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

May 2010

ACME introduces rugged portable MicroTCA Versa 100
Many of those who need and use carrier-grade communication equipment in the open-standard COTS MicroTCA format (see intro to MicroTCA) have been looking for a portable rugged MicroTCA platform. The wait is over as ACME Portable Machines introduced the Versa 100 MicroTCA Rugged Portable. The ruggedized Versa product family is designed to meet various harsh environments and for easy customization, complying with MIL-STD 810F testing for shock and vibration. The 25-lbs Versa 100 measures 16 x 12.5 x 8 inches, has a 15-inch display and provides three mid size AMC and two full size AMC card slots. [See release] -- Posted Monday, May 31, 2010

4G -- ready for prime time?
Sprint is now advertising 4G wireless, with significantly faster download and upload speed. but given that AT&T and Verizon still argue who has better 3G coverage and speed, can we assume that 4G is ready for prime time? We're taking a look at 4G technologies and how it may all play out. [See 4G -- ready for prime time?] -- Posted Friday, May 28, 2010

Juniper Systems partners with Beijing Water & Land
Juniper Systems, Inc. announced its partnership with Beijing Water & Land, based in China. Beijing Water & Land specializes in environmental monitoring equipment and is a leading provider of such equipment in China. Juniper Systems rugged handheld computer, the Archer, works well with Beijing Water & Land’s environmental monitoring equipment for water quality monitoring, including probes for water quality testing and soil sampling. For more information about Beijing Water & Land and the Archer Field PC please visit their website at -- Posted Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getac tablet and handheld score "Best Choice" at 2010 Computex Taipei
Getac announced that Computex has selected the Getac PS236 portable handheld device and V100 convertible notebook as "Best Choice" awards for 2010 during its annual trade show in Taipei. Both products were selected for the prestigious award after passing three stages of judging. The PS236 received top honors in the Communication category while the V100 was recognized in the Computer and System category. Both products were selected for their innovation, overall functionality, and export potential based on market need and international appeal. -- Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Intermec CN50 gets upgrades
Intermec announced enhancements to its most advanced rugged mobile computer, the CN50. The improvements double RAM to 256MB and for data capture, customer now have the choice between the EA11 1D/2D area imager for scan-intensive applications, or the EA21 area imager that is designed for barcode reading as well as full page document imaging with Intermec's eMDI software. For businesses in regions that do not have 3G cellular networks or with limited data communications requirements, Intermec is also offering a version of the CN50 that operates over EDGE networks. -- Posted Monday, May 24, 2010

RAM Mount for the Apple iPad
The Apple iPad transcends conventional computing boundaries and classifications. While it is not a rugged or vertical market device, many will use an iPad in addition to their current mobile computing gear, and in quite a few cases, iPads will replace older technology. That's probably why RAM-Mounts has introduced RAM Mounts for the Apple iPad, a series of mounting products designed to mount and take the iPad anywhere. We took a look at RAM's new iPad cradle and mounting solutions for you. [See RAM Mount for iPad] -- Posted Monday, May 24, 2010

Panasonic upgrades Toughbook 19 to Core i5 and Gobi 2000
Though Panasonic's Toughbook 19 didn't become the Toughbook 20 (as the recently upgraded Toughbook 30 became the 31), the enhancements to Pana's venerable notebook convertible might well have justified a new number designation as well. A switch from an Intel Core 2 Duo SU9300 to a Core i5-540UM brings major performance improvements at no penalty to battery life, there's now optional Gobi 1000 and WiMAX, a camera, the backlight is LED now, and you can get dual touch input. Ruggedness is substantially improved as well, with IP65 sealing (IP54 before) and an incredible 6-foot drop-spec (up from 3-foot). And the starting price is down, too, to US$3,399. -- Posted Monday, May 24, 2010

Full review: DLI 8400 rugged ultra-mobile tablet
The DLI 8400 is a rugged ultra-mobile tablet with an integrated keyboard suitable for a wide variety of field service, mobile payment, first responder, fleet management and similar applications. Measuring about 10 x 8 x 2 inches and weighing a bit over three pounds, the Atom Z530-powered DLI 8400 with its 7-inch WSVGA touchscreen and integrated magcard reader is significantly smaller and lighter than full-size rugged tablets but it is still large enough to serve as a full-function computer. In a detailed analysis, found the DLI 8400 a very competent and highly configurable ultra-mobile tablet that can run Windows 7 or several other operating systems. [See detailed review of the DLI 8400] -- Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010

Intel vPro technology—what is it all about?
If you follow Intel, you know that the company not only loves code names, but also special technologies that are then used to market certain chips or chip families. At some point it was "with MMX" that made Intel Pentium chips special in hilarious commercials showing Intel engineers in astronaut suits. For the latest families of Core processors, Intel stresses "Turbo Boost." Another Intel technology that gets a little less attention is vPro, but vPro is now becoming part of the marketing message of some ruggedized mobile computing products that have been upgraded to include Intel's latest Core i5 and Core i7 processors. So what is vPro all about? [read more ...] -- Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Motion brings Intel Core i5/i7power to enhanced Motion F5v tablet
Motion Computing released a major update to its rugged Motion F5 tablet. The new Motion F5v gets a substantial performance boost by switching to Intel Core i5/i7 processors. In RuggedPCReview's benchmark testing, the new Motion F5v has roughly 2.2x performance compared to the 2009 Core 2 Duo machine while improving on battery life. The new F5v also benefits from additional enhancements such as onboard USB, dual cameras, larger hard disk, Gobi 2000, and standard Corning "Gorilla glass" for a nearly unbreakable display. [Read detailed review and benchmarks of the new Motion F5v tablet] -- Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010

DuPont introduces new direct bonding adhesives for displays
DuPont Display Enhancements has introduced four new products to its Vertak family of optical bonding adhesives that have the potential of making sunlight readable displays even better. They can be used with a broader range of glass and plastic substrates, support all touch sensor technologies, and can be used in high volume automated direct bonding equipment. [See DuPont Vertak High Performance Adhesive webpage] -- Posted Thursday, May 13, 2010

MobileDemand equips NASCAR Red Bull Racing Team with rugged Tablet PCs
MobileDemand announced its sponsorship with the Red Bull Racing Team which competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Mobile Demand has provided the team with ten of its new rugged xTablet T7000 ultra mobile computers. The devices will be predominately used by the spotter, tires pecialist and the gas man to record and compute data. Integrated bar cod escanners will assist the tire specialist in organizing the race tires throughout the weekend. [See press release] -- Posted Thursday, May 13, 2010

Panasonic unveils impressive Toughbook 31
Panasonic announced the Toughbook 31, a fully rugged notebook computer for tough jobs in the field, in vehicles, and in any situation where a standard notebook would quickly fail. The Panasonic Toughbook 31 replaces the Toughbook 30 with a variety of technology updates and enhancements that brings the platform technologically up-to-date without obsoleting existing customers' investment in Toughbook 30 docks and peripherals. Standard voltage Intel Core i3 and Core i5 processors provide high performance while still yielding exceptional battery life, LED backlighting makes for an even brighter 1,100 nits display, touch is now standard, optional Gobi 2000 supports 4G wireless, and the new model is more rugged than ever. [See detailed description and specs of the Panasonic Toughbook 31] -- Posted Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Panasonic forms Panasonic Healthcare Company
Panasonic announced that it will change the company name of its Panasonic Shikoku Electronics subsidiary (about 3,000 employees) to Panasonic Healthcare Co., Ltd. The purpose of the name change is to unify the strategy for the healthcare business on a global scale as Panasonic regards the healthcare business as one of the key businesses in the future. For now, this does not seem to include mobile computers (such as the Panasonic H1 MCA), though the group does make medical computing products such as in-hospital navigation systems. -- Posted Monday, May 10, 2010

Psion Teklogix holds free webinar May 12th
On May 12th, 2010 at 11 am EDT (3 pm GMT) Psion Teklogix will be hosting a live web event, Adaptive Ingenuity: Delivering Solutions that Drive Demand, that will inform you of the latest in technology advancements and change your outlook on how to win in these tough times. This webinar is complementary and will also include a brief introduction to the latest at Psion Teklogix by Guy-Franck Nakach, VP Worldwide Channels, Psion Teklogix. [Register for free Psion Teklogix webinar] -- Posted Monday, May 10, 2010

EMS Technologies encouraged by LXE sales growth
EMS Technologies, the parent of rugged handheld and vehicle mount computer maker LXE, announced Q1 2010 revenues of US$82.9 million, with a million in net earnings. That's down from US$92.3 million in revenues and US$2.3 million in net earnings in Q1 2009, due to "the currently slower conditions in our aviation and defense markets." EMS president and CEO Dr. Neil Mackay, however, said that "we were encouraged by the sales growth in our logistics businesses, LXE and Global Tracking." LXE contributed US$30.6 million in revenues, up by 28% from last year. The sales growth at LXE was attributed to "the success of the company's new indirect distribution model. LXE has lower operating costs and efficiencies after its restructuring, and the pace of new product roll-outs is increasing." -- Posted Monday, May 10, 2010

Full PDF reviews available for Getac 9213, PS236, PS535F
Taking advantage of the layout expertise we gathered over many years of print publishing, makes selected full product reviews available as "print-style" layouts in PDF format. The latest batch includes three Getac models, the 9213 business rugged notebook, and the PS236 and PS535F rugged handhelds. [See full PDF reviews of the Getac 9213, Getac PS236, and Getac PS535F] -- Posted Monday, May 10, 2010

Xplore highlights low failure rates
In a May 5th press release, Xplore Technologies talks about "a significant increase in customer reorders and upgrades over the past two quarters," which is certainly good news. Interesting to observers of the rugged market, however, is another statement by Xplore: "According to internal findings, customers have experienced less than 1.5% field failure with Xplore systems and, in one large scale deployment, that rate is almost two times lower than that of the previous rugged computer provider." Interesting because for several years now, Panasonic has been claiming very substantially lower failure rates than anyone else, with no one ever challenging those figures or presenting their own. -- Posted Sunday, May 9, 2010

"Moorestown" — Intel's new Z6xx Atom platform and how it fits in
On May 4th, Intel introduced the next generation of its initial family of Z5xx Atom processor. Codenamed "Moorestown," the Z6xx family, together with a new I/O controller and signal processing chip are meant to make Intel competitive in the booming smartphone and internet access device market. On paper at least, the new processor family looks very good and may yet help Intel establish itself in the device market (which, interestingly, they abandoned when they sold the XSCALE application processor business to Marvell a couple of years ago). But before we go into details of Moorestown, let's backtrack and see how Intel's whole Atom venture began and developed. [more ...] -- Posted Thursday, May 6, 2010

Getac boosts sealing of its rugged PS535F handheld
We just heard that Getac has boosted the Getac PS535F's ingress protection rating from IP54 to IP65. The IP rating of a rugged device describes how well it is protected against dust and water. IP65 means the rugged Getac PS535F handheld is now totally protected against dust, and can handle low pressure water jets (as opposed to just spray) from all directions. [See full review of the Getac PS535F] -- Posted Thursday, May 6, 2010

Added: QSI TREQ-DX and TREQ-L rugged vehicle terminals
We added two more small vehicle-mount systems from QSI Corporation to The TREQ-DX has an 800 x 480 pixel 7-inch wide-format touchscreen, function buttons and directional controls, runs Windows CE 5.0, and can be equipped with digital I/O, WiFi and WWLAN. The TREQ-L is a more economical version for when there's no need for wireless or extra connectivity. [Read description and specs of the QSI TREQ-DX and QSI TREQ-L] -- Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Windows Embedded and Intel announce availability of digital signage platform
Windows Embedded and Intel announced the availability of a validated digital signage platform optimized to address the retail and digital signage market’s need for a more streamlined, high-performance and highly reliable solution. For more information on the Windows Embedded Standard 7-based Digital Signage Evaluation Kit (DSEK) for the new platform click here. The Intel Core i5-based Winmate hardware certainly looks impressive. -- Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bill Gates still believes in pen computing but iPad, not so much
In a wide-ranging interview just broadcast on FBN, Bill Gates commented on the state of Microsoft's tablet projects after the demise of the Courier project:

“Microsoft has a lot of different tablet projects that we're pursuing. We think that work with the pen that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It can give you a device that you can not only read, but also create documents at the same time.”

Though he praised Apple's success overall in the interview, he delivered a not-so-subtle jab at the iPad's lack of a stylus back in February, basically calling it a "nice reader" but that's about it:

"You know, I'm a big believer in touch and digital reading, but I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen and a real keyboard -- in other words a netbook -- will be the mainstream on that."
LINK TO: Interview at

-- Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Publishing and the iPad
As a former print publisher, I spent some time comparing different approaches to magazine publishing on the iPad. Given the amount of hype about the iPad being the savior of publishing, I am surprised there is not an iMagazine app or some such. I mean, Apple could take the lead here yet again, creating the iTunes of the magazine world. [more ...] -- Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Intermec Q1 revenue down due to weak North American and US government sales
Intermec reported Q1 2010 revenues of US$149.2 million and a net loss of $3.6 million, compared to 2009 Q1 revenues of US$162.6 million and a net loss of $10.4 million. "Our results fell short of our expectations due to the US government sector and North America. On the other hand, we saw strong performance across our product and service offerings in our channels and international markets," said Patrick J. Byrne, Intermec President and CEO. Q2 2010 Revenues are expected to be within a range of $150 to $165 million, compared to Q2 2009 Revenues of $158 million. [See Intermec Q1 2010 results] -- Posted Monday, May 3, 2010

Motorola/Symbol and Opticon finally settle
Ending a dispute that's been going on for a couple of decades, Motorola and OPTO Electronics of Japan have announced a cross license agreement settling all outstanding intellectual property disputes between the two companies and their subsidiaries, including Symbol Technologies where it all started. Under the cross license agreement Opticon has taken a royalty bearing license to Motorola's patents in the fields of laser and imaging barcode scanning, and mobile computing. [See Motorola release on Opticon cross licensing] -- Posted Monday, May 3, 2010

Small rugged vehicle-mount: QSI TREQ-M4
Many mobile applications require a small, rugged vehicle-mount computer for a variety of simple data lookup, data entry, fare collection, and other custom applications. Such computer must be simple to use and operate, ultra-reliable, and small enough to never get in the way. The Marvell PXA300/Windows Embedded CE 6.0-powered QSI TREQ-M4 mobile data terminal was designed for just those tasks. [See description and specs of the QSI TREQ-M4] -- Posted Sunday, May 2, 2010

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