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

October 2011

Atmel maXStylus/maXTouch demo video
Atmel uploaded an interesting video demonstrating and explaining its maXStylus technology that combines a very precise stylus with a 1mm stylus tip with the company's maXTouch multi-touch touchscreen technology. [See Atmel maXTylus demo video on YouTube] -- Posted Monday, October 31, 2011

Handheld teams up with PUMA for Volvo Ocean Race
Handheld Group, a supplier of innovative and advanced rugged PDAs and devices, has teamed up with PUMA Ocean Racing for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. As part of the sponsorship, the PUMA crew onboard PUMA’s Mar Mostro (Monster of the Sea) will use Handheld's ultra-rugged Algiz 7 tablet on deck for everything from navigation to calculations and communication. Handheld Marketing Director Sofia Löfblad said, "This is the kind of tough environment the Algiz 7 was built for, and I'm especially interested in hearing the crew’s response to our new MaxView screen technology." -- Posted Monday, October 31, 2011

Dell Latitude ST Windows 7 tablet
Dell's upcoming Windows 7-based and Intel Atom Z670-powered Latitude ST tablet offers both capacitive multi-touch and an active pen (using N-Trig technology). The 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixel display has Gorilla Glass protection, and there are rubberized bumpers to help survive use in the field. There are USB and HDMI ports, WiFi/BT4, dual cameras (720p front, 5mp rear), up to 128GB SSD, and up to 6 hours of battery life. Measuring 10.6 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches and weighing just under two pounds, the Latitude ST reminds a lot of the Fujitsu Q550. The Latitude ST will cost around US$1,000 and become available early November, 2011. [See Dell Latitude ST product page] -- Posted Friday, October 28, 2011

RuggedPCReview.com added Embedded Systems section
"Embedded systems" refers to all the computing technology that's hidden inside all sorts of equipment and services of modern life. It can be ATMs, kiosks, signage, gaming, etc., etc. The computer systems that make those products and services possible must tough, rugged and completely reliable. And since performance and functionality requirements greatly vary, those boards and systems come in many standards. It's more difficult to discuss embedded products because they are behind the scenes and not often available for review. We believe, however, that embedded systems technology, both hardware and software, is important in the rugged mobile space, and that's why we've now added an official Embedded Systems section. [See RuggedPCReview.com Embedded Systems section] -- Posted Thursday, October 27, 2011

Motorola Solutions Q3 2011 sales, earnings up
Motorola Solutions announced third-quarter 2011 results highlighted by sales of $2.1 billion, up 10%t from the third quarter of 2010 and driven by solid demand in all regions across both its Government and Enterprise segments. Total sales for Q3 of 2011 were US$2,105 billion, roughly 1/3 from enterprise sales and 2/3 from government sales. Earnings were US$253 million, up from $211 million for the quarter a year ago. The company holds US$6.3 billion in cash and expects overall 7% sales growth for 2011. 57% of sales were North America, 21% Europe, 13% Asia, and 9% Latin America.
-- Posted Thursday, October 27, 2011

Juniper Systems to manufacture Tesla handheld for Topcon Positioning Systems
Juniper Systems announced a partnership with Topcon Positioning Systems, where Juniper Systems will manufacture the IP67-sealed, rugged Topcon Tesla, based on Juniper's Mesa handheld, as the newest data collector in Topcon's full lineup of rugged handheld computers and solutions for the survey industry. Three different Tesla models are available: the Standard, Geo, and Geo 3G. All models include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the Geo and Geo 3G add a 3.2MP camera and GPS receiver, and the Geo 3G tops it off with an integrated 3G data modem, network approved by AT&T.
-- Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Aceeca to retire Palm-based handheld, switch to multi-OS version
Aceeca reports that after a production life of almost ten years the MEZ1000, essentially a ruggedized implementation of the original Palm, is nearing end-of-life. This means Aceeca will phase in their new MEZ1500 which replaces the MEZ1000. The MEZ1500 offers both Garnet and WinCE operating systems, with various Linux options along with Android coming in future months. -- Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: Advantech PCM-C3500 RISC-based SBC
While Intel-based CISC processors have pretty much dominated the desktop over the past couple of decades, the CISC vs. RISC debate is not dead and it's heating up again as ARM-powered tablets and smartphones are increasingly taking center stage. RISC processors with their low cost and minuscule power requirements can also play an important role in embedded systems. RuggedPCReview.com is taking a detailed look at Advantech's new ARM-based PCM-C3500 Series of single board computers that can run Windows CE, Linux and even Android. [See review and discussion of the Advantech PCM-C3500 Series] -- Posted Friday, October 21, 2011

Getac report from Intergeo 2011
Getac Germany reported from the Intergeo 2011 geodesy, geo information and land management trade show, describing a trend towards using tablets and handhelds for ever more complex applications. Getac mentioned significant interest in 4G/LTE technologies, provisions for which Getac has already implemented in several current models. Other trends mentioned are longer battery life, increased performance, lighter weight, and ease of use. Getac concluded that they'll be in a good position with their 2012 lineup to meet all those trends and requirements. -- Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011

Motion introduces SlateMate add-on modules for its CL900 tablet
Motion Computing introduced the Motion CL900 SlateMate snap-on module technology that extends the functionality of the ruggedized CL900 Tablet PC. Securely attached to the tablet's internal frame, the first CL900 SlateMate module provides a 1, 2 and 3 track magnetic stripe reader and a 1D/2D barcode scanner for mobile data acquisition and transaction processing. [See Motion CL900 SlateMate page] -- Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Australian Tough Corp opens US office
After a decade of doing business in the lands down under, Tough Corp is opening a US office in Phoenix, Arizona. Specializing in the manufacture, development, sales, integration and service of robust portable hardware and software products and systems, Tough Corp partners with the likes of Getac, Honeywell, Zebra, Datamax - O'Neil, DLI, Advantech DloG, Ricoh, Contour, iKey, RAM Mounts, Zirkona, ESRI and Garmin. [See press release] -- Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Samwell reports additional SR800 rugged tablet airport deployments
The Samwell Group reports that their RUGGEDBOOK SR800 rugged dual mode resistive and electromagnetic digitizer 10.4-inch Tablet PC has now been adopted by seven airports in India in baggage processing and other applications. The company also reports an upcoming SR800 airport deployment in the Maldives. [See full review of the Samwell SR800] -- Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rugged little worldbeater 1080p HD camera: the GoPro
Not a rugged computer, but a rugged, useful piece of equipment for outdoor work anyway: the GoPro Hero camera. It can do full-speed 1080p high definition video, comes with a waterproof, rugged case, all sorts of mounting materials, and the whole thing costs all of about US$250. We did a comprehensive review of the GoPro for our sister site, ScubaDiverInfo.com. [See The GoPro phenomenon: what the world-beating little 1080p vidcam can (and cannot) do] -- Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ARMOR rugged tablet supports fire fighter info system
DRS Technologies announced that its Tactical Systems Group has been selected by Rosenbauer, a global leader in fire fighting vehicles and technology, as the mobile hardware that supports its EMEREC mobile information management system. This system wirelessly links the ARMOR rugged tablet in the field with operations command and a central database to provide real-time information such as maps, plans, lists, data sheets, vehicle rescue sheets and available rescue equipment. -- Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Xplore closes additional financing
Xplore Technologies Corp. announced that it received $2.32 million in gross proceeds from the issuance of 2.32 million shares of Series D Participating Convertible Preferred Stock in a private placement. According to the company, the placement will enable Xplore to fulfill the expected increase in demand for its new product line and maximize its chances of success in a market with growing awareness and traction. -- Posted Monday, October 17, 2011

Motion celebrates 10th anniversary with CL900 tablet give-away
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Motion Computing is giving away a CL900 Tablet PC to a lucky winner. How do you enter? By becoming a Motion Computing fan on Facebook and posting, before November 1st, a photo of yourself using your current Motion tablet and a brief description of why you love it, or a photo of where you would use a new Motion CL900 tablet and a brief description of how you would use it. [See Motion Computing Facebook page] -- Posted Monday, October 17, 2011

Parvus announces rugged Intel Xeon SBC
For those who need to build truly inddustrial-strength high-performance rugged systems, Parvus introduced the CPU-111-10 6U VPX Single Board Computer with a quad-core Intel L5408 Xeon processor and integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet, supporting full-mesh backplane data layer interconnectivity for up to eight SBCs in a single chassis. Conduction cooled versions feature board stiffeners, heat spreaders, and wedge locks to passively transfer heat to the chassis and tolerate high shock and vibration environments. [See Parvus CPU-111-10 page] -- Posted Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: BAP Precision S-Series rugged handheld
Despite consumer smartphones increasingly being used in applications that were once the exclusive domain of purpose-designed ruggedized handheld terminals, there are still numerous deployments where environmental conditions, potential abuse, IT security requirements, etc., make a traditional ruggedized PDA-style mobile computer a better choice. The Windows Mobile-based BAP Precision S-Series, offered by Florida-based F4 Tech, is such a device. [See review of the BAP Precision S-Series] -- Posted Monday, October 17, 2011

ARMOR X7 compact rugged tablet now certified for Sprint
DRS Technologies, Inc., a Finmeccanica Company, announced that the ARMOR X7 compact rugged tablet has been approved for connectivity on the Sprint3G network. This certification will enable ARMOR customers that utilize the integrated WWAN capabilities of the ARMOR X7 on Sprint’s network to experience the benefits of a seamless data and communication exchange. -- Posted Thursday, October 13, 2011

Australian ski resort uses Motion F5v tablets
At Australian ski resort Perisher this winter season, it's not only the skiers and boarders who are on the move. The resort is reporting excellent results after equipping its lift crews and IT department with Intel Core i7-powered Motion Computing F5v Tablet PCs. On the first day of the 2011 ski season, the tablet PCs and RFID gates were launched to process lift passes and immediately changed the way the resort services its guests. [See press release] -- Posted Thursday, October 13, 2011

MobileDemand adds industry veterans
MobileDemand added former Norand/Intermec/Socket Mobile exec Bob Zink to its staff as VP of Global Sales and Marketing. The company also added vertical market sales expert Brian Beans (Honeywell, Intermec, Motorola) as Director of Global Channel Sales. MobileDemand president Matt Miller said, "MobileDemand experienced solid growth in 2010 and we are on a similar trajectory this year. Continuing this rapid growth and meeting the changing needs of our customers and prospects requires strong executive leadership and deep knowledge of the industries and applications where Rugged Tablet PC technologies can streamline operations and make mobile workers more productive." -- Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DRS Tactical wins US$250 million US Army contract
According to the Defense Industry Daily, DRS Tactical Systems received an almost US$250 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2; a Solaris based communication platform) installation kits, and services to integrate them onto the relevant vehicles. DRS also the system's current JV-5 Block II ultra-rugged vehicle system. [See DID release] -- Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ARM TechCon 2011 Oct. 25-27
ARM TechCon will be held Oct. 25-27, 2011, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif. The conference centers around innovation in ARM SoC design, open source software, smart systems and more. [Go to ARM TechCon registration] -- Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Datalogic reports best ever quarter
Datalogic reported it has had its best quarter ever. Preliminary sales revenue for Q3 2011 came to 107 million Euro, a nearly 7% growth rate compared to 100.4 million Euro in Q3 of 2010. With a constant exchange rate, the increase would have been approximately +11%. [See Datalogic press release] -- Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Motorola Solutions introduces enterprise-class 7-inch capacitive multi-touch Android tablet
Seeking to provide the familiarity and popularity of a consumer-class user experience to a true enterprise-class device, Motorola Solutions introduced the Android-based ET1 ruggedized 7-inch tablet. The TI OMAP 4-powered capacitive multi-touch 1.4 pound ET1 brings enhanced durability (4-foot drop, IP54, etc.), an optional barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader, hot-swappable battery packs, and secure system software. [See description and specs of the Motorola Solutions ET1 tablet] -- Posted Monday, October 10, 2011

Casio IT-300: rugged Windows Mobile handheld with capacitive multi-touch
Leave it to Casio Business Solutions to introduce one elegant, innovative industrial PDA after the other without ever letting anyone know. They did it again with the Casio IT-300, a unique new implementation of the industrial handheld, and the first we know of with capacitive multi-touch. The 7.6-ounce T300 runs Windows Embedded Handheld on a 624MHz Marvell PXA320 processor, has a 3.7-inch full-VGA screen, a CMOS 1D/2D imager, a 10-hour battery, IP54 sealing, and enough ruggedness to survive 5-foot drops. [See description and specs of the Casio IT-300] -- Posted Monday, October 10, 2011

Intermec named a 2011 Tech Innovator by UBM Channel's CRN
Intermec announced that it has been recognized for its innovation in the AIDC industry with a 2011 Tech Innovator award from CRN in the handhelds category for its ultra-rugged mobile computer, the Intermec CK71. CRN's 9th annual Tech Innovator listing celebrates vendors that have introduced new products or solutions to drive advances in the technology channel. [See press release] -- Posted Friday, October 7, 2011

Display resolution in mobile devices expected to rise
According to DisplaySearch, increasing demand for high information content and multimedia capability in mobile devices continues to drive flat panel display resolution to higher levels of pixel density. With panel makers developing ultra-high resolutions, such as 2048 x 1536 pixels QXGA and higher for tablet PCs and 1280 x 800 pixels for smartphones, the average pixel density of flat panel displays is expected to grow over the next few years. -- Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011

GD-Itronix introduces fully-rugged GD3080 tablet
General Dynamics Itronix introduced the GD3080 fully-rugged tablet computer as a next-gen version of its Duo-Touch II tablet. The 4.0 pound fanless tablet now features higher XGA resolution on its 8.4-inch DynaVue display that has an auto-switching resistive touchscreen/active digitizer combo. The GD3080 runs Windows 7 and offers more memory as well as higher capacity hard disk and SSD options. Up to three RF modems and GPS can be integrated in a unit at one time. Sealing is at the IP54 level and the machine, which starts at US$3,250, can handle significant abuse. [See description and specs of the General Dynamics Itronix GD3080] -- Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CDW-G delivers rugged Toughbook solution to Newport News Police
CDW Government announced that it worked with Accelera Solutions to equip the Newport News Police Department (Va.) with fully ruggedized mobile technology and enable anytime, anywhere access to essential data and applications for officers in the field by equipping more than 60 vehicles with Panasonic Toughbook CF-30 and CF-31 notebooks running Citrix XenApp. -- Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011

National Instruments expands ruggedized Smart Camera family with Intel Atom-powered units
National Instrument announced it is expanding its NI Smart Camera family with seven new models. The new NI 177x Smart Cameras feature a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor for increased processing power and IP67 sealing to protect the hardware from dust and water, making the cameras ideal for industrial inspection applications that require high performance in a rugged form factor. [See National Instruments Smart Cameras] -- Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oct. 26 webcast: Ruggedizing COTS Components for ISR Applications in Extreme Environments
Z Microsystems announced that it is presenting the online webcast "Ruggedizing COTS Components for ISR Applications in Extreme Environments" on Wednesday, October 26, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT). The webcast is hosted by Military Embedded Systems and registration for the complimentary webcast can be made at http://bit.ly/zmicrocots . -- Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Full review: Winmate 3.7" Rugged Handheld
There are still jobs where consumer-style smartphones, even sturdier ones, just won't do. That's why Taiwanese industrial computer manufacturer Winmate introduced their own industrial strength and size handheld that's simply called the Winmate 3.7" Rugged Handheld Device, also listed as the R03TACH. RuggedPCReview.com did a detailed analysis of the OMAP 3530/Windows CE 6.0 powered, IP67-sealed rugged, eminently practical device with a full VGA 3.7-inch touch screen and the ability to also run Android. [See full review of the Winmate 3.7" Rugged Handheld] -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2011

Review and discussion: Advantech MIO-5270
There are numerous board formats for embedded computer systems, each optimizing certain hardware standards and technologies. However, there are times where none of the current standards fits special project needs. To address that, Advantech introduced MI/O, a board standard with multiple I/O support via a special unified connector. ruggedPCReview.com analyzed MI/O and one of the first boards using the standard, the AMD G-Series based MIO-5270. [Read about the concept and performance of the Advantech MIO-5270] -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2011

Getac 45 second factory tour
There's a new video on YouTube that presents a very cool 45-second Getac factory tour. Despite its brevity, the video offers an attractive and informative overview on how Getac's rugged notebooks are conceived, made, and tested. [See Getac 45 second factory tour] -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2011

Advantech and Stinova collaborate on digital signage solutions
Embedded platform and integration service provider Advantech announced a strategic alliance with digital signage software specialist Stinova to target multiple markets including digital signage, self-service kiosks and other graphics-centric applications. Advantech and Stinova will jointly present a digital signage solution at Viscom Dusseldorf 2011 from 13th until 15th October. -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2011

Former LXE General Manager joins MissionMobility
Mission Mobility, an engineering company that develops (mostly hardened) baseband communication solutions, announced that Steve Newell joined the company as President and CEO. Mr. Newell's previous position was General Manager at LXE which was recently acquired by Honeywell. -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2011

First Transit shows vehicle diagnostics system on DLI 8300 rugged tablets.
First Transit and First Vehicle Services showed InstallerNet’s Vehicle Diagnostic System (VDS) at the APTA Expo in New Orleans (October 3-5th, 2011). VDS maintains and tracks fleets, reads and resets error codes for any vehicle, allows troubleshooting, and allows virtual ride-along from any VDS unit. The system was demonstrated on DLI 8300 rugged tablet computers. -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2011

Apacheta and Motorola Solutions help Bally improve field worker productivity
Apacheta and Motorola Solutions announced that Bally Technologies has deployed an enterprise mobility solution to automate the company’s field installation and service operations. By using Apacheta's ServiceACE mobile workflow application on Motorola Solutions MC75 Enterprise Digital Assistants, Bally can capture customer signatures in real-time and automate the daily tasks of field service technicians for more accurate and timely reporting and inventory tracking. -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2011

Hughes releases rugged IP55 9202 Land Portable Terminal
Hughes Network Systems announced the availability of its new rugged 3.3 lbs.9202 Class 2 portable terminal. Fully compatible for operation over Inmarsat's global BGAN satellite service, the IP55-sealed Hughes 9202 is the only Class 2 portable BGAN terminal with built-in, multi-user Wi-Fi access and a full 64 kbps ISDN data channel. [See brochure (PDF)] -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2011

u-blox acquires SigNav IP
Hard-charging Swiss positioning and wireless chip and module maker u-blox announced it has acquired all assets and intellectual property of Australia-based SigNav, a 15-year veteran in precision-timing and reference frequency technologies. u-blox expects the integration of Signav’s assets and IP to enhance and further develop u-blox precision timing chips and modules. -- Posted Saturday, October 1, 2011

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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."