands In-Vehicle Computing Solution for North Americam soars through crash testing
Motion Computing expanded their In-Vehicle Computing Solution (view explanatory video) for North America today with a series of updates to the original offering, including Motion Preferred Installers in Canada, a 3 year standard limited warranty, additional customized mounting kits and positive crash test results. [See Motion press release] -- Posted Monday, September 9, 2013

Follow RuggedPCReview on Facebook
You can now follow RuggedPCReview.com on Facebook. We'll be posting all major news and links to our industry-leading product reviews. Hope to see you there! [See RuggedPCReview on Facebook] -- Posted Friday, September 6, 2013

Juniper Systems rugged Archer Field PC saves cowboy
Remember all those movies where a medallion or other memento in a pocket saves the hero from a deadly knife or bullet? Well, the folks at Juniper Systems report of a cowboy who got kicked by a horse, but avoided potentially serious injury because the horse connected exactly at the spot where he had his rugged Archer handheld computer in his pocket. The kick was hard enough to crack the usually invulnerable Archer's screen and damaged the keyboard, but was easily repaired. [See The Archer's Got Your Back (Literally)] -- Posted Thursday, September 5, 2013

AMREL releases next generation of its rugged 12.1-inch tablet
AMREL also revealed the next generation of its larger 12.1-inch rugged tablet platform. The new ROCKY DK10 looks unchanged from its DR8 predecessor, but, like the new DR10, provides greatly increased performance and utility thanks to a switch from an older Core 2 Duo to a low-voltage Intel Core i7 processor, twice the RAM, faster hard disks and optional SSDs, faster WiFi and WWAN, a brighter screen, and enhanced sealing and ruggedness. [See description, analysis and specs of the AMREL Rocky DK10] -- Posted Thursday, September 5, 2013

AMREL releases next generation of its rugged 8.4-inch tablet
AMREL revealed the next generation of its 8.4-inch rugged tablet platform. The new 4.2-pound ROCKY DR10 retains the look and feel of its DR8 predecessor, but provides greatly increased performance and utility thanks to a switch from an older Core 2 Duo to a low-voltage Intel Core i7 processor, twice the RAM, faster hard disks and optional SSDs, faster WiFi and WWAN, a brighter screen, and enhanced sealing and ruggedness. [See description, analysis and specs of the AMREL Rocky DR10] -- Posted Thursday, September 5, 2013

Panasonic introduces 20-inch Toughpad with 4K resolution
At the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany, Panasonic unveiled the business-rugged (2.5-foot drop) Windows 8.1 Toughpad 4K UT-MB5, a 20-inch IPS tablet with 3840 x 2560 pixel "4K" resolution. The Toughpad 4k is designed for sales, marketing and media professionals as part of a new Ultra-High Definition Toughpad range. The 5.2-pound, half-inch thick tablet is powered by an Intel Core i5, has nVidia discrete graphics, USB 3.0, 256GB SSD, 720p vidcam, SD Card, Smart Card, and a cradle for LAN and HDMI. The tablet offers an optional Panasonic Electronic Touch Pen for sketching, annotation or handwriting that uses IR to read pixels and communicates with the tablet via Bluetooth. Starting price is around US$5,200, and the Toughpad 4k is expected to be available late 2013. [See Panasonic Toughpad 4k press release] -- Posted Thursday, September 5, 2013

Intermec strengthens industrial printer portfolio with new mid-range label printer
Intermec announced the PM23c, a new 2-inch mid-range industrial printing solution and an extension of Intermec's PM43 and PM43c printer platform. The PM23c is an all-metal barcode label printer primed for mission critical markets and applications such as airline passenger services, manufacturing, and retail, including product labeling and food traceability, where maximizing productivity drives results. [See Intermec press release, pM23c page, and PMC23c product profile] -- Posted Thursday, September 5, 2013

Innovative use of sensors in rugged Garmin zūmo 390LM GPS
Smartphones and tablets are using more and more sensors (proximity, acceleration, light, temperature, etc.) to add functionality and value. Garmin is now exploring a new use of sensors in their rugged, sunlight-readable zūmo 390LM GPS navigator—a tire pressure monitor. Add a sensor for each tire and easily monitor the pressure using the zūmo display. The system works with up to four tires in any configuration. One TPMS sensor is required for each tire. [See Garmin press release and Garmin zūmo site] -- Posted Thursday, September 5, 2013

Old handhelds never die
Where do old handhelds go when they're no longer needed? One place is UsedHandhelds.com in Fairfield, Iowa. That's where CEO Eduardo Figueria and his minions buy and sell used handhelds, and have been since 1985. Need a bunch of Motorola/Symbol MC50 rugged Pocket PC scanners? They have them. Pretty much any old rugged/industrial PDA, Pocket PC, Handheld PC, or tablet? They have them. Have some and want to sell them? They are interested. See UsedHandhelds.com -- Posted Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The top 5 reasons why agriculture needs rugged tablet PCs
The US national gross farm revenue is very big business, about half a trillion US$s a year. Rugged tablet PC maker Mobile Demand points out that from engineered crops to state-of-the-art machinery, agriculture is a leader implementing many facets of modern technology, and lists the top 5 reasons why agriculture needs rugged tablet PCs. -- Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Advantech releases intelligent 4th gen Core processor-powered Mini-ITX motherboard
Advantech introduced the Mini ITX AIMB-274 industrial motherboard designed for embedded projects with power draw limitations that still need good performance and powerful graphics. Available with new desktop LGA 1150 socket 4th gen Intel Core processors and "Lynx Point" chipsets, this compact board has integrated Intel HD graphics, offers AMT 9.0, triple simultaneous display capability (DisplayPort/HDMI/LVDS/VGA), a superfast PCIe 3.0 x16 Gen3 slot and two mini-PCIe slots, four SATA rev. 3 6Gb/s channels, four USB 3.0 and six USB 2.0, two RS-232, dual gigabit Ethernet, Watchdog Timer, optional TPM 1.2, and embedded software APIs. [See Advantech press release] -- Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Microsoft buys Nokia's phone business
Microsoft announced it will purchase Nokia's Devices & Services business, which includes their smartphone and mobile phone businesses, design team, manufacturing and assembly facilities, and teams handling operations, sales, marketing and support. That means that just like Google did with its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Microsoft takes over a once high-flying but now struggling cell phone pioneer, thus joining Apple as an all-in-one hardware/software vendor. It should be interesting to see what this will mean to vertical market/industrial handhelds, most of which still use Windows CE or variants of Windows Mobile. What's left for Nokia? The company says it will be "focused on enabling mobility through its leadership in networking, mapping & location, and advanced technologies." [See Steve Ballmer email to Microsoft employees on Nokia Devices & Services acquisition and Nokia announcement] -- Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Advantech acquires industrial controller maker LNC Technology
Industrial and embedded computer maker Advantech acquired LNC Technology, which makes CNC (Computer Numerical Control) controllers to interface with turning, engraving, milling, grinding and punching machines, as well as controlling robots, injection molding machines, and numerous semiconductor, LCD, automation, and related industrial processes. The acquisition is seen as part of Advantech's goal to double annual revenue to US$2 billion within the next five years. -- Posted Sunday, September 1, 2013

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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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