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Rugged PC Review Monthly News Archive [ Back to news index]

November 2012

Surface with Windows 8 Pro pricing contemplations -- an opportunity for traditional vendors of rugged tablets?
On November 29, 2012, Microsoft revealed, on its Official Microsoft Blog (see here), pricing for its Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablets. The 64GB version will cost US$899 and the 128GB version runs US$999. That includes a pen but neither the touch or the type cover. They cost extra. [Read more...] -- Posted Friday, November 30, 2012

Avalue introduces expandable & modularized rugged system
Global embedded solution provider Avalue Technology unveiled the new fanless EMS-CDV Expandable & Modularized Rugged System aimed at factory automation, control systems and industrial transportation applications. Based on the dual-core Intel Atom D2550 and offering rich I/O both onboard and via expansion modules, the 4.4 lbs. EMS-CDV provides superior customizability and quick time to market. [See Avalue EMS-CDV page] -- Posted Thursday, November 29, 2012

Windows 8 off to slow start
According the the NPD Group's Weekly Tracking Service, the consumer Windows PC and tablet market didn't get the boost it needed from the launch of Windows 8 in the U.S. Since the Windows 8 launch on October 26, Windows device sales have fallen 21% compared to the same period last year. Windows 8 tablet sales have been almost non-existent, with unit sales representing less than 1% of all Windows 8 device sales to date. That's quite disconcerting given that Windows 8 was designed to be touch and tablet-centric. NPD noted, however, "The strong performance of Windows 8 notebooks with touchscreens, where Windows 8 truly shines, offers some reason for optimism. These products accounted for 6% of Windows 8 notebook sales at an average price of US$867 helping to re-establish a premium segment to the Windows consumer notebook market." [See NPD press release] -- Posted Thursday, November 29, 2012

Intermec survey: new technology could save thousands of hours lost each year due to inefficient warehouse processes
A survey commissioned by Intermec of 250 supply chain, warehouse and distribution managers showed that over the past six months, eight out of ten warehouse managers have been tasked with finding an average 19% cost saving from existing operations. Results showed that inefficient processes and workflows can cost even small businesses thousands of hours per year. Nearly 90% of the surveyed managers believe investment in new technology will reduce time lost and increase productivity. [See Intermec press release -- Posted Thursday, November 29, 2012

Amplicon introduces 4-lbs. rugged embedded Atom N2800-powered PC that can run off solar panels
Amplicon introduced the Impact-E 100 industrial embedded PC. The Intel Atom N2800 powered rugged little box weighs only about 4 lbs., uses under 10 watts, supports dual displays and full HD 1080p video playback and is ideal for installations where space and power are at a premium. The rugged Impact-E 100 can be powered by either battery or solar panel, making it ideal for remote installations where grid power is not an option. [See Amplicon Impact-E 100] -- Posted Thursday, November 29, 2012

MobileDemand announces partnership with OCR Canada Ltd.
MobileDemand, a provider of rugged tablet PCs for the transportation, military, public sector, manufacturing and various other industries, announced a reseller partnership agreement with integrated mobile data solutions provider OCR Canada Ltd.,. -- Posted Thursday, November 29, 2012

Getac unveils significantly upgraded version of its semi-rugged S400 notebook computer
Getac announced a major tech upgrade to its semi-rugged S400 notebook. The new version is available with Intel 3rd generation i3 and i5 Core processors, optional AMD discrete graphics, a more powerful battery, a brighter sunlight-viewable display, more memory, larger rotating or solid-state disks, Gobi 3000 or 4G LTE, as well as improved ruggedness specs. [See description and specs of the updated Getac S400] -- Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Using rugged tablet PCs for aerial laser scanning
Laser scanning, usually referred to as LIDAR (Light, Imaging, Detection And Ranging) works like radar or sonar, but uses pulsed laser light instead of microwaves or sound. If used in aerial applications, weight and ruggedness are issues in onboard computing equipment. Here's how a Japanese company used Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR820 tablet computers for the job. [See Rugged tablets in aerial laser scanner surveying] -- Posted Monday, November 26, 2012

Windows RT: how suitable is it for vertical markets? (Part II)
I had planned a quick follow-up on my first impressions of the Microsoft Surface RT tablet and Windows RT in general (see Part I). But now it's almost a month later, so why the hesitation? It's not because of Microsoft's hardware. I am as impressed with the Surface RT tablet as I was when I first took it out of its box. [... read more] -- Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2012

LG Electronics, City24/7 demonstrate digital signage project in New York
LG Electronics announced that more than 250 high-brightness 32-inch touch-screen digital IPS signage displays are at the heart of a program that's bringing interactive kiosks to Manhattan and the outer boroughs over the next several months. Users will see geo-targeted content, including real-time information, local events, restaurant and entertainment (with reservation and ticketing options), shopping and transport information. New York-based start-up City24/7 developed the pilot program with the City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. -- Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Atmel's maXTouch controllers used in many Windows 8 devices
Atmel announced that its maXTouch controllers have now been designed into more than 30 Windows 8 touch-enabled devices ranging from tablets to Ultrabooks and notebook PCs. The Atmel maXTouch technology uses a patented charge transfer technology that works well with fingertip touch as well as a conductive stylus. Add Atmel's maXFusion sensor hub technology to integrate input from accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers to make Windows 8-style apps come to life! [See Atmel press release] -- Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And Winmate also offers an Android version
Following the recent trend of offering hardware platforms with a choice of operating systems, Winmate Communication is offering their new rugged 7-inch tablet with Android 4.0 as well. The Winmate M700DT4 has the same 7-inch 1024 x 600 pixel wide-format screen with capacitive multi-touch as the Windows version, but uses a 1GHz TI OMAP 4430, only weighs 1.45 pounds and includes all the sensors and communication needed for the full Android experience. It, too, has IP65 sealing, a 4-foot drop spec, and a very wide operating temperature range. [See description and specs of the Winmate M700DT4] -- Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New: Winmate M700D highly configurable rugged Windows tablet
Taiwanese Winmate Communication is fleshing out its roster of rugged handhelds and tablets with the new Winmate M700D. It's a rugged Windows tablet with a 7-inch 1024 x 600 pixel wide-format screen with capacitive multi-touch. Powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N2600, the 1.7-pound tablet can accommodate SSDs up to 128GB, has IP65 sealing, a 4-foot drop spec, and can be configured for a wide range of applications and deployments. [See description and specs of the Winmate M700D] -- Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012

BT Openreach to deploy 5,900 Panasonic Toughbook C1 convertible notebook computers with Windows 8
Panasonic UK announced that Openreach, part of the BT Group, is deploying 5,900 Toughbook rugged convertible tablet computers with Windows 8 to improve engineer productivity in the field. The deployment period runs from September to December 2012, and the Toughbook CF-C1 computers will be used by engineers for commissioning and testing broadband services in the field and at customer premises. (We wonder why they picked the C1 and not the new C2 (see our analysis) that Panasonic is specifically advertising with Windows 8.) [See Panasonic UK press release] -- Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012

RAM GoPro mounts extend the usefulness of Hero cameras into the most rugged applications
Small, inexpensive GoPro cameras are being used to record high definition video everywhere these days. They are also a natural for field recording and documentation in rugged applications. But the stock GoPro mounts aren't always tough enough. That's where RAM Mounts' new GoPro camera adapters come in, opening access to RAM's entire lineup of rugged mounting hardware to GoPro vidcams. [see description of RAM GoPro mounts] -- Posted Sunday, November 18, 2012

Xplore posts 4th consecutive profitable quarter
Xplore Technologies reported Q2 financials for its fiscal hear 2013. Revenue was US$7,473,000 compared to US$5,100,000 for Q2 the prior year, an increase of approximately 47%. Xplore reported net income of US$277,000 compared to a net loss of US$669,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2011, making it the company's fourth consecutive profitable quarter. -- Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rightware introduces Browsermark 2.0
Rightware introduced Browsermark 2.0 Ė a free to use benchmark designed from the ground up to measure and compare the performance of any browser on any internet enabled device including desktops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones and more. In addition to measuring general browsing functionality tests like page loading, page resizing and conformance testing for HTML5 and network speed, Browsermark 2.0 also features 4 new areas of testing: WebGL, Canvas, HTML5, and CSS3/3D. To run BrowserMark 2.0, click here (we tried it on several of our rugged devices). -- Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ferguson uses Psion EP10 and Psion Managed Services
Psion, now part of Motorola Solutions, announced that Ferguson, the largest wholesale distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies in the U.S., is using Psionís end-to-end Managed Services solution to fully optimize its logistics processes on Psion EP10 devices. The combination of Psionís Managed Services and the EP10 will help Ferguson streamline the management of its delivery fleet. The Psion EP10 is the first rugged mobile device to be used by Fergusonís delivery drivers nationwide. [see press release

-- Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Added: Panasonic Toughbook C2, optimized for Windows 8
Panasonic added the Toughbook C2 to its lineup. It's a semi-rugged 4-pound convertible notebook with a speedy Intel 3rd gen i5 chip, a bright 12.5-inch wide-format display with capacitive touch and an active pen, and up to 15 hours of battery life. It's also Panasonic's first Toughbook model specifically optimized for Windows 8. [See description, analysis and specs of the Panasonic Toughbook C2] -- Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TabletKiosk offers free memory and SSD upgrades on select business Tablet PCs
TabletKiosk announced that until the end of the year, customers who purchase select Sahara Slate PC i500 Tablet PCs with a capacitive touch screen will receive a free memory upgrade to 8GB RAM and a free upgrade to a Solid State Drive (SSD). [See press release] -- Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Full review: MobileDemand xTablet T1200
Need a high-performance, fully rugged tablet computer that can also run Windows 8? The MobileDemand xTablet 1200 fits the bill with a 10.4-inch 1000 nits AFFS+ resistive multi-touch display, Intel third gen Core-i5 power, very long battery life, and extensive onboard connectivity ranging from legacy RS232 to USB 3.0 to 3G and 4G LTE WWAN. [Read our full review of the MobileDemand xTablet T1200] -- Posted Monday, November 12, 2012

Getac introduces PS336 rugged handheld computer with exchangeable end-caps
Getac USA introduced the Getac PS336 rugged handheld computer that can fill various functions via a variety of exchangeable "Flexiconn" end-caps. End-caps initially are available with RFID, long-range Bluetooth, laser scanner, and a 3-in-1 combo (HF RFID, Smart card, SAM), but with an open interface, third parties can create additional modules. The 1GHz TI Sitara-powered PS336 -- which runs Windows Embedded Handheld on a 3.5-inch VGA touch screen -- can handle 6-foot drops, extreme temperatures (-22 to 140F) and carries full IP68 sealing. [See description, analysis and specs of the Getac PS336] -- Posted Friday, November 9, 2012

Trimble releases a flurry of products
Trimble announced the following: A) the formation of Trimble Buildings, a new group within Trimble's Engineering and Construction segment that will assist the construction industry with evolving technology; B) version 3.0 of its SCS900 Site Controller Software for heavy civil construction job sites (see YouTube video); C) expanded coverage of its satellite-delivered RTX technology to most of the world; D) an addition to its Railway Solutions portfolio -- the Trimble GEDO Scan System for measuring and documenting clearance envelopes (see here); E) post-processing capability for the Trimble CenterPoint RTX positioning service (see here); F) the Terrain Navigator Pro app for iPhone and Android to collect and transmit data from the field to the office using a smartphone instead of a consumer GPS device; and finally G) the new Trimble Site Tablet (also known as the Trimble Yuma 2 (see our preview). -- Posted Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: DAP Technologies MT1010 rugged Windows tablet
DAP Technologies introduced the MT1010 rugged Windows tablet on October 30, 2012. analyzed a pre-production version of the 2.9-pound tablet which has a 10.1-inch wide-format 1280 x 800 pixel display with capacitive multi-touch, uses an Intel Atom N2600 processor, offers plenty of onboard I/O and data capture options, and is equipped with accelerometer, magnetometer, light sensor, and a vibration motor for advanced apps. For ruggedness, there's a wide operating temperature range (-4 to 122F), a 6-foot drop spec, and IP65 sealing. [See review of the DAP Technologies MT1010] -- Posted Monday, November 5, 2012

N-trig and partners working on metal mesh sensors for pen and multi-touch input
N-trig, provider of the DuoSense pen and multi-touch user interface, announced it is working with UniPixel Displays, Inc., Mutto Optronics Corporation and Fujifilm on a variety of metal mesh sensor configurations that will ultimately serve as alternatives to the Indium Tin Oxide (ITO)-based touch screens used in most mobile computing devices today. Mesh sensors reduce fabrication costs, enable curved system designs, have thinner configurations, improved touch response, and a stronger and more accurate pen signal. Why it's important: Windows 8 tablets require both touch and precise pen/stylus operation for legacy Windows software with its small check boxes, scrollers, etc. [See press release] -- Posted Friday, November 2, 2012

Intermec reports preliminary Q3 2012 financials
Intermec, in a preliminary statement, reported Q3 2012 sales of US$193 million and adjusted net earnings of US$10.4 million, compared to sales of US$212 million and net earnings of US$704k the same quarter last year. North America revenues decreased 3% compared to Q3 2011, while Latin America revenue rose 16%. Europe, Middle East and Africa revenues declined 22% and Asia Pacific declined 31%. Intermec reported that their 70 series rugged mobile computer enjoyed a record quarter with multiple large wins in the Direct Store Delivery, Rugged Delivery and Transportation and Logistics Deployment Environments. [See Internet press release] -- Posted Friday, November 2, 2012

Microsoft sued over live tiles
And.... Microsoft is already being sued for the use of live tiles in Windows 8. Portland-based SurfCast claims they infringe on one of its patents. In part, the abstract of the patent in question says, "the present invention comprises a graphical user interface which organizes content from a variety of information sources into a grid of tiles, each of which can refresh its content independently of the others." That should keep a good number of lawyers busy for a while. [See Surfcast patent] -- Posted Thursday, November 1, 2012

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