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

May 2017

Added: Cipherlab RS50 rugged Android touch computer
Lots of businesses are finding out that while having modern smartphone technology on the job is a good thing, using regular consumer phones isn't, even if they're in a case. That's what truly rugged devices like the Cipherlab RS50 Series are for. 4.7-inch glove/wet multi-touch, Android 6.0, octa-core CPU, 6-foot drop spec, industrial-grade scanning. [See RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Cipherlab RS50 Series] -- Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Janam teams with Technology Recovery Group to help enterprise customers maximize their mobility ROI
Janam Technologies LLC, a leading provider of rugged mobile computers that scan barcodes and communicate wirelessly, announced today that it has partnered with Technology Recovery Group (TRG), a leading hardware solutions provider in the mobile computing and barcoding industry, to provide customers with the greatest return on their hardware investment. Together, Janam and TRG deliver highest quality rugged mobile computers, service and support to enable companies of all sizes to save money, reduce downtime and ultimately improve efficiency across their organization. [See Janam press release] -- Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Xplore reports fiscal 2017 financials
Xplore Technologies reported financials for all of their fiscal 2017 that ended ended March 31, 2016. For the entire fiscal year 2016, Xplore reported record revenues of US$77.9 million, down from US$100.5 million for fiscal 2016. There was net loss of US$2.6 million for the full year, compared with a net loss of US$0.36 million in 2016. Xplore reported revenue of $16.9 million for fiscal Q4, 2017, compared to $20.6 million in the year-ago fourth quarter. CEO Mark Holleran stated: “Fiscal 2017 was a transformative year for Xplore, characterized by fully integrating and refining the acquired Motion product lines, working through industry-wide disruptions that affected our first and fourth fiscal quarters, rebuilding of our sales team and a 21% reduction in full-year operating expenses. [See Xplore financials release] -- Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Winmate 2017 focus and 2016 financials
DigiTimes reports that In the second half of 2017, WinMate — a maker of ruggedized tablets, industrial panel PCs — will focus on car inspection solutions, logistics solutions and Industry 4.0-based automation. DigiTimes also reported that WinMate posted consolidated revenues of NT$1.347 billion (US$43.5 million) and net profit of NT$184.3 million (US$5.95 million) for 2016. -- Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Initial impressions of an Apple Watch holdout
So I finally got an Apple Watch. Series 2, the one that's waterproof and has onboard GPS. I chose the larger one with the 42mm screen. When you need reading glasses every millimeter counts. That meant a $400 investment for a bottom-of-the-line watch with the aluminum case (as compared to the much more expensive stainless steel and ceramic ones). I picked space-gray with a black Nike sport band. And here's how it's been going so far. [Read Initial impressions of an Apple Watch holdout] -- Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Credit card-sized Intel Compute Card modular platform
Much of embedded computing is based on modular CPU boards that plug into carrier boards. This approach allows easy scaling and future-proofing of systems as only the CPU module needs to be replaced for more performance or new technology. Intel is now taking the approach a step farther, with their new Intel Compute Card that has roughly the footprint of a credit card. Coming with a variety of Intel 7th gen Core processors, the Compute Card still plug into a carrier dock, but that's tiny, too, at just 5.8 x 2.4 x 0.8 inches. These might well be suitable for all sorts of interesting mobile applications. [See Intel Compute Card press kit] -- Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Intel announces Core i9 processor family
It's been Core i3/i5/i7 — good/better/best — for quite a few years now with Intel's Core processor families. But now Intel has announced a new high-end, the Core i9 Extreme Edition processor family. We're talking up to 18 cores and 36 threads, with a price to match, US$1,999 for the top-of-the-line Core i9-7980XE chip alone. These, of course, are strictly desktop processors; even the low end of the announced i9 chips has a thermal design power of 140 watts. [See Intel news fact sheet] -- Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Walk down Memory Lane: Panasonic Factory Visit, 2002
Back in 2002, was still Pen Computing Magazine. Then as now, Panasonic was the marketshare leader in rugged notebooks, and we had reviewed every one of their legendary early Toughbooks. A decade earlier Panasonic had realized that selling commodity PCs was a thankless business and so they decided to identify niche markets and eventually specialized on corporate and ruggedized notebook sales to government, corporate and vertical markets. The result was the Toughbook, one of mobile computing's great success stories. We were invited to Japan in 2002 for an exclusive factory tour, and the result was a feature in the October 2002 issue of Pen Computing Magazine, entitled "Tough as Nails: Panasonic Toughbook — A high tech success story" -- Posted Monday, May 29, 2017

Full review: Handheld Algiz 8X ultra-rugged Windows tablet has completed a full review of the Handheld Group's Algiz X8 rugged Windows 10 tablet, designed for modern field workers who require a compact, powerful tablet computer for mobile tasks. Powered by a Intel "Braswell" N3710 quad-core processor, the fanless Algiz 8X has a bright (600+ nits) 1280 x 800 pixel 8-inch procap wet/glove-capable multi-touch display with optional active pen support, can handle extreme environmental conditions, and provides extensive onboard connectivity and a "backpack" system for custom features. [See full review of the Handheld Group's Algiz 8X] -- Posted Friday, May 26, 2017

Continuity of “Care”: What Field Service is Missing without Mobility
No one wants to be “that guy”. The field service professional that can’t answer a simple customer inquiry until they get “back to the office” and are sitting in front of a computer. Or, worse, the contractor that delays a customer quote – or even the service itself – another week because they don’t have the right tools or information access to follow through right then and there. Yet, this is a regular occurrence. [See Xplore Technology blog ] -- Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2017

ESRI’s ArcNews: Taking GIS to the Field and Back
Juniper Systems reports that ESRI, a leader in mapping and spatial analytics software, has recently provided an article covering old vs. new methods of mapping on their ArcNews page. This article works to explain how ESRI’s software comes together to create a seamless mapping workflow from field to office. [See Juniper Systems blog entry and the article] -- Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2017

History repeats itself: it's now the Surface Laptop
So the long awaited Microsoft Surface Pro 5 has finally been unveiled as the "new Surface Pro." In its media release, Microsoft calls it "the next generation of the iconic product line and the most versatile laptop on the planet. The new Surface Pro delivers the most performance and battery life in a laptop that is this thin, light and quiet." [ more] -- Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ARBOR releases new industrial Panel PCs with Intel 6th Gen Skylake Platform
ARBOR Technology, a leading provider of embedded computing solutions, is pleased to announce the newly launched ARBOR ASLAN-W9xxC Series, an expansion to its acclaimed ASLAN series industrial Panel PC. The ASLAN-W9xxC Series is powered by a 2.4GHz Intel® Core i5-6300U™ processor, and supports 4GB DDR4 SO-DIMM system memory. Based on Intel’s 6th Gen Skylake Core processor platform, the series provides low power consumption and plenty of performance for demanding applications and multitasking. [See ARBOR media release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Panasonic recalls 280,000 tablet PC battery packs due to fire risk
The Japan Times reports that Panasonic is recalling nearly 280,000 battery packs used in its tablet PCs after multiple reports that they have burst into flames. The electronics maker said it received 16 reports of the battery pack used in rugged-use FZ-G1 tablets having combusted between March 2015 and this April, including 12 in North America and one in Japan. It received no reports of injuries. [See Japan Times article and Panasonic FZ-G1 Mk1-2-3 Product Issue page] -- Posted Monday, May 22, 2017

Panasonic announces Toughbook 33 in the US
Panasonic US announced the Toughbook 33, a 2-in-1 device that the company calls a fully rugged detachable laptop. The Intel Kaby Lake-powered (Skylake for those who want to run Windows 7) 12-inch CF-33 will be the replacement of the venerable Panasonic Toughbook CF-31 that, against rising competition, had ruled the rugged laptop roost for a good many years. Pricing starts at US$3,649. [See Panasonic press release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Panasonic Toughbook 33] -- Posted Friday, May 19, 2017

Added: Honeywell CK75 ultra-rugged, dual OS-capable data collection handheld
Earlier this year, Honeywell AIDC introduced the CK75 ultra-rugged data collection handheld geared towards increasing efficiency and productivity across supply chains. The CK75 is a flashlight-style data collection handheld available with either Windows Embedded Handheld or Android. The CK75 is a new version of the Intermec CK71 (Intermec became part of Honeywell in 2012). The new version comes with tech updates and the capability to run either legacy Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 or Android 6.x.x "marshmallow." [See RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Honeywell CK75] -- Posted Thursday, May 18, 2017

Janam appoints new sales leader for Latin America
Janam Technologies LLC, a leading provider of rugged mobile computers that scan barcodes and communicate wirelessly, announced today that Jorge Guerra has joined the company to lead its Latin America sales operations. This new appointment underscores Janam's continued commitment to the Latin America region and the company's focus on driving innovation in high growth markets. [See Janam press release] -- Posted Thursday, May 18, 2017

Association lays groundwork for a Universal Digital Ink Framework
To accelerate the growth of the digital stationery ecosystem, the Digital Stationery Consortium, Inc. (DSC), today announced that industry PC leader Fujitsu Client Computing Limited has joined the DSC at the Contributor level, the first tier of membership in the organization. The DSC also announced the formation of three new working groups to ensure a coordinated, industry-led effort to advance and promote digital stationery experiences more broadly. DSC Contributor members — Fujitsu Client Computing Limited, Montblanc, Samsung, and Wacom — will leverage these working groups in their efforts to establish digital ink as universal, open and smart content format based on the Wacom Ink Layer Language (WILL) [See DSC press release] -- Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dominium dramatically improves operational efficiency with Zebra mobile computing solution
Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), a global leader in providing solutions and services that give enterprises real-time visibility into their operations, and Emkat Solutions, Inc., a Zebra PartnerConnect partner, today announced that Dominium, one of the nation's largest affordable housing development and management companies, selected Zebra's Android-based TC55 touch mobile computers to replace its manual task operations The innovative solution helped Dominium cut administrative work order time in half; while also streamlining communications between staff and reducing work order processing and apartment inspection times - generating more than $525,000 in annual efficiency gains. Ultimately, the solution enabled Dominium to better serve residents. [See Zebra press release and RuggedPCReview's coverage of the Zebra TC5X Series] -- Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Apple second quarter 2017 financials
Apple reported that it sold 50.8 million iPhones, 8.9 million iPads, and 4.2 million Macs in its fiscal 2017 second quarter that ended April 1, 2017. Total revenue for the quarter was US$52.9 billion, up 4.6% from a year ago. Net profit for the quarter was US$11 billion, slightly up from US$10.5 billion same quarter last year. [See Apple financials Q2/2017] -- Posted Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hoover picks Panasonic Toughpad tablets to support its service and repair engineers
To deliver on its vision of world class customer service with industry leading service and repairs, Hoover is upgrading its field service application and replacing the mobile devices its engineers use with Panasonic Toughpad tablets. Hoover decided to upgrade its existing FieldAssist service management application to the latest Windows 10 version and develop its own bespoke modifications to meet its needs. The upgrade also provided Hoover with the opportunity to re-examine its choice of mobile device for the engineers. [See Panasonic press release] -- Posted Thursday, May 11, 2017

Zebra Technologies announces first-quarter results
Zebra Technologies announced results for the first quarter ended April 1, 2017. GAAP net sales were US$865 million in the first quarter of 2017 compared to US$849 million in the first quarter of 2016. Net income for the first quarter of 2017 was US$8 million, compared to a net loss of $26 million for the first quarter of 2016. “During the quarter, our team extended Zebra’s leadership through superior execution of our strategy. As a result, we drove better-than-expected first quarter sales performance in our Enterprise segment and achieved earnings per share near the top end of our guidance range. We also retired another $80 million of debt, keeping us on track for at least $300 million of pay down for the full-year,” said Anders Gustafsson, chief executive officer of Zebra Technologies. [See Zebra press release] -- Posted Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Complete Tablet Solutions awarded sixth Texas DIR Contract
Complete Tablet Solutions (CTS) is an Austin, TX-based company focused on delivering productivity-enabling technologies as an approved vendor on Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) Cooperative Contracts Programs since 2013, holding six contracts and listed on two additional OEM DIR contracts. CTS is authorized to sell various rugged computer hardware, tablet computers, situational awareness software peripherals, accessories and deployment services, to DIR customers, delivered as a comprehensive solution. [See CTS press release] -- Posted Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Full review: ARBOR ASLAN W900C Series of capacitive multi-touch high-performance industrial Panel PCs
Industrial panel PCs used to be found mostly on shop floors and similar utilitarian applications. But now we're seeing a new generation of panel computers with the same effortless capacitive multi-touch as smartphones and tablets, the same power as high-end laptops and tablets, and attractive, contemporary design. RuggedPCReview examined a 10-inch and a 21.5-inch version of ARBOR Technology's line of Intel "Skylake"-powered wide-screen panel PCs and we came away impressed. [See review of the ARBOR ASLAN W900C Series of modern industrial panel PCs] -- Posted Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Juniper Systems: Which RFID reader option is best for you?
In their latest blog Juniper Systems says a common question they get is "Which RFID frequency should I use?" The answer, they say, is usually "it depends" as everyone's needs are different. So Juniper lists eight questions they'd ask any prospective customer. The answers help providing the tools a customer needs, without overpaying for features that would't be useful for them. [See Which RFID reader option is best for you?] -- Posted Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Zebra Technologies Named to CRN's Mobility 100 List
Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), a global leader in providing solutions and services that give enterprises real-time visibility into their operations, today announced that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Zebra to its 2017 Mobility 100 list as one of the "Coolest Mobile Hardware Vendors." This list recognizes the influential contributions of vendors bringing to market innovative mobile products and services. [See Zebra press release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Getac ZX70 fully rugged tablet simplifies one-handed operation for mobile field professionals
Engineered to meet the growing needs of mobile transportation and field service professionals, the new Getac ZX70 is a 7" fully rugged Android tablet designed for comfortable one-handed use in remote and challenging environments. Rugged to the core, its IP67 and MIL-STD 810G certification with best-in-class battery life allow it to go wherever you need it to. The ZX70 is also protected by Getac's industry-leading three-year, bumper-to-bumper warranty. [See Getac press release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Getac ZX70] -- Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Intelligent communications as a service to help Caribbean first responders with their mission
Motorola Solutions introduces at the 32nd Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP), Intelligent Communications as a Service. This service model gives public safety and emergency response agencies access to public safety mobile applications as a recurrent subscription for easy deployment so they can respond more efficiently to the needs of the community. [See Motorola Solutions media release] -- Posted Friday, May 5, 2017

Crystal Group showcases rugged computer for IoT and autonomous driving systems at AUVSI XPONENTIAL
Crystal Group, a leading designer/manufacturer of rugged computer hardware, will highlight its rugged computer for autonomous driving systems and IoT applications at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's XPONENTIAL, May 9-11, 2017, in booth #1516 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. [See Crystal Group media release] -- Posted Friday, May 5, 2017

Advantech reports decreased sales, earnings for 1Q17
According to DigiTimes, Advantech has reported net profits of NT$1.205 billion (US$40.11 million) for the first quarter of 2017, down 15.2% on quarter and 8% on year. Advantech posted revenues of NT$10 billion (US$332 million) in the first quarter, down 7.4% sequentially and 0.67% on year. -- Posted Thursday, May 4, 2017

What happened in rugged computing 5 years ago: May 2012
In May 2012, with Windows 8 getting closer, we reviewed Winmate's M970D rugged Windows tablet, and noted that Android may finally get traction in vertical markets. Juniper Systems partnered with SDG to produce Android version of the Mesa Rugged Notepad. The Houston PD announced it would outfit the city's 1,800 police cruisers with Getac B300 rugged notebook computers. A jury decided Google's Android did not infringe on Oracle's patents. DRS Tactical Systems announces two new lightweight 7-inch multi-touch tablets. DLI announced the 9.7-inch DLI 9000 Windows or Android tablet. Psion received a positive rating in a Gartner rugged handheld report. RIM announced approval of BlackBerry 7 smartphones for U.S. DoD networks. RuggedPCReview reported on the widening gulf between consumer and vertical market handhelds. ecom and Intermec announced the i.roc Ci70 -Ex intrinsically safe rugged handheld. Omnivision unveiled a 12.7mp still/1080p@60fps video sensor that we said we'd like to see in ruggedized professional handhelds and tablets. [See May 2012 RuggedPCReview archives] -- Posted Thursday, May 4, 2017

Xplore fulfills follow-on order for ultra-rugged tablets from leading global automotive manufacturer
Xplore Technologies announced that one of the world's leading automotive manufacturers has equipped workers in one of its new U.S. body shops with Xplore's ultra-rugged XC6 tablet PCs as part of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar mobility initiative. The long-time global customer is utilizing the vibration-proof, shock-proof, waterproof, and dustproof industrial-grade tablets on forklifts in support of multiple logistics activities, including materials handling, shop floor tasks, and maintenance. They have also installed Xplore's secure vehicle docking systems third-party forklift mounts and DC power converters as part of the total Xplore-engineered mobility solution. Additional screen black-out software has been installed for safe rugged tablet use while the forklifts are in transit. [See Xplore media release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Sparton introduces wide-temperature rugged Mini PCs
Sparton Corporation, which makes industrial rugged computer and peripherals under the brand, has launched a pair of fanless rugged Mini PCs. The LPC-815 and LPC-835 provide an extended -13 to 158F operating temperature range and are designed for a variety of demanding environments and applications. The LPC-815 fits in the palm of a hand and weighs just 1.9 pounds. The LPC-835 adds higher performance with Intel 5th Gen Core i5 or i7 mobile processors, dual drives, and expanded I/O ports. [See Sparton media release] -- Posted Monday, May 1, 2017

Motorola Solutions expands push-to-talk mobile offerings with Kodiak Networks acquisition
Motorola Solutions announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Kodiak Networks, a privately held provider of broadband push-to-talk (PTT) for commercial customers. Kodiak partners with mobile network operators globally to offer its cloud-based PTT solution and management platform, which delivers clear, reliable, instant performance over 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, and 3G networks. The acquisition of Kodiak adds a complementary, carrier-integrated PTT-over-cellular solution to Motorola Solutions’ existing WAVE PTT portfolio, which today includes solutions for high-performance PTT and flexible, “over-the-top” broadband PTT. [See media release] -- Posted Monday, May 1, 2017

SMART announces 8 Terabyte rugged MLC Solid State Drive
SMART High Reliability Solutions, a provider of current and next-gen solid-state storage solutions specializing in ruggedized, high-performance and high-capacity solid-state drives ("SSDs") for defense, aerospace and industrial markets, announced its new 8TB HRS-M1HC 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s SSD. The M1HC is designed for land, air and sea applications where collecting and storing large amounts of mission critical information is essential. Available in capacities of 1, 2, 4 and 8 Terabytes, M1HC SSDs operate at altitudes of up to 100,000 feet, can handle operating temperatures of -40 to 85 degrees Celsius, and withstand shock and vibration up to 1000g. [See SMART media release and product comparison chart] -- Posted Monday, May 1, 2017

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    The editor and co-founder of Pen Computing Magazine launched late 2005 as a website dedicated to providing news and information about rugged mobile computer technology and its applications. The site aims to be an industry clearinghouse for rugged computing equipment hardware reviews as well as an information source on rugged computing terminology, definitions, testing, and enabling technologies.

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