DT Research DT362 |
Lightweight mobile information appliance
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
DT Research, Inc., with headquarters in San Jose, California, develops and manufactures information appliances including tablet devices and digital signage solutions for vertical markets. For years, DT Research was clearly ahead of the times with its "web appliance" tablets. Today, tablets like the DT Research DT362 and the slightly larger DT312 and DT390 siblings are being used as light and handy solutions for many mobile computing applications.
What separated initial "information appliance" products like earlier WebDT models from more traditional Tablet PCs was that they used less powerful but more energy-efficient x86-compatible processor families from AMD, VIA and Intel. Eventually, the market followed suit with Intel Atom-powered netbooks, showing that compact size, light weight and targeted performance definitely had their place.
The DT362, a tech update to the WebDT360, is based on the 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 and supports Windows 7, Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP for Embedded Systems, and also Linux (earlier versions also supported Windows CE). Depending on the OS, the WebDT 312 uses Flash or a solid state disk. DT Research offers the WebDT Device Manager, a comprehensive software management tool to remotely manage networked WebDT appliances.
The DT362 is smaller and lighter than it looks. Its tough ABS + PC plastic housing has a footprint of 9.6 x 7.9 inches and is just 0.8 inches thick (the protective rubber bumpers add some thickness). Weight is just under two pounds. The 8.4-inch SVGA (800 x 600 pixel) display has a resistive touch screen and can be ordered in a outdoor-viewable version. Standard connectivity includes USB, LAN, microphone and headset jack, video-out, and onboard Bluetooth and WiFi.
Options such as a magnetic stripe card reader, a 3-megapixel camera, and 1D and 2D barcode scanners allow configuration for a wide variety of uses in many fields including inventory and warehousing, education, manufacturing, healthcare, finance, retail, control and monitoring, and hospitality. It can either be carried arround, used in a variety of cradles, or mounted via standard VESA mounts in vehicles, on arms, carts, walls or just about anywhere else.
How do the tablets in DT Research's current tablet lineup differ? They mostly use the same or very similar electronics, but display sizes (7 to 10.4 inches), aspect ratios (standard 4:3 or wide), and resolutions (800 x 480 to 1024 x 768) vary. Most are in the 2-3 pound range, All offer good protection via large rubber bumpers, but ruggedness specs vary, as does the availability of options such as RFID, mobile broadband, cameras, etc. For good overview of the DT Research lineup, see the DT Research tablet summary, their very informative page on optional features and technologies, and their handy comparison feature.