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

March 2011

Advantech launches rugged in-vehicle solutions campaign
Advantech launched an email and web campaign explaining and demonstrating its rugged industrial-grade ARK and TREK Series of in-vehicle computers. The campaign presents an excellent overview of what's available for applications such as fleet management, in-car video surveillance, in-vehicle systems solutions. It also provides all the links to Advantech's numerous vehicle-mounts, vehicle IPC computers, surveillance computers, as well as rugged tablets. [See Advantech rugged In-Vehicle Solutions campaign] -- Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Media Tablets 2011 table: updated
It took a year for the industry to come up with serious competitors to Apple's iPad, but now customers increasingly have vendor/platform/features options when it comes to selecting media tablets. We've compiled a spec table of the major media tablets, 22 in all, and will keep adding to the list, so check back frequently. [View updated 2011 Media Tablet Spec Table] -- Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Juniper Mesa Rugged Notepad named NASA Tech Briefs Product of the Month
Juniper Systems' Mesa Rugged Notepad was named the NASA Tech Briefs Product of the Month for March 2011, which qualifies it as a finalist for the 2011 NASA Tech Briefs Product of the Year Award. The monthly publication reports on best new technologies with "down to Earth" commercial applications, and new products are selected every month based on exceptional technical merit and practical value -- Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Psion trade-in program
Received: an email blast from Psion offering mobile computing users to turn in their obsolete and end-of-service-life handheld terminals (regardless of make) for a $250 credit each towards new Psion Omnii XT 10 handhelds. [See Psion trade-in offer] -- Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What is the current status of active digitizer technologies?
What is the current state of active digitizer technology? And should one choose one tablet computer over another because of the maker or version of its digitizer? Technology editor Geoff Walker presents an overview over current technologies and what to look out for. [See What is the current status of active digitizer technologies?] -- Posted Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: ACC Systems AT870: scanning and RFID for less?
Field data collection requires handheld devices that can quickly, reliably and accurately capture barcodes, RFID tags, signatures, images, and manual data entry and also provide two-way voice and data communication. Such devices must be rugged, too, and they are not inexpensive. A.C.C. Systems of Bohemia, NY, claims their AT870 RFID handheld can do all that, and do it for less. We took a detailed look at the device and found much to like. [See full review of ACC Systems AT870 rugged RFID handheld] -- Posted Monday, March 28, 2011

Cardinal Mobile announces Trimble certified handheld repair services
Cardinal Mobile, a Lewisville, TX based distributor of rugged mobile handheld devices, announced Trimble Handheld Repair Certification in the Preferred Service Provider Program. -- Posted Saturday, March 26, 2011

Getac renews agreement with Tough Corp.
Getac announced it has renewed its distribution agreement with Tough Corp, a specialist supplier of rugged mobile solution for outdoor applications in Australia and New Zealand. Under the terms of the agreement, Tough Corp will continue to market, sell and provide service of Getac’s entire product lines, including rugged notebooks, rugged tablets, rugged handhelds, and rugged smartphones as part of their solutions offerings throughout Australia and New Zealand. -- Posted Friday, March 25, 2011

Motion webinar: Motion J3500 Rugged Tablet PC Overview
Motion Computing will hold a free webinar entitled "The Motion J3500 Rugged Tablet PC Overview" on Tuesday, March 29 at 1:00pm CDT. Those who attend the webinar will not only learn all the details on the Intel Core i7/i5 powered J3500, but they can also receive $500 off the purchase of a new Motion J3500 tablet. [Click here to register] -- Posted Friday, March 25, 2011

STMicroelectronics launches tiny gyroscope sensor module
STMicroelectronics has extended its motion-sensor portfolio with the market's smallest 3-axis analog-output gyroscope. Housed inside an ultra-small 4x4x1mm package, the tiny gyroscope allows the kind of high-precision gesture control and intuitive user interfaces smartphone and tablet users are increasingly expecting. Quantity price of the module is just US$3.50. [See ST's Motion Sensors page] -- Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011

Microsoft releases Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011
Microsoft has release of Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011 that extends the capabilities of System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to include Windows Embedded Standard and Windows Embedded POSReady-based devices. [See Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011] -- Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011

DAP launches next-gen Atom-based rugged dual-OS tablet
DAP Technologies added the M9000 line to its growing lineup of rugged handhelds, vehicle-mounts and tablets. The M9010 tablet is a significant tech update to the M8910, using an Intel E660T Atom processor to run either Windows CE 6.0 or Windows Embedded Standard 7. There's a bright 7-inch touch-display, support for the emerging ZigBee wireless standard, CAN bus, expandable I/O, and enough battery power for full shift operation. [See description and specs of the DAP M9010] -- Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011

LXE introduces rugged Thor vehicle-mount computer
The LXE Thor is a compact Intel Atom-powered vehicle-mount computer with an 8-inch touch display as well as a QWERTY keyboard and function keys. Depending on the intended application, the Thor can be operated with either Windows Embedded Standard or with Windows CE 6.0. The devices carries IP66 sealing, a very wide operating temperature range, and strategic parts are field-replaceable. The Thor offers extensive communications capabilities, including optional Gobi 2000. [See description and specs of the LXE Thor vehicle-mount computer] -- Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eurotech releases lighter, more powerful wearable
Eurotech has released the WL1500 wearable computer as a lighter, more versatile and more powerful follow-up to their original WL1100. The new model runs Windows CE 6.0 on a Marvell PXA320 processor, has a numeric keypad, an optional integrated 1D/2D barcode scanner, and extensive communications capabilities. The QVGA display measures 3.5 inches diagonally, and the device has a microSD port as well as USB host/client ports. [See description and specs of the Eurotech Zypad WL1500] -- Posted Monday, March 21, 2011

U.S. Army to test GD-Itronix GD300 wearable PCs with battle command network
Israel-based Defense Update published an article on the Android-based GD-Itronix GD300 handheld/wearable computer, stating that General Dynamics expects to deliver 40 prototype handheld devices to the US Army for evaluation. [See U.S. Army to test wearable PCs with battle command network] -- Posted Monday, March 21, 2011

ThinkPad convertible gets yet another upgrade
You gotta hand it to Lenovo: they are doing their darndest to make the most of the IBM PC business they took over a few years ago. Their latest ThinkPads look every bit as impressive as they did under Big Blue, and they are keeping things up-to-date. The ThinkPad X220 tablet is a follow-up on the X200/X201, but with new "Sandy Bridge" processors, a wider display (1366 x 768 pixel), dual input (multi-touch and active pen), and very impressive battery life. [See description and specs of the Lenovo ThinkPad X220] -- Posted Monday, March 21, 2011

Full review: Panasonic U1 Ultra rugged UMPC
The latest version of the Panasonic Toughbook U1, the U1 Ultra, is a very small and compact Intel Atom-powered Windows 7 computer with a 5.6-inch 1024 x 600 pixel touch screen. It's an ergonomic, fanless design that's easy to use, easy to hold, and easy to carry with a weight of just 2.5 pounds as tested, and hot-swappable dual batteries that combine for up to nine hours of uninterrupted operation. Because it is so unique, the Toughbook U1 requires a bit of learning, adapting, and some sacrifices. If that's not an issue, the IP65-sealed Toughbook U1 provides full Windows 7 computing power in places where handhelds will not do and notebooks just can't go. [See full review of the Panasonic Toughbook U1 Ultra] -- Posted Friday, March 18, 2011

Jenoptik uses Getac E100 in traffic surveillance
Seen in action: Major German optoelectronics group Jenoptik AG is using the Getac E100 fully rugged tablet in conjunction with one of its traffic safety/traffic surveillance systems. The IP65-sealed, magnesium-bodied E100 is Getac's entry in the compact rugged tablet market. It features a 8.4-inch SVGA multi-touch display, keypad, 1.66GHz Atom N450 processor, and weighs just three pounds. -- Posted Thursday, March 17, 2011

Powerhouse COM-Express module: Advantech SOM-5890
The COM-Express standard defines small (95 x 125mm), replaceable computer modules used in numerous embedded systems applications. These boards enable massively scalable project performance. If cost and low power consumption matter, a developer may choose an Intel Atom-based COM-Express module. But leading embedded systems manufacturers now offer COM-Express boards with the latest second generation Intel Core i5/i7 processors. RuggedPCReview benchmarked the quad-core Intel Core i7-2715QE based Advantech SOM-5890 module and found 12X processor performance and 7X overall system performance compared to Atom-based boards. [See review of the Advantech SOM-5890 COM-Express module] -- Posted Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fujitsu's Tablet PC History
Fujitsu created a most informative history of their involvement in tablet computers. It shows all of the company's the tablet PC innovations and advancements (see here), and then presents individual pages for about three dozen Fujitsu tablet and notebook convertible computers going all the way back to the Poqet PC in 1989. [See Fujitsu Tablet PC History -- Posted Thursday, March 17, 2011

Intermec acquires Enterprise Mobile
Intermec announced the acquisition of Massacusetts-based Enterprise Mobile, a provider of lifecycle services for mobile devices (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Embedded/Phone) including device deployment, training, help desk, replacement and repair, refresh and recycling/end-of-life. Intermec expects the acquisition of Enterprise Mobile (which had partnered with both Intermec and Motorola) to help it become the leading provider of rugged mobile business solutions by extending its hardware, software and lifecycle services for enterprise mobile applications including the ability to extend these services to the non-rugged market. [See Intermec press release] -- Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2011

RUGGEDBOOK tablet strapped on snowmobiles!
It's always interesting to see where rugged mobile computing technology is deployed, and some applications seem to take the term "ruggedness" to new extremes. Who'd think of strapping a tablet computer to a snowmobile? In northern Russia no less? But that's where we got pictures of a Samwell SR820 tablet from. [See Rugged tablets in extreme environments] -- Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2011

isuppli: Quake to cause supply chain disruption
Research firm IHS iSuppli reported on the potential impact of the Japan disaster on global electronics production. Japan accounts for toughly 15% of global electronic equipment revenue, and over 20% of semiconductor revenue. iSuppli fears that the primary impact of of the quake/tsunami will not be damage to production facilities, but interruption to supply chains that rely on very precise raw material and component shipping and distribution. -- Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Battery cell prices may rise due to Japan quake
DigiTimes reports that Sony's two battery cell factories located in hard-hit Fukushima prefecture in northeastern Japan have stopped production in the wake of the earthquake. Taiwan-based notebook and component makers say this could lead to higher prices. -- Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getac releases rugged smartphone
Getac announced up a handy, GPS-enabled device that splits the difference between a smartphone and a rugged handheld computer. The new MH132, powered by Windows Mobile 6.5 and a Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset, has a 3.2-inch HVGA touch screen, A-GPS, a 3-megapixel camera, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, 3.5G mobile broadband, IP65 sealing, a wide operating temperature range, and a 5-foot drop spec. Initially sold in European markets, the MH132 starts at US$999 (€800, £699). [See full review and specs of the Getac MH132] -- Posted Monday, March 14, 2011

Amplicon launches new rugged Impact-E 70 series
Amplicon has released the latest generation of its industrial Impact-E rugged embedded computers, the Impact-E 72 and Impact-E 73. Both are powered by Intel Core i5 and i7 mobile processors and use Intel Integrated Remote Management (iAMT 6.0) for remote management across a network, such as system reset, power cycling and recovery. Among features are choice of storage and expansion (including eSATA), Watchdog timer, ignition control module and more). -- Posted Friday, March 11, 2011

Western Digital to buy Hitachi hard drive unit
Western Digital and Hitachi announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby WD will acquire Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi, in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately US$4.3 billion. The resulting company will retain the Western Digital name and remain headquartered in Irvine, California. [See WD press release] -- Posted Monday, March 7, 2011

Full review: Fujitsu Lifebook T580
Fujitsu has a long history of providing innovative convertible Tablet PCs in various sizes. With the Lifebook T580, the company offers a netbook-sized, but far more powerful and versatile, solution for road warriors, students, and anyone who wants a handy notebook that can double as a tablet. The 1366 x 768 pixel 10.1-inch wide-format display supports both touch and a pressure-sensitive pen, performance is very good, and the price reasonable. [Read full review of the Fujitsu Lifebook T580] -- Posted Monday, March 7, 2011

Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR820 deployed at Paris airport

60 of Samwell's RUGGEDBOOK SR820 tablets have been deployed at Paris airport through a project implemented by a Samwell partner/system integrator. The SR820 is a fanless, Intel Atom-powered 8.9-inch tablet offering IP65 sealing, a 4-foot drop spec, but still weighs less than three pounds. [See full SR820 review and product page]
-- Posted Monday, March 7, 2011

LXE 2010 sales up 29%
EMS Technologies reports that fourth quarter revenues from its LXE's rugged wireless computer business were a record $38.7 million, a 31% increase from $29.5 million in Q4 2009. LXE’s fourth quarter operating income was $2.5 million in 2010, compared with an operating loss of $0.4 million in 2009. For the full year 2010, LXE sales were US$141.2 million, up from US$109.4 million in 2009. [See EMS Q4/2010 financials] -- Posted Thursday, March 3, 2011

Psion profitable in 2010, revenue up
According to Reuters, Psion Plc had full-year 2010 sales of US$284 million (up 2.6% from 2009), with a full-year pretax profit of US$9.2 million. Psion expects to increase revenue growth in 2011 faster than costs, resulting in improved operating margins. [See Reuters articles) -- Posted Thursday, March 3, 2011

Advantech reports 2010 record sales
According to a report in the Taiwan Economic News, industrial and embedded systems computer manufacturer Advantech had its best sales year ever, with 2010 revenues of US$779 million, "sharply up" from 2009 revenues. The company also booked a US$103 million profit for fiscal 2010. [See Taiwan Economic News report] -- Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2011

iPad 2 available March 11, 2011
Steve Jobs announced the iPad 2 on March 2. The new model looks almost exactly the same, but is considerably thinner (0.35 vs 0.5 inches) and weighs less (1.3 lbs. vs 1.5 lbs.). It will be powered by a 1GHz dual core Apple A5 processor that, according to Jobs, is twice as fast and offers 9x graphics performance. There are now two cameras (VGA in the front, 720p in the rear), a gyroscope for additional functionality, the 25 watt-hour (unchanged) battery will last the same ten hours, there's HDMI-out via a cable, and the iPad 2 comes in black or white, and in AT&T and Verizon versions. No word on cost of data plans, no obvious changes in the display, and no dual speakers. Pricing remains exactly the same as for the original iPad: US$499 (16GB), US$599 (32GB), US$699 (64GB) for the WiFi-ony versions, and US$130 more for 3G versions. Apple also announced iMovie, and GarageBand for iPad (US$4.95 each). [See iPad 2 specs and see how the iPad 2 compares to the competition.]

-- Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Seeing rugged technology in action....
It's always good to see rugged technology we review in real live action. Last week I was in Tennessee where a family matter necessitated a visit to the Blount County Memorial Hospital in Maryville, Tennessee. The emergency medical staff used Panasonic Toughbook 19 and enthusiastically proclaimed it the "gold standard" in their computing equipment. Today, the Sears repairman who fixed an appliance in my home also used a Toughbook 19 with an Extech printer for lookup, instruction and billing, and he, too, was thrilled with it. -- Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Parvus introduces wearable Atom-based Zypad BR2000
Eurotech subsidiary Parvus introduced the Zypad BR2000, a rugged, Intel Atom E660T-based small-form factor wearable computer and vehicle server that weighs less than two pounds. The IP67-sealed device can handle extreme temperatures (-40 to +160F), runs Windows or Linux, has integrated WiFi, Bluetooth and 50-channel GPS. Standard I/O includes gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, RS232/422, audio, and 2D/3D video. [See Parvus BR2000 web page] -- Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Microsoft releases Windows Embedded Compact 7
A couple of weeks ahead of the originally announced release date, on March 1, 2011, Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Embedded Compact 7, the next generation of Microsoft's Windows Embedded CE platform. EC7 includes a special version of Microsoft Silverlight; the ability to customize the interface; multi-touch support; easier transfer of media and content between devices; symmetrical multi-processing; and updated mobile Office applications. See a history of Windows CE, a video of the people behind EC7, and the official Windows Embedded Compact 7 page. -- Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Winmate releases Intel OPS-based digital signage solution
Winmate is among the first to offer digital signage solutions based on the Intel OPS (Open Pluggable Specification) standard. Winmate's Intel Core i7-based IQWB-OPS PC Pluggable Module and W42IQWB-OML2/OPS 42-inch All-In-One signage display combine to make a space-saving, powerful, economic, and obsolescence-proof digital signage solution. [See Winmate 42-inch All-In-One Signage Display description and specs] -- Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011

JLT announces rugged 1214S in-vehicle computer
JLT Mobile Computers announced the JLT 1214S in-vehicle computer. The 1214S is an evolution of the successful 1214 model (see's full report on the 1214) that provides a processor upgrade, a switch to a Summit WLAN module with 802.11n capability, an option for a Sierra wireless mobile broadband card with GPS and external antennas, and more. The 1214S also allows sealing on the cable level instead of connector level. [See JLT press release] -- Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Return on investment of rugged computing technology
Apart from operational benefits, what matters most when deciding on mobile computing technology is the return on investment. That is not always easy to quantify, and so Intermec commissioned Forrester Consulting to analyze the total economic impact of the deployment of its CN50 rugged handheld at Aras Cargo, a large letter and package delivery company based in Turkey. The report details Aras Cargo's significant results to date, including a three-year, risk-adjusted ROI of 185%. [Download Intermec CN50 ROI case study] -- Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011

N-trig expands work with ISVs
N-trig, which makes the DuoSense pen and projected capacitive multi-touch solution enabled over a single digitizer, announced they are expanding their partnerships with ISVs to support the development and increase of pen-enabled applications for the rapidly growing slate market. N-trig also said that DuoSense will be integrated in a number of Android- and Windows-based slates due to be launched in 2011. [See N-trig release] -- Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011

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