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

May 2008

VDC: Solid growth in handheld scanners ahead
Venture Development Corporation is bullish on handheld bar code scanners, predicting solid growth through 2012. Global handheld bar code scanner revenues were US$861.5 million in 2007 and are expected to grow to $1.24 billion in 2012. -- Posted Thursday, May 29, 2008

Full review: Advantech MARS 3100R rugged Tablet PC
We reviewed the Advantech MARS-3100R, a rugged industrial tablet computer from an experienced Taiwanese embedded and industrial systems company with a worldwide presence. It's small and handy, and weighs just five pounds. A 1.2GHz Intel Core Duo U2500 processor provides a good balance between performance and battery life. The aluminum-alloy body is very solid, sealed to IP54 specs, and can take a beating. Combined with full 1024 x 768 pixel XGA resolution on a 10.4-inch display with dual panel input, the MARS-3100R excels in applications that require as much screen real estate as possible in a very compact, rugged computer. [Read full review of the Advantech MARS 3100R rugged Tablet PC] -- Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Case Study: MobileDemand xTablets at Box Canyon Dairy
MobileDemand issued a new case study showing how Box Canyon Dairy in Wendell, Idaho, uses rugged Tablet PCs, RFID and special software to implement a more efficient process for the health, care and breeding of livestock. "I gained an additional two hours in my day to do something else," said dairy general manager Scott Haag. "As for my employees, it cuts in half the amount of time they spend looking for animals." [See MobileDemand Tablet PC case study] -- Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy 5th Anniversary, MobileDemand!!
MobileDemand of Hiawatha, Iowa, one of our premier sponsors, is celebrating its 5th anniversary. Congratulations to Matt Miller and his crew for having built a thriving business in the rugged Tablet PC market with their xTablets. How tough are they? See their Tablet PC Torture Chamber and don't miss the video of it. -- Posted Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wyse releases Wyse Thin OS 6.2
Wyse Technology released version 6.2 of its Wyse Thin OS operating system which includes new features and functionality for popular Virtual Desktop environments from Citrix Systems, Microsoft and VMware. The "purpose built" thin client operating system now offers Citrix ICA 10.X compatibility, support for Citrix's Speedscreen Multimedia Acceleration ("Rave") technology, Roaming biometrics and smartcard support with IdentiPHI SAFsolution 5. -- Posted Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Handheld US introduces slender, versatile rugged PDA
Handheld U.S., a North American subsidiary of Europe's HHCS, announced the M3 Mobile handheld computer that combines extreme ruggedness, versatility and a slim profile to make a compelling package for a variety of applications and markets. The M3 Mobile runs the Window Mobile Phone Edition, but can also accommodate a laser scanner or imager, and GPS. It has an integrated 2 megapixel camera with LED illuminator and a Mini-SD slot for memory expansion. It can survive drops from 5 feet and carries IP64 sealing. [Read description and specs of the M3 Mobile by Handheld U.S.] -- Posted Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Italian Finmeccanica acquires DRS for US$5.2 billion
Italian defense contractor Finmeccanica will acquire DRS Technologies, an American supplier of integrated defense electronics products, in a transaction valued at US$5.2 billion. DRS is a maker of various tactical rugged computers and handhelds, and also the owner of DRS Tactical Systems, the former WalkAbout and maker of the famous ultra-rugged Hammerhead computers as well as the new ARMOR line of rugged computers. The sale is likely a result of the weak dollar versus the strong Euro. -- Posted Sunday, May 18, 2008

Trimble releases major tech upgrade to GeoExplorer series
Trimble introduced a major tech upgrade to its GeoExplorer series of ruggedized GPS handhelds. Now called the GeoExplorer 2008 Series, the line consists of the GeoXM, GeoXT, and GeoXH models, all designed for use in geographic information systems applications. They are technologically identical except for varying degrees of GPS accuracy and performance. The new models, now based on Windows Mobile 6 Classic, are faster, have twice the memory and Flash, have full VGA (480 x 640 pixel) resolution, have faster WiFi, offer better water sealing, and have an even wider operating temperature range. [See description and specs of the Trimble GeoExplorer 2008 Series] -- Posted Friday, May 16, 2008

Computerworld reviews three rugged notebooks
Venerable Computerworld did a hands-on review of three popular rugged notebooks, the GD-Itronix XR-1, the GETAC M230, and the Panasonic Toughbook CF-30. With the rugged notebook market headed towards a million systems a year globally, what was once a small niche is becoming lucrative, and hotly contested, business. The review lauded the XR-1 for performance, the M230 for features, and the CF-30 for battery life. Computerworld also did some home-grown ruggedness testing that the systems mostly survived intact. See Computerworld review. -- Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rugged membrane keyboards
iKey is expanding upon its industrial keyboard product line with a new series of membrane keyboard built to withstand harsh environments with a hardcoated, textured, polyester film that is more rugged than industrial silicone rubber keypads. These keyboards also feature slightly raised, mechanical snap-dome keys and an integrated Synaptics touchpad. -- Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fujitsu and Socket Mobile form strategic partnership
Socket Mobile and Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. announced a strategic partnership and plans for joint product offerings. Combining the mobile data collection capabilities of Socket Mobile with the tablet and ultra-mobile computing expertise of Fujitsu will offer trusted, proven solutions in a variety of markets. The initial offering is a mobile data collection and payment solution for the retail industry that enables workers to scan bar codes, swipe credit cards and finalize sales from anywhere in the store. It combines the Socket Mobile CF Mag Stripe Reader with a Fujitsu LifeBook P1620 Tablet PC convertible into a mobile Point of Sale terminal. -- Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Toshiba announces LED-backlit industrial LCD panels
Toshiba America Electronic Components announced a new TFT product lineup for industrial and rugged applications that incorporates long-life (average 70,000 hours) LED backlighting. LEDs mean lighter weight, lower electrical noise and power consumption, and a wider adjustable luminance range without the need for high-voltage and high-frequency circuits. The lineup includes 5.7" (320x240), 6.5" (640x480), 8.4" (800x600 and 1024x768), and 10.4" (1024x768) sizes. Luminance is between 400 and 450 nits, contrast ratio between 400 and 500:1. Viewing angles are 140/120 degrees for the smaller units and 120/110 degrees for the larger ones. -- Posted Friday, May 9, 2008

MobileDemand demonstrates Tablet PC ruggedness on videos
MobileDemand has created short videos that show in dramatic fashion how rugged their xTablet Rugged Tablet PC really is and how much abuse it can take. If you want to see a Tablet PC being dropped, splashed, rained on, and even used as a hammer to pound nails into a board, view their latest video or see screen snaps and description of the torture tests. -- Posted Friday, May 9, 2008

Major rugged reseller joins GD-Itronix ACES program
Group Mobile, a premier provider of rugged, mobile and field-use computing products, today announced its participation in General Dynamics Itronix ACES Channel Program which is designed to support the channel in driving increased revenues and market share in the rugged computing market. [Explanation of the GD-Itronix ACES Channel Program] -- Posted Thursday, May 8, 2008

Report shows touch panel trends
A new report available from DisplaySearch expects the touch panel market to grow to $3.3 billion and 660 million units by 2015, thanks in part due to a market reinvigorated by the Apple iPhone. The report analyzes technologies pursued by suppliers. Despite the emergence of competing technologies like projected capacity, surface capacity and multi-touch, resistive touch solutions will retain 86% share of shipments during the forecast period although resistive revenue share will drop. [See release on Touch Panel Market Analysis] -- Posted Thursday, May 8, 2008

CradlePoint adds cradle for Motorola Symbol MC35
CradlePoint announced availability of a new docking cradle compatible with the Symbol/Motorola MC35 Enterprise Digital Assistant. Support for the MC35 EDA adds to CradlePoint's growing line of docking cradles and adapters that provide charging, USB, and Ethernet synchronization capability to a broad range of mobile data devices. Symbol users should check out CradlePoint's large product line of LAN, USB, charging and modem cradles. -- Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mi-Co names mobile data capture award winners
Mi-Co, specializing in mobile data capture, honored Mi-Forms users and partners at its 6th Annual Mi-Co User Days Conference. The awards recognize customers and partners who demonstrate innovation in the use of mobile data capture and digital ink solutions. -- Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New series of SATA-II solid state drives
While they still cost more than conventional hard drives, solid state drives will likely become much more prevalent in mobile rugged computers. In our tests, they've consistently outperformed hard disk-equipped models, and not having moving parts, they are inherently more able to absorb punishment. Super Talent Technology, a San Jose, Calif. company, launched a new line of 2.5-inch SATA-II MasterDrive solid state disks with capacities from 30 to 120GB. Pricing starts at US$299 for a 30GB drive. A 120GB drive lists for US$699. -- Posted Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Intermec adds new workboard printer
Intermec introduced the PW50 rugged workboard printer that provides a convenient, integrated solution to simplify operations for workers in Direct Store Delivery, Home Delivery, and Field Service applications. It is designed specifically for use with Intermec's CN3, CN3e and CK61 handheld computers. The PW50 has a 4-foot drop spec and -4 to 122 degree operating temperature range, and can be equipped with Smart Card and mag stripe readers. Maximum print width is 4.25 inches with 40, 80, or 132 columns. Communication is via serial or Bluetooth connection. We like this design. -- Posted Monday, May 5, 2008

Mercury Computer unveils the rugged PowerBlock 50
Massacusetts based Mercury Computer Systems' new PowerBlock 50 looks like the tougher little brother of Apple's old Power Mac Cube. It measures just 4 x 5 x 6 inches, weighs between 6 and 10 pounds, and is optimized for real-time image, sensor, and signal processing. The PowerBlock is ruggedized for harsh environments and has liquid cooling. There is an Engineering Development Kit that includes a PowerBlock 50 and a Linux BSP development environment for programming and optimization of runtime software deployable on PowerBlock 50 systems. -- Posted Monday, May 5, 2008

Datalogic Pegaso now with Windows Mobile 6 and E-GPRS
Datalogic announced that its Pegaso compact industrial PDA is now available with Windows Mobile 6 and optional E-GPRS (GSM/GPRS/EDGE). The IP64-rated device has a full VGA 480 x 640 3.7-inch display, a center-mounted Class II laser scanner and an optional magnetic stripe reader. The upgrade enhances the Pegaso in applications where users need to access their enterprise network when outside the four wallls, such as mobile POS, route sales, direct store delivery, and parcel delivery. Datalogic Pegaso] -- Posted Monday, May 5, 2008

Intermec reports record first quarter revenues
Intermec reported 2008 first quarter (ending March 30, 2008) revenues of $217 million and net earnings of $7.7 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, compared to 2007 first quarter revenues of $179 million and a net loss of ($4.4) million, or ($0.07) per diluted share. he Intermec paid off at maturity its $100 million debentures, which eliminated the Company's long-term debt. Revenue outlook for the second quarter 2008 is within a range of US$227 to $232 million. [Read Intermec Q1/2008 press release] -- Posted Saturday, May 3, 2008

SDG System sells Linux-based TDS Nomad
SDG Systems, LLC is now selling a Linux-based version of the rugged TDS Nomad handheld computer. SDG Systems uses the 2.6.x Linux kernel, the Qtopia PDA Edition 2.2 interface, and system utilities based on the Angstrom Linux distribution (yes, Java support). The Nomad includes Bluetooth, 802.11, GPS, Camera, Barcode scanning and USB host and client ports. It has a full VGA (480 x 640) display and uses an 806 MHz Marvell PXA 320 processor. The USB host port supports mass storage, keyboard, mouse, Ethernet and RS-232 serial adapters. The Linux Nomad comes with 128 MB RAM and 512MB or 1GB of Flash and sells for US$1,649 to $2,299. -- Posted Thursday, May 1, 2008

Trimble Coastal Center controls multiple DGPS sites
Trimble introduced Trimble Coastal Center software specifically designed to continuously monitor and control multiple Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) broadcast sites for marine navigation from one central location. With Trimble Coastal Center, users can view all beacon sites from any licensed workstation throughout the network. [Read full release on Trimble Coastal Center or email] -- Posted Thursday, May 1, 2008

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