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Janam XT85

Compact, rugged keyboard PDA merges legacy and state-of-the-art technology
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Janam is a New York-based rugged mobile computing vendor with worldwide distribution. The company was established in January of 2006 as a provider of purpose-built rugged handheld computing devices for mobile workers. In February 2013, the company introduced the Janam XT85, a high-bandwidth wireless rugged mobile computer designed to support demanding enterprise applications in equally demanding outdoor environments.

In terms of general positioning, the Janam XT85 offers the traditional Pocket PC size and shape with a RIM-style thumbtype keypad at the bottom. The device measures a fairly compact 3 x 5.8 inches. It's 1.2 inches thick and weighs about 12 ounces. That makes the XT85 considerably thicker and heavier than a modern smartphone, but it's still pocketable.

In terms of technology, customers get a mix of old and new. The 806MHz Marvell PXA310 application processor is a reliable Pocket PC-era workhorse. The 3.5-inch display looks small by now, what with consumer smartphone screens getting ever larger. The 240 x 320 pixel QVGA resolution is another old industry standard that looks quite low-res now. For memory, there's 256MB of RAM and 512MB or 1GB of Flash, expandable via a microSD card slot. The technology is certainly good enough to run Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 (which is Windows Mobile 6.5 with a new name). As the picture above shows, the XT85 can be ordered either with a 27-key numeric keypad for rapid data entry, or with a 45-key full QWERTY thumbtype keyboard. What all that means is that the Janam XT85 fights in the same general class as similar offerings from the big guns at Motorola, Honeywell/Intermec, and Datalogic.

In light of the legacy technology, Janam CEO Harry Lerner's statement that "purpose-built mobile computers must appeal to today's information worker who expects a device that is small, light, fast and highly capable while also serving the business needs of the enterprise for whom the mobile worker is performing mission-critical tasks... Janam's XT85 is optimized to appeal to both constituencies" would seem a bit optimistic if it were not for some of the XT85's other specs.

There is, for example, Cisco-certified dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n while consumer devices usually just offer single-band WiFi. There's 3G/4G 5-band mobile broadband -- definitely not a given in rugged handhelds. The 5-megapixel autofocus camera with illuminator would be modest in a consumer smartphone, but it's more advanced than what most industrial handhelds have. And there's push-to-talk.

Another thing the XT85 has that you won't get with consumer devices is your choice of either a 1D laser scanner or a 1D/2D area imager. And a thing you used to get and still may need, but that has all but disappeared from virtually all handhelds: an IrDA infrared port. And speaking of legacy communication, the XT85 can handle RS232 serial.

The Janam XT85 is also far more rugged than any consumer smartphone. It will survive multiple 5-foot drops, can be operated in a wide 14 to 122 degree temperature range, and is sealed to IP65 level, meaning the device is totally dustproof and also immune to low-pressure water jets from all directions.

Overall, the Janam XT85 seems well equipped to appeal to enterprise deployments with higher operational and performance demands than older industrial handhelds can deliver, and where ruggedness requirements rule out consumer smartphones.

Specifications Janam XT85
Added/changed Added 03/2013
Form-factor Rugged mobile computer
CPU Speed Marvell PXA310/806 MHz
OS Microsoft Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5
RAM/ROM 256MB/512 or 1024MB NAND Flash
Card slots 1 user-accessible micro-SDHC card slot
Display type Color TFT
Display size/res 3.5" 240 x 320 pixel QVGA
Digitizer/pens Analog resistive touch
Keyboard/keys Backlit 27-key numeric or 45-key QWERTY
Navigation touch, stylus, keypad
Housing Plastic
Operating Temp 14° to 122°F (-10° to 50°C)
Sealing IP65
Shock Multiple 5 foot drops to concrete
Size (WxHxD) 3.0 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches (77 x 147 x 30 mm)
Weight 12.1 oz. (344g) with battery
Power Swappable 3.7V/2,400 mAH or 3,600 mAh rechargeable Li-Ion
Interface Industrial communications port (serial, RS232, USB, 2.0, DC-IN); micro USB
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n (Cisco CCX certified), IrDA 1.4, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, GPS: U-blox AMY-6M, UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA/GSM; 3G/4G HSPA+ technology; 4G when used on AT&T network
Scanner 1D/2D Adaptus 752 x 480 pixel CMOS area imager OR Motorola SE965HP Class 2 laser
Camera 5.0 megapixel autofocus with LED illuminator
Safety CSA: CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 60950-1-07, LVD: EN60950
EMI FCC Part 15 Subpart B, EN55022, EN55024, ICES-003, AS/NZS CISPR
HazLoc UL Listing (US and Canada) Class I Div 2, Groups A, B, C, D
Price US$750 to US$1,000 range
Product brochure Janam XT85 specs (PDF)
Web page Janam XT85 page
Web page Janam XT85 press release
Windows Mobile Info
  • Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld
  • Windows Embedded Compact 2013
  • Windows Embedded 8 Handheld
  • Windows Embedded Compact 7
  • Windows Embedded Handheld
  • Windows Phone 7
  • Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R3
  • Windows Mobile 6.5
  • Windows Mobile 6
  • Windows CE 6.0
  • Windows Mobile 5
  • Windows CE 5.0
  • 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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