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Rugged tablets used by motorcycle riders in Taiwan

With fewer highway access restrictions, heavy motorcycles boom in Taiwan, and some use RUGGEDBOOK SR820 tablets as GPS and information centers

When I visited Taiwan a few years ago to meet with manufacturers of tablet PCs and handheld computers, I was surprised by the vast number of motor scooters and small motorcycles in Taipei. They are everywhere and dominate traffic. In fact, about one in every two Taiwanese owns a scooter or motorcycle, and traffic is very scooter friendly with special scooter lanes, etc. What surprised me, though, was that there were almost no larger bikes. Everything seemed to be 150cc or less.

The reason for the dearth of big bikes lies in rules and regulations. Back in 1979 at the height of the second oil crisis, in an effort to conserve fuel, Taiwan essentially outlawed bikes over 150cc, and it stayed that way until 2002. Unfortunately for aficionados of larger bikes, even when the heavyweights became available again they were subject to the same laws as scooters and small bikes, which meant, among other restrictions, no access to highways or tunnels.

The laws gradually changed, with 250cc and larger bikes allowed on a few "test" expressways in 2005, and 550cc+ bikes allowed on city fast lanes and on expressway (but still not highways) in 2007. Apparently, things went well enough that the laws pertaining to larger bikes were further relaxed and it's now possible for bikers to explore and enjoy much of the island nation's beauty, though paying close attention to route markers that signify the allowed types of vehicles remains advised.

Still, it's a new era for riders of heavy motorcycles, and after many years of virtually missing from traffic, big bikes are rapidly gaining in popularity, with riders rediscovering not only highways but also mountain roads with all their tunnesl, twists and turns. In a nation as gadget-obsessed as Taiwan, it's therefore no surprise that big bike riders have begun equipping their machines with tablet computers for GPS navigation, weather forecasts, traffic reports, and more.

The picture above shows a Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR820 mounted on a Honda. In fact, Samwell officials report that RUGGEDBOOK SR820 tablets were used by an entire team of about 20 Honda riders. It's easy to see why the SR820 should be popular with an emerging crowd of computer-integrated motorcycle riders: with a 8.9-inch daylight-readable display, the SR820 is large enough to show a wealth of information (including large GPS maps), but not too large to be mounted on a bike. IP65 sealing means the unit is largely immune to rain and weather, and the device has passed numerous environmental tests, including shock and vibration.

The Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR820 provides netbook size and convenience in a rugged tablet form factor. Measuring just 10.1 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches and weighing under three pounds, the SR820 is smaller and lighter than full-size rugged tablets without requiring many compromises. Its 8.9-inch touch screen with 1024 x 600 resolution (1024 x 768 interpolated) is large enough to be useful wherever a computer is needed, even on a bike. There is good wired connectivity on board, all the connectors are standard size, and there is a wealth of wireless functionality (including available GPS and 3.5G radio) and also an integrated camera and optional laser scanner.

Relevant Information:

MOTC (Ministry of Transportation and Communications R.O.C. webspage
Taiwan Review: Big Motorcycles Diaries
Samwell Group RUGGEDBOOK SR820 page

To learn more about the ruggedized Samwell SR820 tablet computer and its many applications, email the folks at RUGGEDBOOK at And check's full analysis of the SR820.

RUGGEDBOOK Headquarters
Samwell Building
317-1, Sec. 2,
AnKang Rd., Xindian Dist.
New Taipei City 23153, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Telephone: 886-2-2214-1133
Fax: 886-2-2215-5458