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

April 2008

Handy utility: PenAttention 1.0
If you're using your Tablet PC to give PowerPoint presentations, or if you use OneNote a lot, you may wish the tiny little dot that represents the cursor were bigger. You're not alone, but it took a neat hack from Steven Kenrick, am Associate Professor of COmputer Science at the University of Alaska Anchorage. His program lets you switch between pencil, pointer, and an easily visible highlight around the small dot cursor. [Read Kenrick's blog on PenAttention 1.0 where you can also download it.] -- Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2008

General Dynamics and Cisco Systems Advance Battlefield Networking
General Dynamics C4 Systems and teammate Cisco Systems have successfully integrated Cisco's Unified Communications Manager software into the General Dynamics Itronix GoBook XR-1 computer (click for full review of the XR-1). This will allow current and future users of the Army's Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) to access communication services such as telephony, email, voice and text messaging via a fully-ruggedized, small-footprint notebook computer. -- Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2008

LXE introduces rugged Bluetooth Ring Scanner
LXE's 8650 Bluetooth ring scanner can be used by mobile operators in a multitude of supply-chain environments. The small 4.8-ounce 8650 ring scanner rests on the finger, with the Bluetooth module worn on the back of the hand or the wrist. The Bluetooth module pairs with any Bluetooth-enabled handheld, wearable, fixed-station or vehicle-mount computer and transmits data from up to 30 feet away. It has a magnesium housing and electronics designed for use in harsh industrial environments and is able to handle multiple drops to concrete from up to 4 feet. [Read full release on the LXE Bluetooth ring scanner] -- Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wacom announces new touchscreen technology
More and more users request both an active digitizer and a touchscreen. Wacom listened and announced a new capacitive touchscreen technology, called Reversing Ramped Field Capacitive (RRFC) touch. The patent-pending technology uses low-power circuitry and reversing ramped electro-static fields for pinpoint precision and drift-free performance. RRFC can be integrated into dual-input applications with Wacom's ubiquitous EMR pen-input technology for Tablet PC OEMs or work by itself on other platforms that require only a finger touch interface. Wacom's RRFC touch and EMR pen input technologies can work together off of a single ASIC and MCU pair, reducing overall cost and complexity. RRFC will be publicly unveiled at the International Society for Information Display Exhibition, May 20 to 22, 2008 in Los Angeles. [Read about Wacom's Reversing Ramped Field Capacitive Touch Technology] -- Posted Friday, April 25, 2008

Averatec enters semi-rugged market
Averatec, makers of innovative low-cost notebooks, has entered the semi-rugged market with the Voya 4400 and Voya 6400 Series. The 4400 models have a 1.73GHz Core Duo processor and a 14.1-inch display whereas the 6400 models have faster Core 2 Duo chips and wide-format 15.4 inch screens. Both have shock-mounted hard disks, spill-proof keyboards and touchpads, and magnesium alloy housings. They also have FireWire, Smart Card readers and even a SIM slot for cellular communication. Prices start at US$1,299 and US$1,599, respectively. [Read description and specs of the Averatec Voya 4400 and the Averatec Voya 6400] -- Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kopin gets Army contract for microdisplay
Kopin Corporation announced it has been awarded the first phase of an anticipated three-phase, $4.2 million U.S. Army program to accelerate production capability and improve the performance of its CyberDisplay SXGA LVR microdisplay. The microdisplay is targeted for the Army’s next generation of night vision systems that use multi-spectral imaging sensors and Kopin’s full-color displays to provide soldiers with daytime-like images – even in total darkness. The CyberDisplay SXGA LVR is a 0.97-inch-diagonal active matrix LCD with 1280 x 1024 pixel resolution. With the integration of an internal heater, it offers nearly instant-on capability at low ambient temperatures with minimal power consumption. [Read press relase on Kopin microdisplay] -- Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008

NEXCOM announces three industrial Atom-based tablets
Taiwanese NEXCOM announced three Atom-based fan-less tablets with 8.4-inch daylight readable touchscreens. The base MTC 2100 model is for logistics applications and includes GPS and a laser scanner. A medical/POS version, the MTC 2100-MD, comes in white and has an onboard RFID reader. The MRC 2100 is a ruggedized version with IP54 sealing and a 4-foot drop spec. [Read description and specs of the NEXCOM 2100 Series industrial tablets] -- Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Motion picks Intermec EA15 scan engine for C5 medical Tablet PC
Intermec announced that its EA15 scan engine has been chosen by Motion Computing, the world’s largest manufacturer of tablet PCs for the health care industry, to serve as the embedded bar code scanner for the C5 mobile clinical assistant (MCA) tablet PCs. The Intermec EA15 omni-directional area imager embedded in the Motion C5 reads 1D and 2D bar codes on medications, patient and nurse IDs and medical equipment and disposables. Combined, these represent all critical parts of the five “rights” of medicine administration: right medication, right dosage, right patient, right route and right time. -- Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Motion picks Intermec EA15 scan engine for C5 medical Tablet PC
Intermec announced that its EA15 scan engine has been chosen by Motion Computing, the world’s largest manufacturer of tablet PCs for the health care industry, to serve as the embedded bar code scanner for the C5 mobile clinical assistant (MCA) tablet PCs. The Intermec EA15 omni-directional area imager embedded in the Motion C5 reads 1D and 2D bar codes on medications, patient and nurse IDs and medical equipment and disposables. Combined, these represent all critical parts of the five “rights” of medicine administration: right medication, right dosage, right patient, right route and right time. -- Posted Monday, April 21, 2008

National Products expands, adds new docking solutions
Our friends at National Products (makers of the hugely popular RAM mount) report they purchased an additional 18k sq.ft. building and another 24k sq.ft. is under construction. They now have over 135 patents pending, introduced docks for the GETAC B300, GETAC E100, Glacier Ridgeline, as well as an alternative to potentially outlawed windshield suction cup systems (call (206-763-8361) or email them on this). [See GETAC E100 mount and GETAC B300 mount] -- Posted Monday, April 21, 2008

DT Research adds rugged touchscreen fixed mount panel
DT Research added the rugged WebDT 520 fixed mount tablet to its lineup of web-enabled information appliances for vertical markets. The lightweight tablet has a 12.1-inch display, runs either embedded XP or XP Professional, is sealed to IP65 specs, can use vehicle power or an optional battery pack that also acts as a UPS, and sports excellent wired and wireless connectivity. This rugged fixed mount tablet is designed for use in forklifts, emergency vehicles, warehousing, and even in marine and boating applications. [See description and specs of the DT Research WebDT 520]
-- Posted Monday, April 21, 2008

GD-Itronix GoBook MR-1 earns Best of FOSE award
Ridgeline Technology, a manufacturer solutions provider that delivers portable information technology solutions to government and enterprise customers, announced today that the company earned a Government Computer News (GCN) 2008 'Best of FOSE' Award for its offering of the GoBook MR-1 ultra-mobile notebook PC manufactured by General Dynamics Itronix. A two-pound, full-function rugged notebook measuring 4.3 iby 6 inches, the GoBook MR-1 allows users to work on a superior outdoor viewable display, wherever duty takes them. -- Posted Saturday, April 19, 2008

Microsoft unveils BizTalk RFID Mobile
Microsoft Corp. today unveiled Microsoft BizTalk RFID Mobile -- a lightweight platform for a variety of mobile devices, which simplifies the development of mobile applications that expose relevant, real-time business information. For now, it is a private beta with general availability expected in late 2008. Customers and partners can participate in the BizTalk RFID Mobile Technology Adoption Program (TAP) by registering here. -- Posted Thursday, April 17, 2008

GD-Itronix enhances channel partner program
General Dynamics Itronix introduced the ACES Channel Program to offer greater support for resellers of its rugged computing products and services. An enhanced deal registration program now offers volume incentive discounts. A significant investment has been made in a lead generation program to increase the number of qualified leads for its partner network. The company’s warranty and service programs have been simplified, making them easier to understand and easier for partners to sell. Marketing support has been expanded via a comprehensive marketing toolkit, a new and enhanced partner web portal and company store. Read press release on the ACES program. -- Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Full review: Panasonic Toughbook W7
Panasonic's "business-rugged" Toughbook W Series has been around for a while. The W7 is the latest iteration with tech updates, including a Core 2 Duo processor, more memory and a bigger hard disk. And it runs Vista now. It weighs just three pounds, has a full-size keyboard, an integrated SuperMulti optical drive, and a massive battery that lasts for almost seven hours. It is no longer a new design, however. Can the Panasonic W still deliver? [Read full review of the Panasonic Toughbook W7] -- Posted Thursday, April 10, 2008

Microsoft unveils Windows Mobile 6.1
At CTIA, Microsoft announced Windows Mobile 6.1. Among the benefits: texting that looks like instant messging; improved browsing with zoom and overview; simpler email and Bluetooth setup, and easier WiFi connection; a new "Getting Started" center; better security; more personal settings; and a new home screen interface. [See Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 page] -- Posted Thursday, April 3, 2008

TabletKiosk resells rugged GETAC tablet computer
The GETAC E100 rugged Tablet PC is now also being resold by TabletKiosk as the GETAC 840XT. The IP54-sealed tablet measures just 11.1 x 7.2 inches and weighs barely more than three pounds. It's powered by a very energy-efficient 800MHz Intel A110, comes with a sunlight-readable 8.4-inch display and built-in GPS. [Read description and specs of the GETAC E100] -- Posted Thursday, April 3, 2008

VIA releases new chipset for small and embedded devices
Of potential interest for the rugged industry: VIA Technologies announced the new VIA VX800 Series of digital media IGP chipsets offering video, graphics and connectivity performance in a single chip. The VIA VX800 Series comprises two chipsets, the VIA VX800 for ultra thin and light notebooks, mini PCs and embedded devices, and the ultra low voltage VIA VX800U for the fast-expanding ultra mobile market, including the rapidly-emerging mini-note, UMPC and UMD markets. [See VIA's VX800 Chipset page] -- Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Psion Teklogix first to achieve AT&T 3G network certification for rugged mobile devices
Psion Teklogix announced that its two flagship mobile devices, the Ikon PDA and IP65-rated WORKABOUT PRO, are the first rugged mobile computers to offer simultaneous voice and data capabilities on AT&T's 3G broadband network. AT&T’s 3G network incorporates Universal Mobile Telephone System (UMTS) and High Speed Download Packet Access (HSDPA) technologies with download speeds of as fast as 15 seconds for a 1MB file. [Read release] -- Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Full review: DRS ARMOR C12
DRS Tactical, the former WalkAbout, certainly knows a lot about rugged computers. But with the recently introduced ARMOR C12 Tablet PC convertible they go against well established competition from Panasonic and GETAC. Can the new DRS machine hold its own? [Read full review of the DRS ARMOR C12] -- Posted Tuesday, April 1, 2008

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