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

May 2011

Psion starts shipping next-gen EP10 rugged handheld
Psion says it has started shipping its new rugged enterprise PDA, the Psion EP10. A modern device with gyroscope, light sensor, GPS, magnetometer, accelerometer and proximity sensor, the TI AM3715 powered has a large 3.7-inch display, a 2D imager, and a 3.2mp AF camera. Psion claims 7,000 units pre-ordered. Pricing starts at US$1,850. [See Psion press release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Samwell displaying new rugged multi-touch Windows 7/Android Honeycomb 7-inch tablet at Computex
Samwell is showing a new rugged Intel "Oak Trail" Atom Z670 based media tablet with a high-res (1280 x 800 pixel) capacitive multi-touch screen at Computex, Taipei (May 31 - June 4, 2011). Weighing well under two pounds, the RUGGEDBOOK SR810 carries IP65 sealing, can handle 4-foot drops and extreme temperatures, has dual cameras, onboard USB/serial/HDMI, and optional GPS, WWAN, barcode reader and RFID. Most intriguing: the SR810 is designed to run either Windows 7 or Android Honeycomb. Samwell will show the SR810 at TWTC Exhibition Hall 1 C0625. [See SR810 at Computex, and our initial SR810 description and specs] -- Posted Sunday, May 29, 2011

Panasonic updates Toughbook 31
Panasonic announced a series of upgrades to its Toughbook 31 with new Intel Core i5 (2520M/2540M) and i3 (2310M) processors, increased RAM and hard drive capacity (320GB standard now) as well as speed, up to 20 hours of battery life wWith the optional extended life media bay battery), a brighter sunlight-viewable screen (from 1,110 to 1,200 nits) and more (like newer WiFi, SDXC card, optional 4G LTE, optional USB 3.0). The availability of discrete graphics from an ATI Radeon HD6750 card (instead of HD5650) also delivers significant improvements in 3D graphics. Pricing now starts at US$3,299 (down from US$3,799). [See our full review of the Toughbook 31] -- Posted Sunday, May 29, 2011

3M shows optical films for tablets
At SID Display Week 2011, 3M demonstrated optical films specifically designed for tablets. Among them APF-V3, an extremely thin high brightness reflective polarizer; LBR-160, a high efficiency back reflector; as well as BEF4-GMv2 and BEF4-GT, thin, high brightness, Brightness Enhancement Films (BEF). By combining the films, tablet battery life can be extended, the outdoor viewing experience enhanced, without sacrificing display quality or brightness. [See 3M release] -- Posted Saturday, May 28, 2011

Advantech newsletter on embedded Intel Core i7 products
We just received Advantech's latest newsletter that highlights all their latest embedded Intel Core i7 solutions, ranging from rackmounts to rugged industrial PCs, including links to datasheets, case studies and related embedded and industrial computing products. [See Advantech newsletter] -- Posted Thursday, May 26, 2011

GammaTech/Intel webinar June 2
Videos and webinars are rapidly becoming a quick and easy way to learn about new products and solutions. The folks at GammaTech are doing another one Thursday, June 2, 2011, 10AM PST, on their Durabook U12C convertible and Durabook S15C notebook. This one is primarily for resellers interested in offering a line of rugged notebooks and tablets for small business, healthcare, government, law enforcement, education and vertical customers, with competitive pricing and margins. They are even offering a $500 discount off the MSRP of a Durabook U12C registering, attending, and completing the short survey at the end of the webinar. [Register here] -- Posted Thursday, May 26, 2011

AMREL issues white paper on MIL-STD-461E
Rugged and industrial computer manufacturer AMREL issued an interesting white paper on how MIL-STD-461 requirements, which cover electromagnetic interference (EMI) and its electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), may exceed what standard COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) hardware can deliver. [See AMREL's MIL-STD-461E white paper] -- Posted Thursday, May 26, 2011

Datalogic Mobile releases Skorpio video case study
Datalogic Mobile announced its latest video case study highlighting Hastings Entertainment. Hastings, a multimedia superstore with 147 stores in 20 states, rolled out nearly 750 Datalogic Skorpio Gun rugged mobile computers. See release and video. -- Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Beverage wholesaler chooses MobileDemand xTablet
MobileDemand reports that Ben E. Keith Beverages, one of America's largest beer wholesalers chose the MobileDemand xTablet T7000 combined with A-B Mobility software to replace their older, less functional handheld hardware used by their field sales reps to sell more beer. In tests, Ben E. Keith Beverages staff found that the xTablet T7000's full Windows 7 OS, low weight (2.5 lbs.), integrated keypad, scanner, and inherent ruggedness presented the best combination for their needs. [See MobileDemand xTablet case study] -- Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Datalogic moves part of production from Eugene reports that Datalogic announced it will move much of its remaining local production work to Asia, resulting in about 125 layoffs over the coming six months. The closure is strategic and not because of a downturn in business as the Datalogic division that includes the Eugene operations grew by almost 24% last year. Moving production work to a plant in Vietnam will keep material and labor costs low and retail prices competitive. [See report] -- Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Psion hosts free June 8 web event to intro the EP10
On June 8, 2011 at 1 pm EDT / 10 am PDT, Psion will host a live web event to provide interested parties a complete overview of their new EP10 durable enterprise PDA. [See RuggedPCReview's description and specs of the Psion EP10] [Register for free Psion EP10 introduction event] -- Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Honeywell introduces OEM N5600 color area imager
Honeywell announced the N5600 series of area-imaging engines, providing OEMs with a platform that meets bar code scanning needs in virtually all markets. The N5600 is the industry's first bar code optimized image engine with color imaging capabilities, eliminating the need for a separate camera and reducing hardware costs. Developed with Adaptus Imaging Technology 6.0, the N5600 provides scanning to 16.5 inches on U.P.C. bar codes, exceptional motion tolerance and flexible aiming, and superior reading on hard-to-read bar codes, including those found on the screen of mobile devices. [See Honeywell press release and N5600 products page] -- Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011

GammaTech webinar on rugged embedded solutions
Are you an OEM building a dedicated-purpose device? If so, you could benefit from the Windows Embedded Channel. Join Gammatech and BSQUARE for a webinar on May 26th 11AM PST introducing the Embedded Channel and the benefits you can reap by utilizing this Channel. [Register here] -- Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Intermec signs distribution agreement with Turkish SEDNA
Intermec has entered into a distribution agreement with SEDNA, a distributor of AIDC and RFID. The agreement, which covers distribution of Intermec products in Turkey will strengthen Intermec's distribution channel and provide increased market coverage in Turkey for Intermec's solutions. [See news release]
-- Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Over 5 million tablet panels shipped in April
Displaybank reported that tablet display panel shipments exceeded 5 million units for the first time ever in April 2011. Broken down by size, 4.3 million were 9.7-inch panels, 0.7 million 10.1-inc panels, and a negligible 0.04 million were 7-inch panels. In terms of overall shipments, tablet panels passed mini-note/netbook panels (down to 2.5 million), and gained ground to standard notebooks (15 million). [See release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Full review: Winmate 10.4-inch Patient Service Tablet PC
Winmate's 10.4" Patient Service Tablet PC is really a product closely fashioned after the Mobile Clinical Assistant, or MCA, hardware reference concept Intel introduced a few years ago. Winmate's interpretation concentrates on good functionality, local connectivity, extension customization options, and simplicity of design with an embedded OS running on minimal hardware. [See review of the Winmate 10.4-inch Patient Service Tablet PC] -- Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Logic Instrument gets French contract for Fieldbook C1
Logic Instrument, a provider of notebooks and tablet PCs for extreme environments, today announced the signing of the contract with the Syndicat des Eaux et de l’Assainissement (SDEA), the water resources management of the French district Lower Rhine (Bas-Rhine). The contract specifies the delivery of the Intel Core i5-powered 12.1-inch Fieldbook C1 rugged convertible PC, the latest addition to the Fieldbook series. The new contract is valued at a total of 325,000 Euros (about US$458,000) and delivery is scheduled for the second half of 2011. -- Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Xplore Technologies launches much improved website
A few weeks ago we reported on Datalogic's impressive new website. Now Xplore Technologies also revealed a new and hugely improved website. It may be all Facebook and Twitter these days, but an eye-catching, modern, fast, informative website remains a most important calling card, and Xplore aced it with their new design. [See Xplore's new website] -- Posted Monday, May 23, 2011

Full review: GammaTech Durabook S15C
The GammaTech Durabook S15C is a 6.5-pound notebook computer designed to be tougher and more durable than standard consumer notebooks, but without the extra size, weight and cost of a fully rugged design. It's a very solid, trust-inspiring machine with a large 15.6-inch wide-format display, good connectivity, and good day-to-day functionality. performed a detailed test of a Intel Core i5-460M equipped Durabook S15C and found it an interesting, economically priced solution for those whose needs are between consumer and semi-rugged hardware. [See full review of the GammaTech Durabook S15C] -- Posted Monday, May 23, 2011

N-trig presents productivity advantages of DuoSense multi-touch + pen for tablets
N-trig addressed attendees at the recent SID display Week Conference (LA, May 17-19, 2011) in two sessions entitled "Making Tablets Work for Consumers and Enterprise" and “Bringing Pen Into the Conversation.” N-trig is emphasizing its DuoSense multi-touch plus pen technology as a solution to making tablets more functional in numerous business applications. [See N-trig video] -- Posted Monday, May 23, 2011

Intermec makes a significant investment in India
According to SiliconIndia, Intermec announced the completion of a significant investment in India by opening direct liaison offices in Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai. The company desires to serve the growing demand from customers and partners for its market leading solutions through these offices. [See report] -- Posted Monday, May 23, 2011

OmniVision launches 5mp/1080p video sensor for tablets
Digital image processing specialist OmniVision Technologies introduced the 5-megapixel OV5690 image sensor designed specifically for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This makes possible not only high quality 5mp still images, but also 1080p HD video at full 30 frames per second. [See OV5690 product brief] -- Posted Friday, May 20, 2011

Mitac works with Yang-Ming University to develop mobile health care solutions
Digitimes reports that Mitac, of which Getac is a subsidiary, and National Yang-Ming University will cooperate to develop mobile health care solutions with focus on ruggedized tablet PCs developed specifically for medical applications. Numerous variations are being examined and the parties will discuss initial results in August. -- Posted Friday, May 20, 2011

AMREL’s announces solid-state multimodal biometric module
AMREL announced a solid-state, multimodal, biometric module using the Vista ViCAM III Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). It is a durable, light-weight biometric module that support dual iris image capture by a single high-res glass lens and with one shot, 2 finger/rolled electroluminescent sensor that is SAP 45 - Appendix F compliant, quality facial images even in low light environments, and voice capture/recognition. Amrel noted that this module can be added or removed from a computer platform by non-specialist personnel using ordinary tools in just minutes. -- Posted Thursday, May 19, 2011

Black Diamond introduces new wearable Intel Atom-based rugged military computer system
Black Diamond Advanced Technology of Tempe, Arizona, introduced its Modular Tactical System (MTS) lightweight military wearable rugged computer system consisting of an Intel Atom-based system unit, a 6.5-inch sunlight readable touch display, an I/O hub with commercial and military connectivity, extensive security, and numerous configuration possibilities. [See description and specs of the Black Diamond Modular Tactical System] -- Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Aceeca issues Garnet OS-based PDA32 update
Aceeca reports that they completed work to offer WiFi and Bluetooth options for their semi-rugged Palm OS/Garnett PDA32 handheld, and also released 64-bit Windows USB drivers for Palm OS/Garnett devices (good news for Palm users who still have legacy Palm devices that they want to make use of). Aceeca now anticipates shipping limited quantities of wireless PDA32 units in late June 2011. [See Aceeca newsletter] -- Posted Monday, May 16, 2011

Motion Computing webinars on enterprise-ready CL900 tablet
Motion Computing will present a free half-hour webinar entitled "The New Motion CL900, Enterprise-Ready Tablet PC" on Thursday, May 19 and 24 at 1PM CDT. Unlike consumer media tablets, the Motion CL900 is specifically designed for mobile business. [Register for Motion CL900 enterprise-ready tablet webinar] -- Posted Monday, May 16, 2011

Motorola receives Gartner "strong positive"
Motorola Solutions, which among other things makes a comprehensive line of rugged handhelds, has received a Strong Positive rating in Gartner’s “MarketScope for the Ruggedized Handheld-Computer Market (Global)." The Gartner MarketScope evaluation is based on a weighted evaluation of a vendor's ruggedized handheld computer products in comparison with the evaluation criteria. [See Motorola press release] -- Posted Monday, May 16, 2011

Unitech's PA600 joins AppSource
The Unitech PA600 handheld computer has been certified on AppSource, ScanSource's new online store that gives resellers access to mobile data collection applications that work on an assortment of mobile devices. AppSource gives Unitech’s resellers an easier way to implement software and hardware so that they can provide end-users with a succinct, out-of the-box solution. -- Posted Friday, May 13, 2011

DisplaySearch: Wide-viewing angle displays gaining rapidly
We've been singing the gospel of wide-viewing angle displays ever since we saw the first Hydis display on a Tablet PC several years ago. The rest of the display industry was slow to catch up, but according to DisplaySearch, the rapid growth in smartphones and media tablets is now driving demand for advanced features such as perfect viewing angles. Display shipments with In-plane switching (IPS) and fringe field-switching (FFS) wide-viewing angle technologies are forecast to increase from 214 million units in 2010 to 600 million units in 2014. -- Posted Thursday, May 12, 2011

LXE posts record sales for Q1 2011
Rugged mobile computer maker LXE--which together with Global Tracking forms the Global Resource Management part of EMS Technologies--reported US$36.2 million sales for Q1 2011. That's an 18% increase in sales revenue over Q1's US$30.6 million, which itself was a 28% increase over Q1 2009. LXE's Q1 2011 revenues were also its highest Q1 revenues ever. LXE was profitable as well, posting US$1.7 million operating income, almost twice that of Q1 2011. [see LXE press release] -- Posted Thursday, May 12, 2011

Unitech adds a rugged smartphone/PDA: PA550
With smartphones taking over, there's an increasing need for industrial, ruggedized versions, and we've seen various interpretations of the theme over the past year. Unitech recently joined the fray with their new PA550 industrial PDA/phone all-in-one. Impressively powered by the 806MHz Marvell PXA320 and running Windows Mobile 6.5.3 Pro, the PA550 has a comprehensive QWERTY thumb-type keyboard, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3.5G wireless broadband, GPS, a laser scanner, and a 5-mepagpixel AF camera that can do MPEG4 full VGA video. [See description and specs of the Unitech PA550] -- Posted Thursday, May 12, 2011

DRS launches Re-ARMOR trade-in and recycling program
DRS Technologies, a Finmeccanica company, announced that its Tactical Systems Group has launched the Re-ARMOR trade-in and free recycling program in partnership with AnythingIT. The Re-ARMOR program addresses such issues as packaging & removal of equipment, DoD compliant data destruction, trade-in, inventorying, and compliance with state and federal environmental laws. [See DRS Re-ARMOR program] -- Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Latest TouchStar newsletter
We received the latest issue of the TouchStar newsletter, which is always full of interesting and entertaining stuff. TouchStar has over 30,000 installations in 20 countries and carries most major rugged hardware. [See TouchStar newletter] -- Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Motion donates F5v tablets for flood clean-up
Motion Computing announced that the company donated five Motion F5v Tablet Computers to Queensland Urban Utilities to support crews out in the field as they tackled the region’s daunting water rehabilitation and clean-up effort after January’s flood disaster. [See Motion press release] -- Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Motion CL900 tablet available for order now
Sometimes you have to wait a bit for a good thing. first reported on Motion Computing's inexpensive, rugged 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z670-powered CL900 tablet in January (see CL900 coverage here). As of May 11, 2011, the 2.1 lbs. 10.1-inch CL900 is available for order, starting at US$899. [See Motion CL900] -- Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Panasonic introduces semi-rugged Toughbook 53
Panasonic Solutions Company introduced the Toughbook 53, a semi-rugged notebook with a 1366 x 768 pixel 14-inch display that emphasizes high performance with standard voltage Intel Core i3 and i5 processors, yet offers long battery life (up to ten hours), and--as a first in the Toughbook line--optional 4G LTE mobile wireless broadband. Optionally available with touch screen and Panasonic's CircuLumin display technology. [See description, commentary and specs for the Panasonic Toughbook 53] -- Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tablets in ocean navigation: Samwell SR820 on sailboat
The picture to the right shows how tablets are being used in naval applications where ruggedness, waterproofing, display performance, and the ability to hold up in extremely demanding environments matter. This Intel Atom-powered 8.9-inch Samwell Ruggedbook SR820 is installed on the sail boat of a notable Italian ocean navigator. We had the 2.9-pound SR820 in our lab a while ago and called it the tablet equivalent of a rugged netbook computer (see our SR820 report). -- Posted Monday, May 9, 2011

ThinSink forced convection fan: interesting solution
Though the company name sounds like they're making gadgets, Novel Concepts has actually been in the thermal management business for almost 30 years. With tablets and mobile electronics becoming ever more popular, yet customers also wanting big performance, the company has introduced the ThinSink, a virtually silent credit card-sized sink/fan that draws just 0.03 watts, yet has 25 times the volumetric cooling efficiency of CPU heat sinks. The site also has tons of info on thermal management solutions. [See ThinSink] -- Posted Monday, May 9, 2011

Seen on Facebook: Juniper Mesa used in Tuscaloosa tornado cleanup
Seen on Facebook: Rescue workers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, using the Juniper Systems Mesa Rugged Notepad computer for mapping tornado damage. The Windows Mobile-powered Mesa's big, bright 5.7-inch display certainly comes in handy for this sort of work, as we found out during our recent review of the Mesa. [See Juniper Mesa used in Tuscaloosa Tornado cleanup] -- Posted Monday, May 9, 2011

Full review: the new Xplore iX104C5
Xplore Technologies is introducing the latest generation of its ultra-rugged iX104 tablet computer at New York's Harvard Club on May 9, 2011. has had hands-on with the new Intel Core i7-powered Xplore ix104C5 and found significant enhancements in the sunlight-viewable 10.4-inch dual-mode display, overall functionality, and, especially, performance. [See review of the Xplore iX104C5] -- Posted Sunday, May 8, 2011

Datalogic Mobile launches new website
Datalogic Mobile announced the launch of its new multimedia website designed to focus on end user solutions and applications. The new site makes extensive use of content rich media and graphics. It has a bit of a generic look to it, but it's fairly quick, quite comprehensive, and information is easy to find. Definitely a step forward and one of the best rugged mobile websites now. -- Posted Thursday, May 5, 2011

Intermec Q1 2011 revenue up 20%
Intermec reported Q1 2001 revenues of US$179 million with a net loss of US$6.1 million, compared to Q1 2010 revenues of US$149 million and net loss of US$3.6 million. Note that results are not directly comparable due to Intermec's acquisition of Vocollect and Enterprise Mobile. Q2 2011 revenues are expected to be within a range of US$205 to $215 million. [See Intermec press release] -- Posted Thursday, May 5, 2011

Japan's Embedded Technology 2011 Trade Show Nov 2011
Japan Embedded Systems Technology Association (JASA) with the participation of industry leaders in Japan will be holding its annual Embedded Technology Conference and Exhibition (ET2011) in Yokohama, Japan, November 16 through 18, 2011. Last year, approximately 22,000 registered attendees visited ET2010, the largest embedded technology event in the world. -- Posted Thursday, May 5, 2011

Full review: Juniper Systems' unique Mesa rugged notepad
Juniper Systems of Logan, Utah, calls their new Mesa the "world's first rugged notepad," a device designed to offer the advantages of both a Tablet PC and a rugged handheld, but without the disadvantages of either category. We reviewed the Juniper Mesa in detail and found it to be a class-busting much larger handheld that brings Windows Mobile simplicity, instant-on, speed and battery life to a satisfyingly large 5.7-inch touch screen. Windows Mobile has never looked so good. [Read full review of the Juniper Systems Mesa rugged notepad] -- Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2011

DLI announces price reduction for its rugged tablets
Now here's welcome news! DLI, which makes a series of rugged tablets, announced price reductions of 10% to 27% for its entire line of rugged devices (DLI 8300, 8400, 8500, 8800). The company said the price reductions are the result of DLI's growing market share both domestically and abroad, manufacturing and design efficiencies gained at the DLI corporate facility in La Porte, Indiana, and the recent ISO certification of the DLI design office located in Taiwan. [See DLI release and new pricing] -- Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2011

N-trig to show new mobile hardware with DuoSense
N-trig, which makes the DuoSense pen and projected capacitive multi-touch solution enabled over a single digitizer, said it will show several new and advanced DuoSense enabled tablets, convertibles and netbooks at the 2011 SID Display Week Conference in Los Angeles, May 17-19th. N-trig will also present a session titled, “Bringing Pen Into the Conversation” that will take a closer look at how the inclusion of the pen on tablets is providing users a more comprehensive computing experience. -- Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BSQUARE expands app development services
BSQUARE Corporation announced the expansion of its mobile application development services. The company will now support application publishers and content providers by enabling the creation, development, testing and deployment of mobile applications for all major platforms including Android, iOS, Linux, Microsoft and RIM and for all mobile device form factors. [See press release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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