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Glacier Ridgeline Q100

Military-style ultra-rugged PDA
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Glacier Computer is an Amherst, New Hampshire based designer, developer, and supplier of rugged industrial computers. Their Ridgeline rugged PDA was conceived to complement Glacier's line of vehicle-mount and mobile computers with a handheld Windows Mobile-based solution rugged enough to survive in the harshest environments. The Ridgeline Q100 was designed to fill a niche that isn't being addressed by many vendors of rugged computing equipment, that of data collection in extremely difficult environmental conditions.

To facilitate that, the Q100 essentially takes the guts and functionality of a consumer market Pocket PC and places it into a very tough housing that is impervious to the elements. This adds size and weight, of course, but the Q100 remains fairly compact, measuring 6.1. x 3.8 x 1.65 inches. It also has a reasonably large 3.7-inch display that according to Glacier is available both in QVGA (240 x 320) and full VGA (480 x 640) versions. Operation is via touch screen and a large navigation diamond, and the Q100 also has four function keys and a special terminal key.

On the tech side, the device is powered by the 624MHz version of the tried-and-true Marvell PXA270 XScale processor. It comes with a generous 256MB of RAM and 256 or 512MB of Flash. There is a CF card expansion slot as well as a micro-SD slot. Connectivity is unusually generous for a Pocket PC device with two USB Type A and one USB Type B ports, an RJ45 LAN jack, an RS232 port and a RS232/422/485 port, audio in/out and a surface contact docking connector.

There is integrated 802.11b/g and Bluetooth Class 2 v2.0 + EDR, an internal GPRS module, and there is also an available GPS and GALILEO receiver module with built-in antenna.

The Q100 looks tough and rugged, and it is. It can survive a five-foot drop, handle extreme operating temperatures between -4 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and is sealed to IP67 specifications, where the "6" means total sealing against dust and the "7" means the device can handle immersion into water down to a depth of about three feet. The thick rubber bumpers on all eight corners offer superior protection against impact and scratches.

Glacier offers the Q100 with either Windows CE 5.0 or Windows Mobile 6.1. The former is best for deployments where the unit will run custom applications or terminal emulation, the latter offers the full complement of consumer Pocket PC apps, such as mobile versions of the Microsoft Office apps and so on. Depending on configuration, the Q100 is ideal for pesonnel in utility, marine, military, construction and a variety of industrial settings.

Specifications
Added/last update Added February 2009
Form-factor Ultra-rugged PDA
CPU Speed Marvell PXA270/624 MHz
OS Windows CE 5.0 or Windows Mobile 6.1
RAM/ROM 256MB SDRAM/256-512MB onboard Flash
Card slots 1 CF Card + 1 micro-SD
Display type User-adjustable TFT with touchscreen
Display size/res 3.7-inch/VGA (480 x 640) or QVGA (240 x 320)
Digitizer/pens touch/1
Keyboard/keys Navigation keys, four function keys, terminal key
Navigation directional control, stylus
Housing Unknown
Operating Temp -4 to 140F
Sealing IP67
Shock 5 feet
Size (WxHxD) 6.1 x 3.8 x 1.65
Weight unknown
Power Internal 2-cell 1,900mAH Li-Ion
Interface 2 USB Type A, 1 USB Type B, 1 RS232, 1 RS232/422/485, RJ45 LAN, audio in/out, docking
Wireless 802.11b/g, Bluetooth Class 2 v2.0 + EDR, internal GPRS module, GPS and GALILEO receiver with built-in antenna
List price Inquire
Contact glaciercomputer.com
Windows Mobile Info
  • Windows Mobile 6
  • Windows Mobile 5
  • Windows Mobile Smartphone
  • Windows Mobile 2003
  • Windows CE .Net
  • Windows for Pocket PC 2002
  • Pocket PC intro 2000
  • Windows CE H/PC Pro 1998
  • Windows CE 2.0 1997
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