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

March 2009

GETAC adds Computrace support to firmware of its rugged computers
Getac Inc. announced support for Absolute Softwareís patented Computrace technology in the firmware of its A790 and V100 models and will also include these updates to its B300, E100, M230 & P470 over the next few months. Once the roll-out is complete, Getacís full line of rugged laptop and tablet computers will be able to self-heal and survive hard drive reformats and replacement as well as access the complete range of Absoluteís anti-theft and management solutions. -- Posted Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fujitsu consolidates major North American businesses
A new entity called Fujitsu America begins operations April 1, 2009, led by President and CEO Farhat Ali. The new business unit of Fujitsu Limited consolidates the application services of Fujitsu Consulting, the system platforms of Fujitsu Computer Systems Corporation (which includes Tablet PCs), and the retailing solutions of Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc. under a unified corporate structure designed to expand offerings and provide North American clients a single resource for all their computing technology and IT services needs. [see press release] -- Posted Monday, March 30, 2009

Parvus offers handsfree computing with the Zypad WR11XX
Wearable computers have been available for a while, but perhaps none as practical and useful as the rugged Parvus Zypad WR11XX. The device runs Linux on a PXA270 processor, has a large 3.5-inch sunlight-viewable touchscreen with full 640 x 480 VGA resolution, and has a flexible expansion system that can add GPS and GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS to onboard Bluetooth and WiFi. There's also fingerprint scanning, an accelerometer, and an optional electronic compass function. [See description and specs of the Parvus Zypad WR11XX -- Posted Monday, March 30, 2009

Otterbox expands into new building
OtterBox, makers of rugged and protective cases for handheld and mobile technology, is bucking downscaling trends by moving its growing staff of over 70 employees and three warehouses five miles down the road from its current Old Town office in Fort Collins, Colorado. Congrats, Otterbox gang, and keep those rugged, waterproof cases coming! [See our review of the Otterbox 7000 Series rugged notebook case for an example of their stuff] -- Posted Monday, March 30, 2009

Datalogic Mobile partners with Summit for enterprise-class WiFi
Datalogic Mobile announced a strategic alliance with Summit Data Communications, a provider of wireless LAN radio modules and cards for business-critical mobile devices. Summit's embedded WiFi solutions ensure secure and reliable wireless network connections, even in the most challenging environments. Datalogic handhelds will support WPA2-Enterprise with a broad range of options, including all the popular authentication types and even support for the most secure networks, including those that are compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Summit embedded WiFi solutions also support Cisco Compatible Extensions, or CCX, and have been certified for CCX Version 4, the highest level of compatibility supported on mobile computers. -- Posted Monday, March 30, 2009

Winmate features full Intel Atom-based product line
Winmate Communications, Inc., a Taiwanese manufacturer of industrial displays and related display and computing technologies, now features a full line of Intel Atom-based systems. The line includes Atom-based Single Board Computers, point-of-sales systems, industrial box PCs, rugged and industrial Panel PCs, vehicle mounts, as well as rugged tablets (including the Winmate IA80 we recently tested at -- Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009

Now available: case study on Dive Support Computing
The case study on using a GD-Itronix MR-1 rugged UMPC as a dive support computer is now available for download and viewing as a PDF. The study was prepared during a trip to the Honduran island of Roatan to test a variety of rugged and underwater equipment and survey the status of coral bleaching that has been witnessed in the massive reefs off Central America. [View Case Study: Dive Support Computing] -- Posted Friday, March 27, 2009

New Tablet PC software to calculate and report oil slicks
The Oil Spill Training Company Ltd. ) has released a new software package enabling personnel to calculate rapidly the volume of floating oil slicks. This means immediate results can be obtained at the site of an oil spill incident, using a Tablet PC during initial surveillance. More detailed reports can be generated in various file formats and customised using a full range of markers, standard terms and symbols. -- Posted Thursday, March 26, 2009

Datalogic Mobile announces overnight service program and 5 year service terms
Datalogic Mobile enhanced its Maintenance Contract Programs with a new overnight comprehensive service program that provides almost instant response to field replacement requests. 5-year contract terms are offered in addition to the 3-year contract at the time of product sales. -- Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Twinhead/Gammatech also announce a Mobile Clinical Assistant
GammaTech Computer joined the growing number of companies offering medical slates based on Intel's mobile clinical assistant reference architecture. The GammaTech Durabook RT10 MCA, a Twinhead design, follows Intel's original proof of concept platform with its tablet form factor and integrated multi-purpose handle for easy carrying and use during a clinical environment work shift. See how the RT10 measures up. [Read description and specs of the GammaTech Durabook RT10 MCA] -- Posted Monday, March 23, 2009

Rugged Intel Atom-power industrial cube by VarTech
VarTech Systems introduced the Intel Atom N270-powered SuperCube small form factor industrial PC for a variety of mobile, embedded control, digital signage, interactive kiosk, thin client, and other human-machine interface applications. The fanless design has six USB and five serial ports. [Read description and specs of the VarTech SuperCube rugged small form factor computer] -- Posted Monday, March 23, 2009

Handheld U.S. Kenaz GPS for Recon rugged PDA
Anyone who bought their Recon handheld not only for its features and performance, but also for its exceptional ruggedness (4-foot drop spec, IP67 sealing), and who needs to retain this ruggedness even after adding a high-sensitivity GPS receiver should take a look at the rugged Kenaz offerd by Handheld U.S. [See detailed description and specs of the Handheld U.S. Kenaz GPS receiver ] -- Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GD-Itronix releases fully rugged GD8000
General Dynamics Itronix released the successor to its fully rugged XR-1. The new GD8000 was designed for maximum reliability under even the most extreme operating conditions and state-of-the-art electronics with increased emphasis on long battery life in the field. The machine sports IP64 sealing and can handle a 42-inch drop while operating. The larger 13.3-inch touch display uses the superb DynaVue outdoor viewable screen technology. Powered by a very efficient 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400, the GD8000 runs up to eight hours on a charge. [Read description and specs of the General Dynamics Itronix GD8000 -- Posted Monday, March 16, 2009

Motion Computing introduces new J3400 Tablet PC
Motion Computing released the Motion J3400, a powerful, versatile semi-rugged Tablet PC with a superb and fully outdoor-viewable 12.1-inch wide-format display. Both performance and battery life are significantly improved over the prior generation platform. The J3400 can automatically geo-tag images with its integrated camera and GPS, use worldwide wireless services via GOBI Mobile Broadband, and is rugged enough to survive true point of service usage. [Read full review and specs of the Motion Computing J3400 Tablet PC] -- Posted Monday, March 16, 2009

The Electronic Health Records challenge
While the Economic Stimulus package mandates the introduction of electronic health records for all Americans by 2014 and thus provides a potential boon for providers of clinical and medical computer systems, there are a number of inherent problems in implementing those systems. InfoWorld published an excellent article on those challenges [read]. -- Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009

GPS Driving Activity Reporter
While initially marketed as a device to spy on driving teenagers, Hammacher Schlemmer's water- and heat-resistant US$229 Driving Activity Reporter automatically records up to 100 hours of GPS driving activity. Included software lets you view time, date, speed, and precise locations visited, using animated digital street maps or Google Earth. We can see many applications for such a device. [See GPS Driving Activity Reporter] -- Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dell reveals rugged Latitude E6400 XFR
Almost exactly a year after Dell introduced the Latitude XFR D630, the company unveiled the Latitude E6400 XFR. This Latitude E-Series-based new machine represents another step in Dell's efforts to make an entry in the increasingly competitive and important rugged notebook market. The E6400 XFR, which starts at US$4,299, sports impressive IP65 sealing. [See description and specs of the Dell Latitude E6400 XFR] -- Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009

Full review: Panasonic H1 Mobile Clinical Assistant
The Toughbook CF-H1 is Panasonic's entry into the potentially very lucrative medical patient record market. The cleanly designed and executed Atom-powered tablet benefits from Panasonic's expertise in rugged and semi-rugged mobile computing equipment, has excellent battery life, a sunlight-viewable display with dual digitizers, and a wealth of data capture features (RFID, barcode, camera). [Read full review of the Panasonic Toughbook H1 Mobile Clinical Assistant] -- Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Motorola adds mid-range enterprise digital assistants
Bridging the gap between consumer PDAs and industrial devices, Motorola's new MC55 "Enterprise Digital Assistant" combines PDA, phone, walkie-talkie, data communication, GPS, and scanning all into one handy 12-ounce device. The MC55 comes in an "indoor" version with a keypad, and a GPS and WWAN-equipped "outdoor" version with a QWERTY thumbtype keyboard. Both are based on Windows Mobile, have a 2-megapixel camera, a large 3.5-inch display and can survive 4-foot drops. Choose between 1D laser scanner or 2D imager. [Read description and specs of the Motorola MC55 EDA] -- Posted Monday, March 9, 2009

TabletKiosk enters Medical Clinical Assistant market
TabletKiosk joined the growing number of companies offering medical slates based on Intel's mobile clinical assistant reference architecture with the Core 2 Solo-powered MediSlate MCA i1040XT. Integrated RFID reader, barcode scanner, camera and a 10.4-inch touch screen facilitate data capture. Described as semi-rugged, the i1040XT has IP54 sealing and a 4-foot drop spec. [Read description and specs of the TabletKiosk MediSlate MCA i1040XT] -- Posted Saturday, March 7, 2009

Embedded mobile software market expected to expand
The market for commercial embedded mobile software exceeded $1.3 billion in 2008 and is expected to reach almost $2 billion by 2013, according to a market study recently released by market intelligence firm VDC Research. Mobile software is no longer discrete applets to make phone calls and manage PIM applications but a strategic platform to enable a broader set of richer applications. -- Posted Friday, March 6, 2009

General Micro Raider: most power per cubic inch
General Micro Systems, a designer and manufacturer of embedded computing products for defense, aerospace and compute-intensive applications, introduced the S705 "Raider," a rugged Core 2 Duo-based system that measures just 4.6 x 4.6 x 1.6 inches and weighs only 2 lbs. in single drive configuration. Built to MIL-STD-810F specs and able to handle temperature extremes between -40 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit, the Raider supports up to six wireless radios, up to five different expansion buses, a range of I/O, and numerous video/audio options including DVI/LVDS. -- Posted Friday, March 6, 2009

Datamax and O'Neil now one company
Datamax and OíNeil are now Datamax-OíNeil, a global provider of industry-leading label and receipt printing solutions. The unified company will leverage the resources of Dover Corporationís Product Identification Group (PIDG), a $1 billion global entity. According to a press release, points of contact, service, warranties, and VAR agreements will remain the same. [Read Datamax-O'Neil press release] -- Posted Friday, March 6, 2009

Moving towards integrated graphics
According to the "The Future of Integrated Graphics" report by Jon Peddie Research, integrated graphics processor chips (IGPs) will soon be a thing of the past in notebooks, netbooks and various embedded systems such as POS and signage systems. They'll be replaced by graphics systems embedded in the processor. The first embedded graphics processor will be Intel's Westmere in Q4 2009, and AMD will introduce their Fusion processor in Q2 2011. Both companies will employ 32nm process. -- Posted Friday, March 6, 2009

GETAC releases powerful hi-res rugged GPS PDA
Getac announced the latest addition to its comprehensive line of rugged mobile computing solutions. The GETAC PS535F handheld computer is the company's next generation, fully rugged GPS-enabled PDA with a 3-megapixel camera, e-compass, VGA display and altimeter. The PS535F is a significant technology and upgrade to the PS535E model that has been on duty at the offices for a few months. [See description and specs of the GETAC PS535F rugged GPS PDA] -- Posted Sunday, March 1, 2009

Review: Atom-powered Winmate IA80 rugged Tablet PC
Intel's ultra low power Atom processors continue to gather momentum, and we're starting to see them in rugged mobile computers. One example is Winmate's line of IA80 rugged tablet computers, available in versions with 8.4, 10.4 and 12.1-inch displays. The IA80 is based on the same Atom N270 processor used in millions of netbooks. It's a tough, no-nonsense tool for demanding jobs. [Read full review of the Atom-powered Winmate IA80 rugged Tablet PC] -- Posted Sunday, March 1, 2009

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    The editor and co-founder of Pen Computing Magazine launched late 2005 as a website dedicated to providing news and information about rugged mobile computer technology and its applications. The site aims to be an industry clearinghouse for rugged computing equipment hardware reviews as well as an information source on rugged computing terminology, definitions, testing, and enabling technologies.

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