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

August 2015

Review: Advantech ARK-2121L multiple I/O embedded Box PC
Industrial PCs used to be available either with expensive Intel Core processors or underachieving Atom chips. That's changed ever since Intel released the "Bay Trail" platform with much improved performance at reasonable prices. Beneficiaries are embedded Box PCs such as the Intel Celeron J1900-powered Advantech ARK-2121L that's available either in a base version that can be customized via iDoor or EMIO expansion modules, or three fully configured models for special markets. [See full review of the Advantech ARK-2121L] -- Posted Monday, August 31, 2015

ODMs interested to expand into lucrative rugged devices market where the average sales price and margins are higher
According to DigiTimes, notebook ODMs are very interested in expanding into the rugged device market where the average sales price is high (US$2,010 vs. US$400 for non-rugged devices). While the overall notebook market is flat and tablets are slipping, rugged notebooks with their higher prices and higher margins have seen a 10% shipment growth every year, attracting ODMs. Citing VDC Research figures, DigiTimes says rugged notebook and tablet shipments are expected to reach 820,000 units/US$1.65 billion in 2015, up 9.33% from 750,000 units in 2014 and the volume is expected to grow 7.31% on year to reach 880,000 units in 2016 and one million units in 2018. [DigiTimes media release] -- Posted Monday, August 31, 2015

Vehicle-to-external communication (V2X) systems to be massive market over next decade
Ruggedized mobile computing is increasingly entering new arenas. According to a report by Navigate Research that covers the market for connected vehicles, vehicle-to-external communications (V2X) communications technology will generate US$180 billion from now to 2025. Initially fueled by the quest for reduced vehicle emissions and increased driver safety, real-time information sharing between vehicles, drivers, and pedestrians, V2X will affect OEMs, hardware and software suppliers, regulators, and intelligent transportation infrastructure operators. [See Navigate Research media release] -- Posted Friday, August 28, 2015

Replacing the Atom N2600
Two or three years ago Intel's Atom N2600 was the upgrade of choice in many tablets and industrial systems where earlier Atom chips just didn't quite make it. Now it's the N2600's time to be replaced. Which chip will become the new ubiquitous go-to processor that provides a good balance of performance, features, and economy? [See Replacing the Atom N2600] -- Posted Thursday, August 27, 2015

Xplore Technologies hires former Panasonic and Getac sales executive
Xplore Technologies announced it has hired David Dunkak as vice president of U.S. commercial sales. Mr. Dunkak joins Xplore from Getac, where he spent six years and was most recently senior director of North American commercial sales. Prior to Getac, Mr. Dunkak spent 15 years at Panasonic, where he was responsible for the professional services organization. Prior to that, Mr. Dunkak was at Toshiba America Information Systems, where he recruited and developed new resellers to promote portable computers. [See Xplore media release] -- Posted Thursday, August 27, 2015

IDTI: Touch panel market to reach US$31.9 billion by 2018
According to DigiTimes, touch panel manufacturer IDTI estimates the touch panel market to reach US$31.9 billion in 2018. The optimistic prediction is based on touch panels used in all-in-one (AIO) PCs and smartphones, in addition to newer applications such as vehicles and industrial applications. [See DigiTimes] -- Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Handheld’s NAUTIZ X8 ultra-rugged field computer gets new customizable add-ons
The Handheld Group announced that it now offers three expansion packs for its ultra-rugged Nautiz X8 handheld computer. A Long Range Bluetooth (LRBT) Expansion Pack allows long-range communication up to 300 meters, using a LRBT u-blox module. A Barcode Expansion Pack features a Zebra SE4750SR imager with LED aimer. And there is also a Nautiz X8 Basic Expansion Pack with an empty add-on cap for an extension of your choice, allowing users to install custom accessories under the cap using the proprietary interface. The new Nautiz X8 expansion packs will be available in September. All cap versions are designed to retain the Nautiz X8 IP67 classification. [See Handheld Group media release] -- Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Getac wins hard-fought rugged laptop bid
Providing a rare insight into the often hotel contested bids for computing equipment procurement, the Gaston Gazette reports how the City Council of Gastonia in Gaston County, North Carolina, decided, in a tight split-decision to buy 160 new rugged laptops from Getac instead of Panasonic. The city's CIO said that Getac's "sterling reputation of service with the city" convinced him to recommend Getac. [See "City to spend $309,000 on new 'rugged' laptops for police"] -- Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Xplore continues to expand engagement with one of the world's largest airlines
Xplore Technologies announced it has received additional orders for its XC6 Windows tablet PCs from one of the world’s largest and most well-known airlines. The newest order is in addition to an order announced in December 2014 and is an expansion of the previously announced multi-million dollar project. The airline is using the tablets to supply to the airline’s ground crews and expedite the baggage handling process at airports across the United States. [See Xplore media release] -- Posted Saturday, August 22, 2015

Gartner: iPhone up in worldwide smartphone growth slowdown
According to Gartner, worldwide smartphone sales had their lowest growth rate in Q2 2015 since 2013. A total of 330 million were sold, compared to 290 million in Q2 2014. Samsung's marketshare fell from 26.2 to 21.9%, Apple's rose from 12.1 to 14.6%. In terms of OS marketshare, Android fell from 83.8 to 92.2%, iOS rose from 12.2 to 14.6%, Windows fell from 2.8 to 2.5%. Once prominent smartphone vendors like Motorola and HTC were no longer in the top-10 of overall cellphone sellers. [See Gartner media release] -- Posted Friday, August 21, 2015

Catavolt and Sonim Technologies partner to deliver mission-critical apps to rugged devices
Catavolt, a rapid mobile app development platform provider for the enterprise, and Sonim Technologies, which makes ruggedized mobile phones, announced a partnership to help deliver enterprise mobile apps on ruggedized devices to enterprise customers and industries where extreme environments are common, and apps must be secure, highly responsive and their devices capable of withstanding higher than average levels of wear and tear. [See Catavolt media release] -- Posted Thursday, August 20, 2015

VDC Research: Rugged handheld market emerging after years of contraction
According to VDC Research, the rugged handheld market is slowly emerging from a period of considerate correction and contraction that lasted for nearly two years. Rugged manufacturers are working to deliver devices that cater to the more consumer-oriented tastes of user interface and overall user experience. VDC Research addresses these issues and more in its latest report on The Global Market for Rugged Handheld Computers and Smartphones for Line-of-Business Applications. -- Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Panasonic launches ATEX-certified versions of its rugged 5-inch FZ-E1 and FZ-X1 Toughpads
Panasonic announced ATEX certified versions of its fully rugged 5-inch Windows and Android handheld tablets designed for use in potentially hazardous industries such as oil and gas, mining, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing. The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-E1 ATEX and FZ-X1 ATEX tablets bring together the best of the handheld, smartphone and tablet market and have been certified for above ground, Zone 2 Working Space use in potentially explosive gas environments (Acetaldehyde, Gasoline, Ethylene). [See Panasonic Europe media release] -- Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Discontinued products deployed in space?
Perusing our various rugged systems news sources, we came across an exciting "GE Rugged Proves Itself in Space" media release from GE Intelligent Platforms. The release announced that GE's CR11 single board computer was successfully deployed and fully operational onboard the International Space Station as part of experiments by the European Space Agency (ESA). That's exciting indeed, except that the CR11, which was based on an Intel Core Duo chip (five generations behind Broadwell), was discontinued the end of August 2013. [See "GE Rugged" Proves Itself in Space] -- Posted Monday, August 17, 2015

Xplore reports fiscal Q1/2016 financials
Xplore Technologies announced revenues of US$24.04 million for Q1 of 2016 (up from US$8.27 million for Q1 2015). Q1 2016 showed a net loss of US$244k compared to a net loss of US$551k in Q1 2015. Philip Sassower, Chairman and CEO of Xplore, said, "This quarter represents a seismic shift in Xplore’s growth. With the acquisition of the Motion product line, our team was able to deliver growth that could have taken years to achieve organically. We could not be more excited with both the record revenue attained and with our bottom line performance, which, but for certain one-time costs related to the Motion Acquisition, would have generated net income.” [See Xplore financials] -- Posted Saturday, August 15, 2015

Case study: Utilizing industrial computers in the automotive industry
When Erdrich — a German-based automotive supplier that manufactures complex metal parts and subassemblies for the automotive industry — set up its new $40 million manufacturing facility in Dublin, Georgia, they needed fixed-mount industrial PCs for their forklift operators to handle the high quantity of inventory movement. Their solution included noax C12 IPCs and SAP-based application software. [See case study "Utilizing industrial computers in the automotive industry"] -- Posted Friday, August 14, 2015

VIA launches ruggedized VIA AMOS-3005 industrial fanless PC
VIA Technologies announced the VIA AMOS-3005, the latest addition to its range of rugged VIA AMOS Series industrial fanless PCs. Combining a 1.2GHz Eden X4 quad-core processor, VIA VX11H media system processor, and VIA Chrome 640 GPU, the AMOS-3005, which starts at US$539, includes dual Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, DIO, USB 3.0, serial, and optional Wi-Fi, GPS, and 3G. [See VIA AMOS-3005 page] -- Posted Thursday, August 13, 2015

Full review: ARBOR ASLAN W722C Panel PC
Panel PCs are the unsung heroes of rugged computing that are counted on to reliably run and do their job, without breaking down or holding things up. Panel PCs, however, are also likely to fill important roles in emerging intelligent factory operations, where evolved interface and connectivity options are required. RuggedPCReview examined ARBOR Technology's new ASLAN series of wide-screen panels to see what they can offer and how they fit into "Industry 4.0." [See review of the ARBOR ASLAN W722C] -- Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Xplore: To be or not to be? Rugged without regret
"To be or not to be?" asks Xplore's latest blog entry. It's not a Shakespearean matter of life and death here, but contemplations over paying extra for rugged tablets versus paying less for standard consumer gear, which will likely end up costing more in the long run. [See Xplore's: To be or not to be? Rugged without regret ] -- Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How Does Law Enforcement Use Tablets?
Law enforcement is increasingly using advanced computing and communications technology to perform its job. This means highly durable, rugged computing gear that's also flexible, customizable, highly mobile and, unfortunately, costly. MobileDemand just published a case study of how the Missouri town of Sullivan is going about it, and how they managed to satisfy both their budget as well as their functional requirements with rugged tablets. [See How Does Law Enforcement Use Tablets?] -- Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Full review: JLT VERSO+ 10 vehicle computer
Fixed-mount vehicle computers must provide all the power and connectivity of a laptop or desktop, while being able to handle extreme temperatures and near constant shock and vibration. RuggedPCReview analyzed JLT Mobile Computer's VERSO+ 10, the company's latest addition to a line of rugged and highly configurable vehicle-mount and fixed-mount computers. Available with either a basic Atom chip but also a high-powered Intel Haswell Core i5, the very compact and exceptionally well-made VERSO+ 10 has a bright 10.4-inch capacitive multi-touch screen that even works with thick gloves. Verdict: a most impressive product indeed. [ See full review of the JLT Mobile VERSO+ 10] -- Posted Monday, August 10, 2015

New: Winmate adds M133W 13.3-inch full-HD procap Broadwell-powered rugged tablet
Winmate has added the large-screen M133W to its growing lineup of rugged tablet computers. The M133W has a full HD 1920 x 1080 glove/rain/stylus-capable capacitive multi-touch screen, substantial onboard connectivity, dual cameras, a full complement of sensors, and it's available with three CPU options, including an Intel "Broadwell" Core i5-4200U. The M133W has a wide operating temperature range, is IP65-sealed, and can accommodate two internal SSDs. [See description, analysis and specs of the Winmate M133W] -- Posted Monday, August 10, 2015

Xplore retains Tom Wilkinson as Interim CFO
Xplore Technologies announced it has retained Tom Wilkinson as interim CFO. Mr. Wilkinson has worked both as a CFO and as an auditor, including as partner in charge of Xplore’s audit process for five years while at PMB Helin Donovan, where Wilkinson was a founding partner. [See Xplore media release] -- Posted Friday, August 7, 2015

All JLT Mobile rugged computers compatible with Windows 10
JLT Mobile Computers, Swedish developer and manufacturer of rugged computers for demanding environments, announces that all JLT rugged computers have been tested to be compatible with Microsoft Windows 10. A free upgrade to the latest software is available for users with Windows 7 Pro through Microsoft. Windows 10 will shortly be provided directly from JLT for both new and existing clients as well. [See JLT Mobile media release] -- Posted Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Zebra acquires ITR Mobility and iFactr
Zebra and Twin Cities-based IT consulting firm ITR Group announced Zebra's acquisition of ITR Group's mobile consulting and software development firm, ITR Mobility and its mobile platform, affecter is a cross-platform software solutions that provides easy migration path for legacy mobile software applications. [See Zebra media release -- Posted Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Advantech launches full support of Microsoft Windows 10 IoT
Advantech announced its support of the newly released Windows 10 IoT (Internet of Things). Windows 10 IoT — a version of Windows 10 designed specifically for use in small footprint, low-cost devices and IoT scenarios that is similar to Windows Embedded — will power a range of intelligent connected devices from smaller equipment such as gateways or mobile point-of-sale units, to industrial devices like robots and specialty medical equipment. Designed to connect through Azure IoT Services, Windows 10 IoT offers enterprise-grade security along with native connectivity for machine-to-machine and machine-to-cloud scenarios. [See Advantech media release] -- Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What happened in rugged computing 5 years ago: August 2010
In August 2010, RuggedPCReview examined in detail one of the first available Android tablets, the inexpensive Augen GenTouch78. We also reviewed the new Handheld Algiz 7 rugged tablet, the Advantech PIT-1501W patient service terminal and PPC-157T panel PC, reported on Psion Teklogix's exemplary service, and design wins for both Motion and Getac in Australia. Intel introduced the Atom D425 and D525, Oracle sued Google over Android, LXE announced the Marathon field computer and said it had its best sales quarter since 2008. RuggedPCReview said that "Off the cuff, the way we see it is that Android has a better than even chance of becoming the OS of choice for tablets and other mobile devices". Xplore reported revenues of US$5.1 million for the quarter ending June 30, 2010, and General Dynamics Itronix introduced the Android-based GD300 wearable computer. [See August 2010 news archive] -- Posted Sunday, August 2, 2015

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