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

April 2012

More rugged technology in the field: Panasonic Toughbooks for analyzing Bugatti Veyron datalogs
And another rugged technology sighting: one of our favorite car magazines, Motor Trend, ran a feature on development drive testing in a 1,284 horsepower 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. Well, a photo in Motor Trend revealed that the technicians are using a Panasonic Toughbook 19 and what appears to be a Panasonic Toughbook 52 to analyze data downloaded from the Bugatti's onboard data logger. -- Posted Monday, April 30, 2012

Rugged technology seen in the field: Trimble GNSS Geodetic antenna at Folsom Lake College, California
It's always good to see rugged mobile technology used in the field. The picture to the right shows a Trimble Zephyr 2 Geodetic antenna installed at the Folsom Lake College athletic field construction site in Folsom, California. Specially designed for construction GNSS applications, the Zephyr 2 antenna is part of a receiver system that provides accuracy down to 8 millimeters (a third of an inch!) for larger construction site applications. [See Trimble Site Positioning Systems brochure] -- Posted Monday, April 30, 2012

iSiS-Ex unveils new 19-inch Zone 2 workstation
Industrial computing deployments often face what's called "Zone 2" requirements, i.e. there may be explosive gas mixtures present for short periods. iSiS-Ex specializes in hazardous area computing, and just announced their new 19-inch Zone 2 PC workstation that has a footprint no larger than that of their 15-inch model. [See press release] -- Posted Monday, April 30, 2012

IBM introduces new foundation for mobile computing
IBM unveiled its first ever Mobile Foundation, a comprehensive portfolio of software and services designed to help organizations capitalize on the proliferation of mobile environments including laptops, smartphones and tablets. IBM's Mobile Foundation offers capabilities in a) connecting mobile and cloud environments, b) building mobile apps for various platforms just once, c) secure management of all mobile devices, and d) extending existing enterprise capabilities to mobile devices. [See IBM press release] -- Posted Monday, April 30, 2012

Motorola Solutions survey shows 66% of retailers interested in Mobile Point of Sale
Motorola Solutions released the findings of a survey that shows increasing interest from retail, hospitality and field service industries for mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) solutions for improving customer service. Retailers in particular (66% of those surveyed) showed a strong interest in deploying mPOS over the next couple years. In terms of equipment, retailers and field service responders saw big increases in rugged handhelds and tablets, a modest increase in smartphones, but stagnation or decline in walkie-talkies and kiosks. [See Mobile POS Study results] -- Posted Monday, April 30, 2012

Intermec releases two new rugged high-speed industrial mid-range label printers
Intermec announced the PM43 and PM43c industrial mid-range label printers, featuring the fastest throughput in their class. Suited for harsh industrial environments including transportation, manufacturing and distribution centers, the metal-constructed PM43 and more compact PM43c printers are built to perform by increasing uptime and reducing maintenance costs. [See Intermec PM43 brochure and press release] -- Posted Monday, April 30, 2012

GD-Itronix opens online store for its rugged computers and accessories
Once dismissed as minor adjuncts to more traditional sales channels, online stores have become important parts of business. General Dynamics Itronix has now joined the ranks of computer companies with online stores. The new store offers current GD-Itronix rugged models (GD300, GD400, GD2000, GD3015, GD3080, GD4000, GD6000, GD8000, GD8200) as well as refurbs and accessories for both current and legacy models. The store is powered by GroupMobile, but is exclusive to General Dynamics' rugged computing products. [See GD-Itronix online store] -- Posted Monday, April 30, 2012

Advantech issues site and brochure for hazardous applications solutions
Advantech issued a newsletter and brochure highlighting its products and solutions for oil and gas exploration applications. See the page -- covering rugged data acquisition modules, controllers, human interface devices and industrial communication gateways, switches and servers -- here and see the Advantech Class I, Division 2 Certified Products brochure. -- Posted Friday, April 27, 2012

In Ticketing launches InHand Mobile Box Office for mobile ticketing at live events
In the early days of PDAs, expanded functionality (such as storage, wireless, scanning, etc.) was often provided in the form of a sleeve or caddy that accommodated the handheld. Now we're starting the same approach again with sleeve and and caddies for smartphones. An example is the iAPS sled from Daily Systems, an all-in-one mobile POS solution for iPhone and iPod touch that adds bar code scanning, credit card reading and receipt printing to those Apple handhelds. Using the iAPS, In Ticketing has now introduced the InHand Mobile Box Office, enabling sale-to-receipt ticket sales transactions. -- Posted Thursday, April 26, 2012

Motorola Solutions reports good Q1 2012 with 7% sales increase over Q1 2011
Motorola Solutions announced first-quarter 2012 results. Q1 sales were $1.956 billion, up 7% from Q1 2011 sales of US$1.834 billion, driven by strong worldwide demand in the Government segment. Q1 earnings were US$232 million, up significantly from $169 million for the quarter a year ago. Q1 2012 sales were roughly 1/3 from enterprise sales and 2/3 from government sales. Motorola Solutions also reported it repurchased US$1.4 billion of its shares in the quarter. -- Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Keynote DeviceAnywhere helps Sprint developers port apps to CDMA rugged devices
Keynote DeviceAnywhere, specializing in mobile application lifecycle management, has announced a collaboration with Sprint to give members of the "Sprint Gets Rugged" program remote access to real devices from Sprint's line of CDMA ruggedized handsets. This will assist developers to port their iDEN apps to handsets by letting them access over the internet real handsets without having to physically acquire the handsets, therefore decreasing the overall cost of development and speeding up their time-to-market. Featured devices include the Motorola MB612, the Sanyo "Taho" 4100, and Kyocera's Duramax Pro 820, DuraCore, and DuraPlus. [See press release and how the virtual lab works]
-- Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2012

GE releases three rugged Intel 3rd Gen Core-based SBCs
GE Intelligent Platforms announced three new rugged single board computers (SBCs) based on 3rd Generation Intel Core processors. The SBC625, XCR15 and XVR15 bring substantially increased processing power, graphics capability, I/O bandwidth and functional density to customers developing and deploying demanding industrial and mil/aero applications. These include command/control, ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance), radar/sonar and signal processing. -- Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2012

e-con Systems executive explains the reality of cameras in rugged computers
e-con Systems is an embedded product development specialist with significant expertise in camera solutions in the Windows CE and Windows Embedded space. We asked Mr. Hari Shankkar, co-founder of e-con Systems, why at a time when every new smartphone includes a superb camera capable of full HD 720p or 1080p video, cameras built into rugged devices generally lag far behind. [Read more] -- Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Intel formally introduces high end "Ivy Bridge" quad-core 3rd Generation Core processors
After much discussion of the "Ivy Bridge" platform of next-gen Intel Core processors, Intel officially introduced a number of higher end quad-core versions of the platform. Called "3rd generation Intel Core processors," the new chips are based on 22 nanometer manufacturing process, have much more powerful integrated graphics with DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.1 and OpenCL 1.1 support, and also come with the new "Panther Point" chipset family with native USB 3.0 and PCIe 3.0 support, as well as new Centrino wireless modules. As usual, there is a dizzying variety of desktop and mobile versions that all promise to be about 20% faster and twice as powerful in graphics than corresponding 2nd generation chips. The new 22nm process, for the first time, employs 3D tri-gate transistor design, perpetuating Moore's Law (doubling transistor count every 18 months) for years to come. The new processors, which do not yet include low and ultra low voltage versions of special interest to vertical market mobile/rugged systems, also benefit from a variety of security and power conservation enhancements. [See Intel press release and 3rd Gen Core Processor presentation] -- Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Laird Technologies issues White Paper on FIPS 140-2 validation for WiFi clients
FIPS 140-2 defines the U.S. federal government standard for modules that protect sensitive but unclassified information through cryptography, or encryption and decryption. Laird Technologies has issued a free White Paper entitled "FIPS 140-2 and Wi-Fi Client Devices" that discusses whether organizations contemplating FIPS 140-2 for Wi-Fi client devices should consider whether or not WPA2TM- Enterprise with chip-based AES-CCMP provides sufficient security. [Get white paper] -- Posted Monday, April 23, 2012

Rugged tablets in agriculture
Rugged tablets are increasingly used in farming where the concept of precision agriculture has introduced advanced GPS, GIS and management systems to prepare, optimize and run farming operations. SOYL Precision Farming and the Samwell Group demonstrated how small, rugged tablet computers mounted on All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) can get the job done. [See Rugged tablets in agriculture] -- Posted Monday, April 23, 2012

Media tablet era medical tablet: Cybernet CyberMed T10
Cybernet Manufacturing has developed the CyberMed T10 tablet designed for use in clinical environments. The Intel Atom N2600-based tablet, which has about the same footprint and display as the original iPad, runs Windows 7 or the upcoming Windows 8. The aluminum and glass enclosure is easy to clean, has antimicrobial coating, and sports a fanless design. The 2-pound device, which starts at US$999, has dual cameras, WiFi/Bluetooth, USB and HDMI, and also optional RFID and barcode scanner. [See description and specs of the Cybernet CyberMed T10 medical tablet] -- Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vocollect introduces Vocollect VoiceExpress
Vocollect, a business unit of Intermec, announced the introduction of Vocollect VoiceExpress, a new host interface solution that provides distribution center and warehouse operators with the benefits of voice across almost any distribution workflow quickly, by eliminating or reducing common customer adoption barriers of voice solutions. VoiceExpress allows certified partners to easily reengineer processes without host changes or significant IT resources to create integrated voice solution. [See Vocollect press release] and Vocollect VoiceExpress data sheet] -- Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012

MobileDemand's xTablet rugged Tablet PCs certified on Brother printers
MobileDemand announced it has teamed with Broomfield, Colorado-based Brother Mobile Solutions, a global provider of mobile printing and label solutions designed to improve performance and efficiency on the road, on the shop floor and in the warehouse. All MobileDemand products -- the xTablet T7000, T8700 and C1200 tablet PC systems have been certified on the PocketJet and RuggedJet mobile printers from Brother Mobile. [See news release] -- Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The nature and potential of Windows 8 for ARM devices
By announcing the upcoming versions of Windows 8 and what role the separate ARM version will play, Microsoft has clarified the situation a bit. And a thorough prior Microsoft blog post on building Windows for ARM had already added a lot more detail. So what IS the nature of Windows 8 for ARM devices, and what do we consider its outlook and potential? [Read The nature and outlook for Windows 8 for ARM devices] -- Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Microsoft announces Windows 8 editions
In a post on the Windows Blog, Microsoft announced that there will be three versions of the upcoming Windows 8. For PCs and tablets based on x86 processors, there will be plain Windows 8 and and the more business-oriented Windows 8 Pro that adds features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity. Windows Media Center will be available as a "media pack" add-on to Windows 8 Pro. A third version, Windows RT, will be available pre-installed on ARM-based PCs and tablets. Windows RT will include touch-optimized desktop versions of a new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. [See Announcing the Windows 8 Editions. Also interesting: Building Windows for the ARM processor architecture] -- Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Trimble introduces rugged Pro Series GNSS Receivers
Trimble introduced the next generation of its Trimble GPS Pathfinder family -- the Trimble Pro 6H and Pro 6T receivers for GIS data collection and mobile mapping. The series offers a new streamlined form-factor and dramatic productivity improvements in difficult GNSS environments with Trimble Floodlight technology that allows for decimeter accuracy data even in tough GNSS environments. [See Trimble Pro Series receivers page] -- Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Brazilian hospital uses Motion Computing tablets to improve safety and work conditions
Motion Computing reports that in 2011, the Samaritano Hospital of Sao Paulo, Brazil, implemented a mix of mobile computingsolutions, including Motion C5v Tablet PCs, notebooks and carts on wheels, for real-time access to electronic medical records throughout the hospital. The mobile devices are an integral part of the hospital's effort to increase patient safety and improve work conditions for clinicians, effectively modernizing the care process. The devices were chosen because they were configured specifically for the hospital environment and in line with infection control protocols. [See Motion Computing press release] -- Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Intermec releases two new rugged mobile receipt printers
Intermec announced yet more printers. The new two-inch PR2 and three-inch PR3 mobile receipt printers are small, light, durable and, according to Intermec, designed for all day comfort for mobile field professionals in direct store delivery (DSD) route accounting, field service,and mobile point of sale and electronic citation. [See Intermec PR2 and PR3 product page] -- Posted Monday, April 16, 2012

Will GPS drown in commercialism?
The world has come to rely on GPS. Location-based services rely on it, as do countless transportation management and optimization systems, let alone hundreds of millions of individuals. But what if "sponsored locations" and GPS spam take over, just as email has been taken over by spam? Unfortunately, it's already starting. [See Will GPS down in commercialism?] -- Posted Monday, April 16, 2012

LXE executive joins Advantech DLoG
Advantech DLoG announced that Didier Cousin, LXE's former Channel Director for Europe, has joined Advantech DLoG with the same title. LXE became part of Honeywell in 2011. -- Posted Sunday, April 15, 2012

New accessories for the Motion CL900 Tablet PC boost field productivity
Motion Computing announced the availability of a number of accessories for the CL900 Tablet PC. The CL-Series ReadyDock can store/charge/sync/secure 5, 10 or 15 CL900s; the CL-Series Keyboard Portfolio is a stand and Bluetooth keyboard combined; the CL-Series X-Strap is a simple but effective one-handed carrying solution; and there's also a Micro-HDMI to VGA adapter for connection to projectors. -- Posted Friday, April 13, 2012

Top medical apps
The folks at present a terrific resource with their attractively designed "Top Apps" section where healthcare professionals can find lineups and reviews of medical apps. [See's Top Apps} -- Posted Friday, April 13, 2012

Doha port implements terminal operating system including handhelds and rugged LXE vehicle-mounts
The Gulf Times reports that Milaha, previously known as Qatar Navigation, is implementing a new Terminal Operating System at Doha Port. The new system is geared to enhance productivity and efficiency at the port that currently uses a paper-based system to manage 400,000 container movements annually. Doha Port staff will use hand-held computers at the entry and exit gates for trucks and enter the required data for each incoming container, while documentation required for container pick-up will be printed on the spot. Each straddle carrier is equipped with an LXE half-screen vehicle-mounted computer, which displays the container to be taken from the truck or ship and where the container has to be placed. -- Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012

AIS expands line of rugged military displays and computers
American Industrial Systems Inc. (AIS) announced an expanded offering of ruggedized COTS military- and marine-grade solutions to be offered through Avnet Embedded. The selection includes Intel Atom D2700-powered vehicle mounts with display sizes from 8.4 to 15 inches, as well as display-only versions in the same sizes. [Check AIS Ruggedized Computers and Displays for Military Applications] -- Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trimble launches free iPad field fitting input app
Trimble announced its Trimble Field Fitting Input app for the Apple iPad, providing contractors the ability to rapidly collect sheet metal dimension information in the field and then share with the fabrication shop for output. The app itself is free, but requires a Trimble Field Fitting Input Import license for importing fittings into the Vulcan CAM software that drives Lockformer Vulcan plasma cutting tables. [See Trimble Field Fitting Input app] -- Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Intel reveals studybook Learning Series tablet reference design
Intel introduced another interesting reference design, the Intel studbook. Part of the Intel Learning Series, the studybook concentrates on classroom features and educational software. The reference tablet measures 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.65 inches, weighs 1.15 pounds, has a 7-inch capacitive multi-touch screen with 1024 x 600 (i.e. early netbook class) resolution, is powered by a single-core 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z650 processor, can have up to 32GB of SSD storage, and optional 0.3mp front and 2mp rear cameras. There's 802.11b/g/n WiFi, optional Bluetooth and 3G WWAN, a micro-SD card slot, USB, mini-HDMI, and battery life up to 5.5 hours. The device is said to be able to run either Windows 7 or Android Honeycomb. While the Intel press release refers to "ultra rugged design," we're really only talking a 2.5 foot drop and IP41 sealing, enough perhaps for a classroom. Intel expects pricing of US$200-300, depending on installed options. Intel claims that over 7 millions of its earlier Classmate PC are in use, and that the hardware and software elements of an Intel studybook have been piloted in more than 2,000 classrooms in 36 countries. [See Intel studybook product brief] -- Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Habey USA introduces ultra-slim Atom N2800/D2700 mini-ITX board
Habey USA, a manufacturer of embedded computers and an Associate member of the Intel Embedded Alliance, introduced an ultra slim mini-ITX board based on Intel's next gen Atom N2800/D2700 processors. The new MITX-6932 board has a total board height of just 20mm (0.8 inches) with heat sink, yet offers greater processing power and 4 times the graphics performance of previous Atom designs, as well as DirectX9 support on Windows and Linux, additional smart connective technologies, and power consumption under full load of just 12W. [See Habey MITX_6932 product page] -- Posted Monday, April 9, 2012

Advantech announces rugged 1,200 nits LED display kits
Advantech announced the launch of IDK-2000 series of 1200-nit ultra high brightness LED display kits ranging from 8.4" to 19". The kits -- which include a 1200-nit industrial grade LCD panel, a LED driver board, and optional resistive touch screen integration -- are 3 times brighter than standard IDK-2000 models, providing superior sunlight readability and wide operating temperature support for outdoor applications such as gas pumps, payment kiosks, vending machines, etc. [See 1200-nit IDM-2000 lineup] -- Posted Sunday, April 8, 2012

Intermec's trade-in program is back
Intermec announced that its trade-in program is back. Select Intermec printers, scanners and mobile computers qualify for trade-in rebates with savings of up to US$525 on a qualifying purchase. [See Intermec Trade-In Program] -- Posted Friday, April 6, 2012

Allscripts introduces iPad app for EHRs
Allscripts announced the release of Allscripts Wand, which provides users of Allscripts Electronic Health Records a unique, native iPad application that extends the most commonly used functions of Allscripts Professional and Enterprise solutions. -- Posted Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mercury Computer Systems gets $5M in orders for rugged embedded multi-processing modules
Mercury Computer Systems, a provider of commercially developed application-ready ISR and EW subsystems for defense prime contractors, announced it received $5.1 million in follow-on orders from a leading defense prime contractor for rugged embedded multi-processing modules for two airborne radar applications. -- Posted Thursday, April 5, 2012

Socket Mobile turns 20!
Socket Mobile is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a provider of mobile computing productivity solutions. Since 1992, Socket has offered portable computing, data collection and remote networking hardware that have helped healthcare, hospitality, retail, and other industries worldwide meet the demands of a growing mobile workforce while eliminating manual processes and maximizing efficiency in mission-critical business applications. For the milestones in this admirably innovative company's history, check here! And here's our description of the latest Socket SoMo 655 handheld. -- Posted Thursday, April 5, 2012

Advantech launches Advantech Plus iOS app
We're starting to see manufacturers publishing their own apps to allow customers, partners and employees to provide mobile one-stop access to corporate news and resources. An example is Advantech Plus, an iOS app for iPhones and iPads that serves as a portal to Advantech, offering event releases, real-time application notes and videos, contact info with map navigation and direct dial-in function, as well as social media networking. -- Posted Thursday, April 5, 2012

Toshiba introduces new line of thermal barcode label printers
Toshiba America Business Solutions introduced the B-EX4T2, a 4-inch thermal label printer series that expands its portfolio of industry-leading MFPs and thermal barcode label printers. Built for industrial applications such as manufacturing, transportation, logistics and retail, Toshiba's new thermal barcode printer series includes models offering 200 DPI, 300 DPI, 600 DPI and direct thermal printing. -- Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Blasting Solutions Inc. realizes 75% time savings with Motion Tablet PCs
Motion Computing published a new case study that shows how Blasting Solutions Inc uses the rugged Motion F5v Tablet PC to reduce the amount of time spent filling out job books by 75 percent. For each job, BSI audits the entire job book from front to back, and what previously took three to four days to complete now takes approximately 15 minutes. [See full case study] -- Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Getac partners with ProCustom Group for customizations solutions
Getac announced that it has entered into a partnership with ProCustom Group to allow customers the ability to customize Getac rugged products based on the specific needs and extreme environments where Getac products are used. ProCustom Group provides user-specific customization of COTS rugged laptop, notebook, tablet and handheld products for deployment in harsh and demanding environments in military, aerospace, industrial and first-responder marketplaces. -- Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Socket Mobile has new COO
Socket Mobile announced the promotion of Tim Miller to Chief Operating Officer. With this promotion, Mr. Miller assumes day-to-day operating responsibility for Socket's worldwide sales and marketing, engineering and operations. -- Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Juniper Mesa Rugged Notepad used for arctic wildlife monitoring program in Nunavut
Juniper Systems announced that the Mesa Rugged Notepad is being used as part of a community-based wildlife monitoring program, conducted by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, where native Inuit hunters are recording wildlife population data throughout the Canadian Arctic territory of Nunavut. Juniper Systems, along with international consulting firm IMG-Golder and Nova Scotia based Noreca Consulting, have been awarded a contract to assist with the design and implementation of the program, including a complete field data collection solution using rugged handheld computers, the development of mobile software, and a web-based database for uploading and accessing data. -- Posted Monday, April 2, 2012

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