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

May 2012

Full review: Winmate 9.7-inch rugged Windows tablet with capacitive multi-touch
With Windows 8 getting closer, all eyes are on tablets that run the Redmond OS while still providing the iPad experience, and in a tougher package that can handle bumps and rain. Winmate has one of these, the M970D rugged tablet, and we got an early example for a full review. It is based on the rather quick Intel Atom N2600 processor and has a superb 9.7-inch capacitive multi-touch screen. [Read full review of the Winmate M970D rugged tablet] -- Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012

Android finally getting traction in vertical and industrial markets?
Just when Windows 8 is looming ever larger as perhaps a credible competitor to iOS and the iPad, we're finally starting to see some Android action in vertical market tablets and handhelds. [read more] -- Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Omnivision unveils 12.7mp still/1080p@60fps video sensor
OmniVision Technologies, a developer of digital imaging solutions, announced the OV12830 12.7-megapixel CameraChip sensor designed to meet the high quality image and video recording standards of next gen high-end smartphones and tablets. The 1/3.2-inch sensor can capture 1080p HD video at 60 frames per second, and do full resolution 12-megapixel high-speed photography at 24 FPS. This is what we'd like to see in ruggedized professional handhelds and tablets! [See OV12830 product page] -- Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Houston Police Department to outfit entire fleet of 1,800 police cars with Getac B300 rugged notebooks
Getac announced that the Houston City Council has approved a contract with PCS Mobile to outfit the city's 1,800 police cruisers with Getac B300 rugged notebook computers along with in-vehicle docks and mounts. Delivery of the Getac B300 rugged notebooks will be in late May with installation beginning in June. [See press release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Habey USA introduces rugged Atom D2700-based digital signage player with NVIDIA GT520 GPU
Industrial chassis and embedded computer maker Habey USA announced its new rugged BIS-6569A digital media player, combining a small (7.5" x 7.5" x 2.5") form factor fanless design with a 2.13GHz dual-core Intel Atom D2700 processor and Nvidia GT520 discrete GPU to create a high performance embedded system capable of displaying full 1080p broadcast with resolution up to 2560x 1600 via HDMI and also provide DirectX11 graphics. The GT520 includes 5th gen PureVideo HD with excellent H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 decoding performance. [See spec Habey BIS-6569A spec sheet and brochure] -- Posted Friday, May 25, 2012

Getac's Q2 2012 newsletter
Getac published its Q2/2012 newsletter. See here. -- Posted Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jury: Google did not infringe on Oracle patents
While Android has become the #1 operating platform for smartphones and is also used in most media tablets competing with Apple's iPad, a patent infringement lawsuit by Oracle against Google had been hanging over it. Case 10-3561 was tried in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, and on May 23, 2012, the jury decided Google did not infringe on Oracle's patents (which Oracle came to own via its purchase of SUN Microsystems). [See Reuters news on the case, and the actual jury verdict (PDF)] -- Posted Thursday, May 24, 2012

Intermec's Q2 2012 OEM newsletter
Intermec published its Q2 OEM News & Views newsletter. See here. -- Posted Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DRS Tactical Systems announces two new lightweight 7-inch multi-touch tablets
DRS Technologies announced that its Tactical Systems division has expanded its portfolio with two new, thin, lightweight tablets. The new ARMOR X7ad and ARMOR X7et tablets look almost identical and both have 7-inch multi-touch displays, but they are actually quite different: the NVIDIA Tegra 2-based X7ad runs the Android OS that dominates the smartphone market and is making inroads in tablets, whereas the Intel Atom-based X7et is based on the enterprise-friendly Microsoft Windows 7 platform. [See RuggedPCReview.com's description and specs of the DRS ARMOR X7ad and DRS ARMOR X7et tablets] -- Posted Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Army wants Android, non-glare displays, better battery life
DoDBuzz.com, the online Defense and Acquisition Journal, ran an article entitled "Nett Warrior returns from the dead," discussing the Army's embattled Nett Warrior program that seeks to use smartphones instead of heavier computer equipment for ground soldiers. Among other handhelds, the military is testing, among others, the General Dynamics Itronix GD300, an Android-based wearable rugged smartphone. DoDBuzz says the Army is only looking at Android, preferring its open systems architecture and the fact that a large number of soldiers are already familiar with Android from their own smartphones. Other priorities are higher resolution displays with non-glare screens and longer battery life. [See "Nett Warrior returns from the dead" article] -- Posted Wednesday, May 23, 2012

MobileDemand rugged tablet now Gobi 3000 certified
MobileDemand announced that its xTablet T7000 rugged Tablet PC is now Gobi 3000 certified. Gobi is an embedded mobile broadband technology by Qualcomm that provides wireless technology and vendor independence by supporting multiple wireless standards. This way, users do not have to swap modem modules to access wireless networks provided by various wireless carriers. [See MobileDemand press release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Juniper Systems partners with SDG to produce Android version of the Mesa Rugged Notepad
Juniper Systems announced a partnership with Pennsylvania-based SDG Systems. This partnership will bring to market a version of Juniper Systems' Mesa Rugged Notepad with Android 2.3, which will be distributed exclusively through SDG Systems as the RAMPAGE 6. The Android version of the ultra-rugged Juniper Mesa Rugged Notepad with its 5.7-inch display and IP67 sealing will be available starting in Q3 of 2012 from SDG Systems. [See Juniper Systems press release and SDG's RAMPAGE page] -- Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DLI 9000: rugged 9.7-inch capacitive touch POS tablet can run Windows or Android 4.0
DLI of LaPorte, Indiana, has announced the DLI 9000, an Intel Atom Z670-powered rugged tablet that can run either Windows or Android 4.0. With a 9.7-inch 1024 x 768 pixel capacitive touch screen and measurements only slighter larger than that of the iPad, the 2-lbs DLI 9000 tablet may well benefit from a market that has embraced the iPad by the tens of millions. Also interesting: an optional 5-in-1 module that adds a magstripe reader, a debit pin pad, contactless payment, EMV Smartcard reader, and 1D/2D CMOS barcode scanning. [See description and specs of the DLI 9000] -- Posted Monday, May 21, 2012

DRS ARMOR X10gx and SafetyPAD software used at Hennepin County Medical Center
The StarTribune, a Minneapolis/St. Paul newspaper, ran a feature on the SafetyPad, which the paper described as a paramedic's constant companion at Hennepin County Medical Center. The system is used by HCMC's 25 ambulances and consists of OPEN Inc.'s SafetyPAD software. The hardware SafetyPAD runs on at HCMC seems to be DRS ARMOR X10gx tablets (see our review), which, the report points out, can be dropped from a height of 4 feet about 20 times. They also quote HCMC's operations supervisor as saying, "all of our ambulance tablets have been dropped more than that." [See StarTribune article] -- Posted Sunday, May 20, 2012

Perytons launches ZigBee protocol analyzer for Tablet PCs
Perytons Ltd. announced the release of its new Tablet PC analyzer models for analyzing 802.15.4, ZigBee and 6LoWPAN networks. The PeryTAB combines the Perytons Protocol Analyzer suite features with an optimized Tablet PC touch interface for a superior user experience. During the market introduction phase the PeryTAB will be provided together with a Tablet PC such as ACER Iconia W500 or Skytex Skytab S-series, running the Microsoft Windows 7 OS. -- Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012

RMI Corporation partners with MobileDemand
RMI Corporation -- which delivers software and support for businesses that rent, sell and service equipment -- announced a partnership with MobileDemand where RMI will sell or lease MobileDemand T7000 rugged Tablet PCs to work in conjunction with RMI's ADVANTAGE software. [See press release -- Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012

HCSS launches mobile apps that improve field entry and productivity
Construction software developer HCSS has introduced a suite of new mobile applications for collecting and reviewing data on construction field operations. These apps can be run anywhere using iPhones, iPads and Android-based phones and tablets. With just a few swipes on a mobile device, contractors can record an entire time card including diaries, photographs and cost-coded employee and equipment hours, as well as production quantities. [See HCSS mobile apps] -- Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Psion receives positive rating in Gartner rugged handheld report
Psion announced that its rugged handhelds received a positive rating in Gartner's report, "MarketScope for the Ruggedized Handheld-Computer Market (Global)." The Gartner MarketScope provides an overview of the key vendors in ruggedized mobile computing and the vertical markets they serve, including an analysis of their solutions and the industry as a whole. [See Psion press release] -- Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Free Motion Computing webinar: Empowering the Mobile Worker with the Right Tablet PC
On Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. CDT, Motion Computing and VDC Research will hold a free webinar that will outline the advantages of mobile field computing and discuss things to consider when deciding on the best purchase decision. [Free registration] -- Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Foxconn scores US$34 billion sales in Q1 2012
It's stunning how big electronics contract manufacturing companies have gotten. Hardly anyone knows their name, but in terms of sales they pass and dwarf some of the world's most recognizable brands. Foxconn, for example, makes a lot of the electronics products sold by Apple, Sony, Microsoft and Amazon. The company just announced Q1 2012 revenues of US$34 billion, up almost 40% from Q1 2011. In annuals sales, Foxconn is bigger then IBM, Sony, Toshiba, Microsoft, Hyundai or BMW. -- Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Full review: Advantech DS520 digital signage player
With digital signage increasingly being used for all sorts of informative, entertaining and interactive applications, there is a flurry of new digital signage player product releases. These players are usually very compact, durable and virtually maintenance-free. RuggedPCReview.com analyzed the ARK-DS520 digital signage player from Advantech, which is powered either by an Intel Atom N455 or D525, and uses NVIDIA ION2 graphics to display on two different screens in six possible permutations via VGA, DVI-D or HDMI. And it starts at only US$730. [See review of the Advantech ARK-DS520 digital signage player] -- Posted Monday, May 14, 2012

Amplicon video explains basics of Windows 8
Industrial electronics company Amplicon created a very useful 5-minute introductory video to Windows 8. Watch it at http://www.amplicon.com/tv/Windows8.cfm -- Posted Monday, May 14, 2012

RIM announces approval of BlackBerry 7 smartphones for U.S. DoD networks
In a piece of good news, RIM announced DoD-wide approval for the use of BlackBerry 7 smartphones. Working with U.S. Army and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) sponsors and partners, BlackBerry 7 smartphones have undergone successful testing through Army labs leading to a listing on DISA's Unified Communications Approved Product List (UCAPL). -- Posted Monday, May 14, 2012

NY Times blog on rugged Android tablets
"Companies May Accept Sturdier Android Tablets" is the title of an article in the New York Times Bits blog. In it, author Brian X. Chen argues that while the market for rugged handhelds is relatively small (about two million devices in 2011 according to IDC, expected to rise to 2.7 million by 2014), it's a valuable one, and one that Micrsoft could lose to Android. [See "Companies May Accept Sturdier Android Tablets"] -- Posted Thursday, May 10, 2012

Juniper Systems Mesa torture test video on YouTube


Juniper Systems posted a new video compilation of outrageous torture testing of its Mesa Rugged Notepad on YouTube. You have to see this to believe it. [See Juniper Systems Mesa torture test video]
-- Posted Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Trimble introduces rugged smart GNSS timing antenna
At CTIA Wireless 2012, Trimble introduced its latest generation of timing receivers, the Acutime GG smart antenna with multi-Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) capabilities. Slightly larger than a baseball and housed in a rugged, sealed enclosure, the Acutime GG provides a pulse-per-second (PPS) output synchronized to UTC within 15 nanoseconds. The Acutime GG can operate in extreme temperatures (-40 to +185 degrees Fahrenheit) and the kind of RF-jamming environments typically encountered at wireless network transmitter sites. -- Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rugged Computing Industry Discussion -- Part 2
Rugged Tablet PC company executives answer RuggedPCReview's questions about opportunities in the rugged and semi-rugged tablet market as a result of the iPad's popularity. In Part 2, the Handheld Group and Motion Computing answer the questions. [Read Rugged Computing Industry Discussion - Part 2] -- Posted Monday, May 7, 2012

RuggedPCReview.com archives revamped
Need to know what happened in the summer of 2007 in the rugged computing world? Or in November of 2009? Easy. At RuggedPCReview.com we're archiving all of our news by month so that you have easy access to it. And we've now just redesigned our main archive page. Check it out! [See RuggedPCReview.com Archives] -- Posted Thursday, May 3, 2012

The gulf between consumer and vertical market smartphones
Almost everyone has a smartphone these days. Smartphones are selling by the tens of millions every quarter. In Q1 of 2012, Apple and Samsung sold over 30 million smartphones each. Smartphones have become part of modern life. Everyone is tapping, pinching and zooming. Everyone except those who need a rugged smartphone. Because there isn't one. Now to be fair, there are rugged smartphones ... [read more] -- Posted Thursday, May 3, 2012

Casio's latest rugged high-tech watch
Casio has long been building some of the best rugged watches, and the new Pro Trek PRG550 is among the best ones yet. It keeps Atomic time, runs on solar power, can handle 330 feet of water, temperatures down to 14F, has a digital compass as well as an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. Available starting June 2012 for about US$300. [See Casio Pro Trek site] -- Posted Thursday, May 3, 2012

Panasonic and Toshiba exiting notebook fan business?
Digitimes states that Panasonic and Toshiba are losing interest in notebook fan production, with customers only from Japan-based notebook brand vendors. Not all of Panasonic's rugged Toughbooks need fans, but some do, and Panasonic has always prided itself in making virtually all components itself. With fans being one of the most failure-prone parts, no longer making their own fans may have an impact on overall failure rates. [See Digitimes article] -- Posted Thursday, May 3, 2012

UK Ministry of Defense to use Trimble GeoManager
Trimble announced it is partnering with Babcock, a UK engineering support services organization that provides and manages the fleet of approximately 14,000 administrative vehicles for the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD). As part of a four-year agreement, Babcock will use Trimble's GeoManager field service management solutions to equip the MoD with tools to more efficiently manage its fleet utilization, fuel consumption and driver safety. [See Trimble GeoManager GPS Fleet Management page] -- Posted Thursday, May 3, 2012

MobileDemand on rugged Tablet PC systems used in aerospace and defense
MobileDemand posted a brief description and analysis of rugged Tablet PCs used in aerospace and defense applications in its Ruggedized Computing Blog. The entry lists the capabilities those two fields require from device manufacturers. [See Rugged Tablet PC Systems Used in Aerospace and Defense] -- Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2012

United Flower Growers increases accuracy by 90% with Motion Computing Tablet PCs
British Columbia-based United Flower Growers is a Dutch-style auction that sells over 50 million stems of flowers and more than a million potted plants per year. Each morning, truckloads of flowers and plants arrive at UFG's 26 loading bays where they are visually inspected for quality. Sales data is scanned into custom software using Motion Computing F5v Tablet PCs, dramatically reducing manual input errors by 90%, which translates to a considerable cost savings. Motion Tablet PCs are also starting to be used in other areas of the operation, where UFG expects to increase efficiency by up to 40%. [See Motion Computing press release] -- Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ecom and Intermec announce intrinsically safe rugged handheld
ecom instruments Inc. and Intermec announced a new intrinsically safe handheld mobile computer for use in hazardous environments that include oil refineries and drilling platforms, petrochemical, pharmaceutical production, agriculture processing and other explosion-classified environments. The new i.roc Ci70 -Ex, which is based on the Intermec 70 series platform, is the first product offering resulting from the partnership between Intermec and ecom announced in late 2011. The i.roc Ci70 -Ex will be exclusively sold and distributed by ecom. -- Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Intermec Q1 2012 revenues flat, CEO Pat Byrne departs
Intermec reported Q1 2012 revenues of US$179.7 million with a net loss of US$16.4 million, compared to Q1 2011 revenues of US$178.5 million and net loss of US$6.1 million. While North America revenues increased 17%, most foreign revenue declined. Intermec also announced the departure of CEO Patrick Byrne and his replacement, on an interim basis, with Chairman of the Board Allen J. Lauer. [See Intermec press release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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