The latest addition to Casio Business Solution's lineup is the Casio IT-800 Handheld Terminal, a very elegant PDA initially introduced in early 2010.
If at first it seems that this good-looking PDA is entirely too sexy to be part of a mundane roster of industrial terminals, it's probably because the IT-800 began life as the Cassiopeia DT-5300 in Japan. Cassiopeia PDAs go way back to the launch of Windows CE in 1996. Unfortunately, Casio essentially withdrew from the US consumer/business PDA market around the turn of the millennium when Microsoft introduced the Pocket PC spec with its very strictly regulated hardware requirements. Elegant and advanced Cassiopeias lived, and live, on in Japan, and occasionally one of them made it into the US Casio Business Solutions product lineup, much to the benefit of all involved.
In essence, with the Cassiopeia DT-5300/IT-800, Casio offered a multi-function scanning, card-reading 3.5G-communicating, picture-taking secure rugged phone computer running Windows Mobile 6.5 well before the much heralded similar offerings from Datalogic, Motorola and Intermec. But for some reason Casio is rather low-key in promoting its often superb handheld computers in the US, and so this remarkable device got very little attention. So let's take a look at the Cassiopeia DT-5300/IT-800:
What we have here is a thoroughly modern multifunction PDA based on the powerful Marvel PXA320 processor running at 624MHz. The large 3.7-inch display offers full 480 x 640 pixel VGA resolution and uses Casio's "Blanview" LCD technology for optimal contrast and outdoor viewability. The display can also absorb impact without breaking (it survived a 1+ pound steel ball dropped onto it from a foot) and is more energy-efficient than conventional designs.
The device includes an integrated C-MOS imager for reading both 1D and 2D codes and symbologies. A separate 2-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash can be used for documentation purposes. And you get a Smart Card reader that doens't require physical contact. There is both a micro-SDHC and a standard SDIO card slot for expansion and extra storage, and the unit also has a SIM card slot for communication. Finally, there's a special expansion port on the back of the device that can be used to interface with custom modules. Japanese specs show the availability of a W-CDMA high-speed data module as well as GPS, and a white version is available for medical/clinical settings.
In terms of size and weight, the IT-800 measures 3.1 x 6.3 x 1 inches and weighs just under ten ounces. That's larger and heavier than a consumer smartphone, but still small enough to fit into most pockets. There's a phone-style keypad with a few additional keys; we'd like to also have seen an alphanumeric keypad option.
In the ruggedness department, the IT-800 can handle five-foot drops onto concrete, carries IP54 sealing, and has a very wide operating temperature range from -4 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. And it's got great battery life, too: with the optional extended battery you get as much as 22 hours between charges.
Anyone in need of a powerful, compact multi-function mobile computer/scanner/communicator should take a look at this Casio.