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

July 2014

Added: Unitech PA700 rugged Android handheld
The Unitech PA700 is a rugged industrial handheld with a large 4.7-inch 1280 x 700 pixel high-res capacitive multi-touch display. Running Android 4.1.1 on a 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4470 processor, the Unitech PA700 can be equipped with a 1D scanner or 2D imager as well as an RFID reader/writer. The IP65-sealed device can handle 4-foot drops, has a wide operating temperature range, and was designed to meld contemporary smartphone functionality and ease of use with industrial-grade data capture and durability. [See description, analysis and specs of the Unitech PA700] -- Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014

HP unveils the first Android-powered laptop
Though Android dominates the smartphone market and has a very strong position in tablets, until now Google's OS platform was not available for desktops and conventional notebooks (the Chromebook with its limited offline functionality doesn't really count). That has now changed with the new HP SlateBook, a full-function, quad-core Tegra 4-powered notebook with a 14-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel 10-point multi-touch screen, and running Android 4.3. The Slatebook weighs 3.7 pounds, offers up to 9 hours of battery life from its 32 WHr battery, has USB 3.0 and HDMI, 16GB of eMMC storage, a full-size keyboard, and starts at US$429. It's not a rugged product, but Android availability on desktops and laptops may change everything. [See HP SlateBook page and spec sheet] -- Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014

Winmate posts video on warehouse inventory management
Check out Winmate's newly posted inventory management application video featuring their rugged M101B tablet. Someone was seriously playing with 3D software! [See Winmate video on YouTube] -- Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Allegro CX -- Tale of one tough rugged handheld
The latest Juniper Systems blog reports how a log scaler in Idaho became instrumental in saving lives in a big-rig accident that also involved a fierce fire, and how the log scaler's old Juniper Allegro CX rugged handheld, running Elecdata log scaling software, became partially melted, but still worked after the event (which had a good ending). [See One Log Scaler’s Heroic Tale – And One Tough Handheld!] -- Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New RhoMobile Suite 5.0 offers developer-friendly pricing
Motorola Solutions announced the release of RhoMobile Suite 5.0. RhoMobile is a set of application development tools for creating OS- and device-agnostic enterprise-class mobile apps that now offers per-developer subscription pricing in an effort to allows developers to compare plans and use RhoMobile’s framework to deliver enterprise-class mobile applications without restrictions. [See new RhoMobile pricing structure] -- Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New disinfectant-ready Symbol CS4070-HC brings enterprise-class wireless bar code scanning to healthcare workers
Motorola Solutions unveiled the new disinfectant-ready Symbol CS4070-HC wireless handheld Bluetooth scanner which provides nurses and lab technicians with the ability to scan 1D/2D bar codes at the patient bedside to help prevent errors in medication administration and specimen collection. The CS4070, which has a full-shift battery, can easily pair with in-room computers, laptops, tablets and workstations-on-wheels. [See Motorola press release and CS4070 product page] -- Posted Monday, July 28, 2014

Advances in capacitive touch and passive capacitive pens just finished reviewing the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1, and we ended up calling it a "milestone product" because of its novel and unique passive capacitive stylus that can greatly increase productivity because it allows for far greater precision when using the Windows desktop than touch alone or earlier capacitive pens. This article describes the past and current situation of touch in rugged tablet computers, and why the technology employed by Panasonic in the FZ-M1 is so relevant. [Read Advances in capacitive touch and passive capacitive pens] -- Posted Saturday, July 26, 2014

Winmate rugged Panel PCs now available with Haswell power
Winmate announced that their rugged Panel PCs are now available with Intel "Haswell" 4th generation Core processors. This includes panel mounts, front-IP65, chassis frame or full open frame designs with diagonal screen sizes of 15.6, 19 or 21.5 inches. [See list of Winmate Haswell Panel PCs] -- Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014

Datalogic opens Brazil manufacturing facility
Datalogic announced it is inaugurating its new 23,680-sf manufacturing operation in Brazil, their first in Latin America. Located in Jundiai in the state of São Paulo, the plant assembles selected Automatic Data Capture product lines. Brazil is the sixth largest economy in the world. [See Datalogic press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014

Streetboro PD chooses Getac F110 tablets
The Streetsboro Gateway News reports that the Streetboro police department will get Getac F110 tablets for its police cruisers. It's a small deployment, but a spokesman's argument for tablets instead of notebooks is interesting: "There is not much change at this point in how the officers interact with the tablet vs. the laptop. However, we feel the tablets will last longer because there are no moving parts. There is no lid with hinges, and they have solid state drives instead of hard drives." [See Streetboro Gateway News article] -- Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cornell uses industrial-grade ADLINK COM Express module for underwater robot
ADLINK Technology, which provides cloud-based services, intelligent gateways, and embedded building blocks for Internet of Things (IoT) projects, announced its sponsorship of the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (CUAUV) team's entry into the 17th Annual International RoboSub Competition held at the Space and Naval Warfare Command Research facility in San Diego, CA. The CUAUV's Gemini submarine is powered by ADLINK's Express-HL COM Express computer-on-module with a 4th gen quad-core Intel Core™ i7 processor. [See ADLINK press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1
Panasonic's Toughpad FZ-M1 is a fully rugged Intel Core i5-based Windows tablet with a 1280 x 800 pixel 7-inch IPS capacitive multi-touch display that can handle gloves and liquids. Highly configurable via a bolt-on I/O module, the 1.25-pound Toughpad delivers impressive performance with its Y-Series Haswell chip, and its novel capacitive pen completely redefines the state-of-the-art. [See full review of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1] -- Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Juniper Archer 2 Torture Video -- A behind-the-scenes look
Those nice, friendly people at Juniper Systems in Logan, Utah, can be really mean and twisted when it comes to testing their own rugged handhelds. And they even document their cruel and unusual treatment of their fine technology that surely deserves better than beaten up, clubbed, stepped on, scratched, tossed and run over. For a behind the scenes look at how they abused an Archer 2 handheld for a YouTube video, see Behind-the-Scenes Look – Archer 2 Torture Video. -- Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Xplore Technologies blog's latest
Recent entries at the very active Xplore Technologies blog cover the manufacturing industry excelling with a mobile workforce, how agricultural industry is relying more on mobile technology, how the oil and gas industry is managing big data with rugged tablets, and there's also a new white paper on Android or iOS in the enterprise. -- Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Microsoft enhances security vehicle fleet with automated rugged video solution using Getac B300 rugged notebooks
Microsoft Global Security (MSGS) officers spent too much time monitoring and enforcing parking policies on Microsoft corporate campuses. To address this challenge, MSGS worked with IRSA Video to customize an automated License Plate Recognition solution. Security officers interact with the system through the Getac B300 Ultra Rugged Notebook that runs IRSA-authored client software on Windows 8.1. Officers complete tasks in minutes that used to take hours. Return on investment took only 20 months. [See case study "Microsoft Enhances Security Vehicle Fleet with Automated, Rugged Video Solution"] -- Posted Monday, July 21, 2014

Datalogic announces preliminary Q2 2014 financials
Datalogic announced preliminary sales revenues for Q2 2014 of 115.8 million Euro, roughly the same as they were for Q2 of 2013. Of the divisions, Automated Data Capture, which includes Datalogic's mobile computers, did 76.8 million Euro, up 6.8% from the same quarter last year. Industrial Automation did 32.1 million Euro, down 13.4% from the same quarter last year. Informatics showed 6.9 million Euro, down from 8 million same quarter last year. [See Datalogic financials press release] -- Posted Friday, July 18, 2014

Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs, mostly at Nokia
Microsoft announced a restructuring plan to simplify its organization and align the recently acquired Nokia Devices and Services business with the company’s overall strategy. These steps will result in the elimination of up to 18,000 positions over the next year. Of the total, about 12,500 professional and factory positions will be eliminated through synergies and strategic alignment of the Nokia Devices and Services business acquired by Microsoft on April 25. [See Microsoft press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014

Case study: Winmate rugged tablets in vehicle diagnostics
Almost all of our automotive systems are being controlled and monitored by computers. To improve the quality and reduce errors in these systems, Automotive OEMs and suppliers are requiring good diagnostic tools to detect and discover any failures which appear in automotive systems. When Daimler was looking to upgrade their vehicle diagnostic equipment. Winmate’s next generation 8.4” tablet running Windows 7 was the perfect tool for the job. [See Winmate rugged tablets in vehicle diagnostics] -- Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014

Western Farmers Electric Cooperative equips field techs with Motion rugged tablets for GIS mobile solution
Motion Computing announced that Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC) has improved operational accountability and reporting by extending its Esri geospatial information system (GIS) into the field onto Motion Rugged Tablets with Blue Dot Mobile Field Service Solutions. Motion and WFEC will share details on the successful project at the Esri International Users Conference July 14-18 in San Diego. [See Motion press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014

Swiss-made Intel BayTrail rugged embedded computer
MPL AG of Switzerland introduced the ultra compact CEC family of rugged embedded computers in a 6.4 x 4.65 x 2.44 inch case and powered by an Intel Bay Trail E3800 processor. Precision-built for robustness, the highest reliability, long-term availability of 10 years, lowest power consumption, extended temperature (-40°F to 185°F), fanless operation, and easy expansion, the CEC line is targeted at task ranging from simple monitoring, up to more demanding communication, controlling, and visualization jobs where reliability is key. [See MPL press release] -- Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Winmate adds wide-screen Panel PCs to Bay Trail lineup
Winmate announced the addition of several new wide-screen products into their Intel Bay Trail-based Panel PC lineup. The new models have 15.5 (1366 x 768 pixel), 18.5 (1366 x 768 pixel) and 19-inch (1440 x 900 pixel) displays and use the Bay Trail 1.83GHz Intel Celeron N2930 processor with the Bay Trail SoC chipset and Intel HD Graphics. Each size screen is available in one of Winmate's three housing options: IP65 front-sealed, chassis or panel mount, or open frame. [See Winmate wide-screen Panel PC product page] -- Posted Monday, July 14, 2014

Avalue introduces new Intel Bay Trail based embedded systems
Avalue Technology — a global embedded solution provider and associate member of the Intel Internet of Things Solutions Alliance — unveiled a new Intel Atom E3800 and Celeron J1900 product family of embedded systems, including the EMS-BYT and EPC-BYT Tiny Box PCs, and the ASM-BYT ultra-slim PC. -- Posted Monday, July 14, 2014

Zebra acquisition of Motorola Solutions passes hurdle
Zebra Technologies, which makes marking and printing products, announced that the required waiting period under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 has expired, with respect to Zebra's agreement to acquire the Enterprise business of Motorola Solutions. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2014, subject to closing conditions and remaining regulatory approvals. [See Zebra press release] -- Posted Monday, July 14, 2014

Added: Data Ltd. DLI 9008
With the DLI 9008, Data Ltd offers a remarkably light and handy, yet still rugged, Intel Bay Trail-powered tablet computer primarily intended for retail and hospitality deployment. The DLI 9008 has a 8-inch indoor/outdoor 1024 x 768 XGA display with projected capacitive touch. Note the innovative 5-in-1 module that attaches to the back of the tablet and offers scanning, RFID, MSR, keypad, and smart card reading. [See description, analysis and specs of the Data Ltd DLI 9008] -- Posted Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: Advantech MIO-5271 MI/O Extension Single Board Computer offers Haswell performance in a fanless package
Advantech's MI/O Extension standard provides embedded IoT and intelligent systems developers the ability to add virtually any type and combination of I/O to very compact CPU boards. We examined the cost-efficient Advantech MIO-5271 that comes with a choice of two haswell processors (Celeron 2980U or Core i5-4300U). With the Core i5, the 5.7 x 4 inch board has performance comparable to a high-end rugged mobile tablet or notebook. Impressive. [See review of the Advantech MIO-5271 MI/O-Compact Single Board Computer] -- Posted Thursday, July 10, 2014

Datalogic adds special healthcare version of its Elf PDA
Datalogic added the Elf Healthcare PDA, which clads the (otherwise mostly unchanged) legacy Elf electronics into a chemically resistant plastic enclosure that won't get harmed by most major cleaning agents. The Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5-based Elf Healthcare PDA is equipped with the Datalogic patented "Green Spot" and a vibrating alert providing good read feedback while avoiding noisy beeps. [See Datalogic Elf Healthcare product page] -- Posted Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Panasonic updates Toughpad FZ-G1 10-inch rugged Windows tablet with Haswell and complementary technology
Panasonic announced upgrades to the Toughpad FZ-G1 fully-rugged 10-inch tablet. They include a move to a quicker 4th gen Intel "Haswell" Core i5, Windows 8.1 Pro, better battery life (up to 10 hours), an optional bridge battery, improved multi-touch that can handle rain and gloves, optional self-encrypting drives, a much higher resolution camera (8mp vs. 3mp), faster WiFi, optional UHF RFID and contactless smart card reader. The original FZ-G1 scored some of the best benchmark numbers we'd seen, and these tech upgrades make it even quicker. [See Panasonic press release and our updated FZ-G1 review] -- Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Xplore gets initial PO from leading U.S. railroad company
Xplore Technologies announced that it has secured its first purchase order of more than half a million dollars for its Bobcat tablets from a leading U.S. railroad transportation company. The railroad selected the fully-rugged Bobcat to help achieve cost savings and increased mobility in its yard operations by consolidating from a two-device model to a one device operation. [See Xplore press release and our Xplore Bobcat review] -- Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Troy Design & Manufacturing Company improves real-time visibility, automation with Motorola Solutions RFID technology
Motorola Solutions reports that Troy Design & Manufacturing, a Ford Motor Company subsidiary, is using Motorola FX9500 fixed RFID readers and AN200 RFID antennas integrated with Lowry Solutions work-in-process manufacturing software, TDM's "hands-off" RFID solution tracks vehicles from the moment they enter their cells and monitors and guides each step of its more than 150 daily vehicle conversions. Plant floor operations are much more fluid with reliable automated data capture, and the system is providing further insights into the facility’s conversion capabilities. [See press release and case study] -- Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Added: Panasonic rugged 5-inch Toughpads FZ-E1 and FZ-X1
Added: description, specs and analysis of Panasonic's new rugged 5-inch enterprise-class handheld tablet platform available in both Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld (the Toughpad FZ-E1) and Android 4.2.2 (the Toughpad FZ-X1) versions. Externally virtually identical but with slightly different electronics, both versions have 14-hour hot-swappable batteries, FIPS 140-2 Level 1 security, and sunlight-readable HD capacitive 1280 x 720 pixel touchscreens that work with gloves. The devices can survive drops up to ten feet, are IP65/IP68 sealed, and can handle extreme temperatures. There's 802.11ac WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, dual cameras, optional 4G LTE, barcode scanner, MSR and more. Pricing starts at US$1,799 for the Android version and US$1,899 for the WEH 8.1 version. [See description, specs and analysis of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-E1 and Toughpad FZ-X1] -- Posted Monday, July 7, 2014

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solution highlights Parvus DuraCOR
In its latest mailing, Curtis-Wright Defense Solutions suggests jump-starting any technology upgrade program with the rugged DuraCOR mission computers from their Parvus division in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company stresses how the modular, COTS-based, subsystems eliminate NRE costs and reduce time-to-deployment. [See DuraCOR Mission Computers] -- Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014

Xplore secures additional orders
Xplore Technologies announced it has secured additional purchase orders of approximately $2.3 million for its iX104 ultra-rugged tablets from a leading natural gas provider to the southeastern United States, bringing the total amount purchased by the customer to approximately $4.3 million. -- Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014

Doyle Security successfully implements Mi-Corporation Mi-Forms mobile e-forms
Mi-Corporation, which is best known for its enterprise-class e-forms, announced that Doyle Security Systems is realizing significant expense control and productivity gains following the first four months using its new digital sales order entry system. Doyle Security Systems had successfully moved its entire paper-based sales order entry system to a digital system using Mi-Forms mobile forms software on iPads. [See Mi-Co video customer testimonial] -- Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Winmate newsletter: Use of rugged panel computers for visitor management in stadiums
Winmate's July 2nd newsletter demonstrates how rugged panel computers can be used for visitor management in stadiums and arenas where secure, rapid entry is important to the satisfaction of fans who enjoy not having to wait in line for extended periods. Winmate's highly configurable Bay Trail-powered 10.4" rugged panel pc can easily handle rain and extreme temperatures, making it ideal for the job. [See Winmate newsletter on rugged panel computers for visitor management in stadiums] -- Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What happend in rugged computing 5 years ago: July 2009
In July 2009, Intermec reported lower sales and a net loss for their Q2, but won a DOD Auto ID contract, introduced new printers, and equipped 7,500 Hermes couriers with CN3 handhelds. GammaTech released the Durabook D14RM, Data Ltd the DLI 8500, and Unitech the PA600HF rugged PDA. We benchmarked the Atom N270 vs the Z530 (both slow), predicted LED backlights to take over, reviewed the Datalogic R Series vehicle computers, the Winmate I880 rugged tablet, the Getac 9213 business-rugged laptop, and added Psion's entire line of vehicle-mounts. Motion put the superb Hydis AFFS+ screens in their C5/F5 tablets, Western Digital launched the first 2.5-inch terabyte drive, and we analyzed who actually makes rugged computers in an increasingly global marketplace. -- Posted Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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