Why the display of a mobile device is so important (Field Technologies Magazine, September 2013)

Every computer a mobile computer (GPS World Magazine, July 2013)

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Trimble Juno T41

Smartphone-inspired rugged handheld with procap multi-touch can run Windows Mobile or Android
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Trimble introduced the Juno T41 rugged handheld computer in August 2012. The T41 is designed to be a smartphone-inspired option for industries requiring a rugged field computer for data collection and mobile workforce management. It is a developer-friendly device for real-world field conditions, available with either Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 or Android OS (initially version 2.3.4., as of early 2014 version 4.1).

Over the years, the size of Pocket PC/PDA displays has been going up and down. First it was 3.8 inches, then they got smaller and smaller, and now apparently the trend is reversing, likely due to the advent of ever larger smartphone screens. Perhaps this is why Trimble's new T41 rugged handheld has a nice and large 4.3-inch display. Or perhaps it's because Trimble likes to address different tastes and applications, and the new T41 fits between their 3.5-inch handhelds and 7-inch Yuma tablet.

Any which way you look at it, the June T41 is an attractive unit, and with capacitive multi-touch and being able to run the Android OS as well as Windows Embedded Handheld it's technologically up-to-date as well. In Trimble's product literature, the new device is referred to as a smartphone inspired rugged handheld computer. One might well argue that Android versions account for the "smartphone inspired" part and Windows Embedded Handheld versions for the handheld computer part. That's because while Android versions very much operate like any other of the tens of millions of Android smartphones, Windows Embedded Handheld versions feel less natural with the procap multi-touch digitizer. Our guess is that those who seek a rugged smartphone with great GPS will prefer the Android version whereas those who want to run custom software in a Microsoft infrastructure will gravitate to the Windows Embedded Handheld model.

While the look of the T41 is certainly smartphone inspired, the weight isn't, and it's a much larger unit than it looks in illustrations. The 6.1 x 3.2 inch footprint is squarely between an iPhone and a 7-inch tablet. The T41 is also almost an inch thick, and it weighs 13.9 ounces. That's compared to the 4.7 ounces the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone with its even larger 4.7-inch screen weighs. That's simply the difference between a sleek and slender consumer smartphone and a tough, rugged tool for outdoor jobs.

In terms of tech specs, Trimble's latest is based on the Texas Instruments DM3730 processor running at 800MHz or 1GHz. This is an OMAP-compatible package with an ARM Cortex-A8 core, a NEON SIMD coprocessor, and a POWERVR SGXTM Graphics Accelerator. The large 4.3-inch capacitive multi-touch display offers 480 x 800 pixel WVGA resolution, with both the touch technology and the screen resolution up to current smartphone standards, rather than legacy handheld technology. Other new-era tech includes a high-res 8 megapixel camera (that can automatically add time and location data from the GPS receiver), a micro-SD card slot that can accommodate cards up to 32GB, speedy 802.11n WiFi, optional 3.75G mobile broadband, and — this being a Trimble device — integrated WAAS/SBAS capable GPS with an MCX port for an optional external antenna. Later, Trimble also made available real-time enhanced GPS with 1-2 meter accuracy.

For wired communication there is a special custom connector that can provide connectivity to a USB device, a 9-pin serial device or a battery charger.

As far as controls go, the T41 platform has four physical buttons below the display. In Windows based units, two of them are unmarked and relate to whatever software choices appear on the display, the other two represent the Windows and OK functions. Android based units use the Android standard home, menu, escape and search.

As one would expect from a rugged Trimble handheld, the Juno T41 can take quite a bit of abuse. It can handle 4-foot drops to concrete without additional protection, it can handle a wide operating temperature range of -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it carries IP65 (yellow models) or IP68 (gray models) sealing, which means it's completely impervious to dust and can either handle water jets from all directions or is totally waterproof.

What all this means is that Trimble's new Juno T41 represents a definite step forward into an era where workers on the job can enjoy smartphone-class functionality and ease of use instead of having to fumble with a little stylus. However, since much of the vertical market is still running Microsoft's older Windows Mobile and Windows CE, the T41 covers that, too.

Juno T41 product family

Over time, Trimble expanded the Juno T41 into a whole family of models in three form factors and with various features.

The original compact form factor (left) is available as a) the basic C model, b) the X model that includes 3.75G voice and data, and a special M model for the military.

A taller, but still slender form factor (middle) is available with enhanced 1-2 meter accuracy GPS either with voice and data (XG model) or without voice and adat (CG model).

A second "tall" form factor with a thicker top (right) is available in basic configuration with scanner (CS model), voice & data configuration with scanner (XS model), and voice and data configuration with both scanner and enhanced GPS (XGS model).

As of February 2014, that form factor is also available in basic configuration with UHF RFID (CR model), voice & data and UHF RFID (XR model), and voice & data, enhanced GPS, and also UHF RFID (XGR model), meaning that scanner and UHF RFID are mutually exclusive.

Additional variables are the 800MHz or 1GHz processor, Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 or Android, and yellow (IP65) or gray (IP68) sealing. That's potentially a very large number of permutations, and Trimble assures us that, with the exception of the G models (enhanced GPS) that require the faster processor, all such possible permutations are available.

Specifications Trimble Juno T41
Status Added 08/2012, updated 02/2014
Form-factor Rugged handheld computer
CPU Speed Texas Instruments DM3730, 800 MHz or 1 GHz
OS Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 or Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean"
RAM/ROM 512MB/8GB, 16GB, or 32GB Flash
Card slots 1 microSD card slot (up to 32GB), 1 SIM card slot
Display type Outdoor-viewable color TFT LCD with Corning Gorilla Glass
Display size/res 4.3"/480 x 800 pixel
Digitizer/pens Capacitive multi-touch, no pen
Keyboard/keys On-screen, Windows: Windows and OK buttons, 2 soft buttons, volume up/down, on/off; Android: standard Android
Navigation Touch
Housing Polycarbonate plastic, rubber overmolding
Operating Temp -22°F to 144°F (-30°C to 60°C),
Sealing IP65 (yellow models) or IP68 (gray models)
Shock 4-foot transit drop per MIL-STD-810G, Method 516.6, Procedure IV
Humidity 90% relative humidity between 22 and 144°F per, MIL-STD-810G, Method 507.5, Procedure II
Vibration General minimum integrity and loose cargo tests, MIL- STD-810G, Method 514.6, Procedure I & II, Category 5
Altitude 15,000 feet t 73°F to 40,000 feet at -22°F per MIL-STD-810G, Method 500.5, Procedure I, II & III
Solar Exposure Survives prolonged UVB exposure, MIL-STD- 810G, Method 505.5, Procedure II
Chemical Exposure Resistant to mild alkaline and acid cleaning solutions, fuel hydrocarbons, alcohols and common vehicle and factory machine lubricants
Certifications FCC, CE, R&TTE, IC (Canada), A-tick, C-tick, GCF compliant, RoHS compliant, Section 508 compliant, PTCRB, SAR, AT&T network compatible, Wi-Fi Alliance certified, CCX, USB 2.0 Full Speed, MIL-STD-810G, IP65/IP68, MIL-STD-461E.
Size (WxHxD) 3.2 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches (82 x 155 x 25 mm)
Weight 13.9 ounces as tested
Power Internal 11.1 Volt 2,500mAH Li-Ion, 27.8 watt-hours
Sensors Accelerometer, eCompass, ambient light
Interface 3.75mm audio jack, MCX GPS antenna port; custom port that supports USB 2.0 Host, USB Client, 9-pin serial and power
GPS 2-4 meter accurcy or optional 1-2 meter real-time accuracy with no post processing or subscription fees; MCX port for optional external antenna
Wireless Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, 3.75G (UMTS / HSPA+, GSM / GPRS/ EDGE, UMTS Bands (WCDMA/FDD): 800, 850, 1900, AWS and 2100 MHz GSM Bands: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
List price inquire
Web Juno T41 family page
Brochure Juno T41 brochure (PDF)
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