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The major players in the rugged computing industry
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

The rugged computing industry is very different from the consumer market computer industry. Most of the hardware, software, peripherals, and services come from companies whose names are generally all but unknown to anyone outside the industry. The big names in rugged computing traditionally have not been Dell, Hewlett Packard or IBM. Those giants of the consumer and business computing market generally aren't in the rugged computing game to a meaningful extent. That's been changing in recent years to some extent as some large companies have entered the market via acquisitions. For example, Itronix became part of General Dynamics, Motorola took over Symbol Technologies and Psion, Honeywell Metrologic and Intermec, and Dell offers rugged versions their commercial notebooks.

The primary reason why the consumer computing giants do not also dominate the rugged and vertical computing markets is because those markets are so different. Consumer markets are all about volume, low price, and the latest features. Rugged and vertical markets are about meeting very special needs and requirements at generally much lower sales volumes. In addition, whereas consumer markets are almost exclusively hardware sales, rugged and vertical markets are often about turnkey solutions that may include custom software application development, service agreements, and systems integration. As a result, the sales cycle can be long, and equipment service and maintenance assumes a much more important role.

The following companies are leaders in the rugged and industrial computing field:

Ruggedized handheld terminals and PDAs

Rugged tablets

Rugged Notebooks and Vehicle Mounts

Mounting hardware

Rugged systems components and boards

Touch/digitizer/etc OEMS

Rugged Computing Hardware Distributors and Consultants

OEMs

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  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Oct 2013: Eurotech sells Parvus to Curtis-Wright
  • Dec 2012: Honeywell buys Intermec
  • Jun 2012: Motorola Solutions buys Psion
  • Oct 2011: Solid State PLC buys Blazepoint
  • Jun 2011: Honeywell buys EMS (and LXE)
  • Oct 2010: Beijer buys QSI
  • Mar 2010: Advantec buys DLoG
  • Jul 2008: Honeywell buys Metrologic
  • May 2008: Finmeccanica buys DRS
  • Mar 2007: DAP and JLT merge into Roper
  • Jan 2007: Motorola's Symbol acquisition
  • Aug 2005: General Dynamics buys Itronix
  • Jun 2005: DRS Technologies buys WalkAbout
  • Jul 2000: Psion acquires Teklogix
  • Feb 2000: Itronix acquires Husky
  • Apr 1998: Symbol acquires Telxon
  • 1997: Intermec acquires Norand