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Rugged mobile computer maverick GammaTech celebrates 30th anniversary
GammaTech Computer Corporation is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month. Founded in 1987, GammaTech is the North American branch of Twinhead International Corporation. Best known for its DURABOOK brand of rugged laptops, tablets, and all-in-one computers, the company has a long history in the U.S. mobile device market. "The devices our customer's purchase are critical to the success of their missions," said Tom Wang, President, GammaTech. "When it comes to government, law enforcement and the support of critical infrastructure, businesses want to partner with a company that has extensive market expertise and delivers on reliability and performance, but also one that will be around if you need assistance. With 30 years in the mobility space and a focus on rugged computing solutions designed to operate in environments where failure is not an option, GammaTech is a company our customers and partners can trust. We look forward to the next 30 years of partnership, and innovation." [See GammaTech press release] -- Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2017 by chb

Full review: RuggON PM-311B 7-inch rugged tablet
Small rugged tablets are increasingly used in all sorts of field-based data collection and data verification deployments. With their Blaxtone PM-311B, RuggON offers a tough and exceptionally versatile rugged tablet platform that has uses in numerous public safety, government, military, industrial and commercial applications. With a footprint no bigger than that of an iPad, the PM-311B fits almost anywhere, yet offers full Windows 10 IoT Enterprise features, performance and capabilities. RuggedPCReview examined the PM-311B in detail and found it an exceptionally versatile tool of impeccable quality. [See full review of the RuggON PM-311B] -- Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by chb

Dell Rugged to face extreme test in Clipper Round the World yacht race
Clipper Round the World announced that Dell Rugged laptops and tablets will equip this year contestants in Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, one of the toughest endurance races through the most inhospitable corners of the globe. Dell’s Latitude Rugged devices will be fitted to each of the Clipper Race’s twelve 70-foot ocean racing yachts. Crew members will rely on the machines for navigation, communicating to home base, and recording their journey. A special feature is how the devices are specially equipped to handle the extreme heat, cold condensation, shock, and salt water erosion they will experience in their 11 month race. [See Clipper Round the World press release] -- Posted Friday, July 21, 2017 by chb

Switch to PCIe SSDs helps updated Xplore R12 rugged tablet shatter benchmark performance records
Xplore Technologies' rugged 12.5-inch XSLATE R12 tablet was already among the fastest devices RuggedPCReview has ever tested. Now Xplore raised the ante once again by switching to an even faster Kaby Lake processor and, most importantly, switch from SATA to PCIe solid state disks. The result is absolutely blazing PassMark benchmark performance. The updated XSLATE R12 is half again as fast as the predecessor model, and the overall fastest device we have tested in the RuggedPCReview lab. [See Xplore press release and Hot-rodding the rugged tablet — Xplore Technologies presents super-high performance version of its sleek, lightweight 12.5-inch R12 Kaby Lake Windows tablet] -- Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by chb

Panasonic works with Volkswagen to deliver a next generation production line mobile testing solution for the automotive manufacturer
Volkswagen and Panasonic have collaborated to create a new rugged and versatile Automotive Mobile Test Solution (AMTS). Christoph Lach, Project Manager, at Volkswagen AG explained: "The AMTS is based on the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 tablet and it meets our production requirements. We use the hardware for commissioning the control units in the vehicle. We have the option of connecting to an external vehicle communication interface, which enables us to communicate with the vehicle, but we can also load the UPS-Client from the vehicle. The steering wheel holder meets all the requirements we had here in the group, which means it's compatible with every steering wheel." [See Panasonic press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 13, 2017 by chb

Xplore collaborates with Microsoft to accelerate Internet of Things solutions
Xplore Technologies Corp announced it has joined Microsoft Azure Certified for Internet of Things (IoT), ensuring customers get IoT solutions up and running quickly with hardware and software that has been pre-tested and verified to work with Microsoft Azure IoT services. Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT allows businesses to reach customers where they are, working with an ecosystem of devices and platforms, allowing for faster time to production. [See Xplore media release -- Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2017 by chb

Juniper’s “Mapping Blitz” helps Bear River Land Conservancy maintain important habitat
In its latest blog entry, Juniper Systems relates how Juniper staff worked with members of the Bear River Land Conservancy to aid in the conservation of important habitat along the Bear River. Using the Geode Sub-meter GPS Receiver, the Mesa 2 Rugged Tablet, and the Allegro 2, a handful of our rugged handheld enthusiasts mapped updates and information on important plants, large debris, fence lines, and more while getting additional hands-on experience using Juniper’s data collection solutions. [See Juniper’s “Mapping Blitz” Helps Bear River Land Conservancy Maintain Important Habitat] -- Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2017 by chb

IOGEAR KeySlate Ultra-Slim Bluetooth 4.0 Keyboard
Tablets have changed the world, and 2-in-1 designs are broadening their appeal even more. But often the usefulness of both tablets and 2-in-1s comes down to having a good keyboard. That's what (among lots of other cool stuff) the folks at IOGEAR provide, great keyboards for tablets. We tested their iOS version and loved it (they offer versions for Android and Windows as well) . [See review of the IOGEAR KeySlate Ultra-Slim Bluetooth 4.0 Keyboard, with some contemplations about keyboards in general] -- Posted Saturday, July 8, 2017 by chb

Updated: Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
Dell is known for quickly and nimbly making available the very latest technology to its customers around the globe. Dell Rugged, however, knows that consistency, continuity and compatibility is what matters most to their markets. So instead of frequently replacing their rugged and semi-rugged laptops and tablets with new ones, Dell Rugged quietly keeps their true and tested lineup up-to-date. No wonder their market share in the rugged space has been growing. [See updated description, analysis and specs of Dell's full-size Latitude 14 Rugged] -- Posted Saturday, July 8, 2017 by chb

Getac sees June revenue increase
According to DigiTimes, Getac Technology reported revenues of US$59.5 million for June 2017, up 11.27% on year. Year-to-date revenues totaled US$336 billion, up 13.26% on year. Since demand for double biometric security functions such as face and iris identification, has been increasing, Getac Technology chairman Ming-han Huang expects the company's ruggedized product sales to benefit from the trend. Huang expects the company's revenues in the second half to grow between 5-15% from the second half of 2016 -- Posted Friday, July 7, 2017 by chb

Habey's fully adaptable touch screen controls
Habey USA is promoting what the company calls "fully adaptable touch screen devices". These look like standard consumer tablets from the front, have 7 to 12.1-inch screens, come with ARM and Intel chips, resistive or capacitive touch, and use a variety of operating systems. From the back, they look more like small Panel PCs, offering plenty of configurable, customizable connectivity. As such, these devices can serve as friendly user interfaces for any number of embedded systems and devices. [See Habey media release] -- Posted Thursday, July 6, 2017 by chb

Getac introduces powerful, fully rugged, highly configurable Windows tablet with a big, bright 14-inch screen
Sometimes one just needs a big screen on the job, and that's why Getac introduced the A140 14-inch tablet. The super-bright display offers capacitive multi-touch and a hard tip capacitive stylus. Customers have an option of four Intel Skylake Core processors. There's plentiful onboard I/O and the A140 can be configured with integrated scanning, RFID, various security options, as well as custom interfaces. [See RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Getac A140] -- Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2017 by chb

Understanding the future of Juniper-offered operating systems
Gradual shifts in the mobile OS landscape over the past several years has been a growing concern, leaving many enterprise and vertical-market professionals wondering which avenue to take. Identifying the best OS for individual or corporate needs, while looking at its roadmap and plans for the future can be a difficult task. Understanding this issue, Juniper Systems collected information to help customers understand the roadmap of each OS used at company and what they need to know to make the most informed decision. [See Understanding the future of Juniper-offered operating systems] -- Posted Monday, June 26, 2017 by chb

MOBIL-INN picks ARBOR IoT-800 to equip Brittany waste management vehicles with iSmartCollect solution
Beautiful French Brittany works hard to preserve its beauty. That includes equipping a growing number of recycling and waste collection vehicles with Mobil-Inn's iSmartCollect solution that simplifies collection management, including seasonal variations, smart control, and circuit modifications, reducing operating costs via real-time maps sharing, human and material resource management, and route modification. On the hardware side, Mobil-Inn chose ARBOR Technology's IoT-800 Android terminal. [See ARBOR media release and RuggedPCReview's report on the ARBOR IoT-800] -- Posted Monday, June 26, 2017 by chb

New screen coating makes reading in sunlight a lot easier
Screens on even the newest phones and tablets can be hard to read outside in bright sunlight. Inspired by the nanostructures found on moth eyes, researchers have developed a new antireflection film that could keep people from having to run to the shade to look at their mobile devices. The antireflection film exhibits a surface reflection of just .23 percent, much lower than the iPhone's surface reflection of 4.4 percent, for example. Reflection is the major reason it's difficult to read a phone screen in bright sunlight, as the strong light reflecting off the screen's surface washes out the display. [See press release and full article: "New Screen Coating Makes Reading in Sunlight a Lot Easier. The Secret? Moth Eyes -- Posted Friday, June 23, 2017 by chb

MyScript Launches Next-Generation MyScript Developer
MyScript, a pioneering market leader in accurate, high-performance handwriting recognition and digital ink management technology, announces the enhanced MyScript Developer portal. The completely redesigned platform better enables developers to build next-generation applications that leverage digital writing across all popular OS platforms. The enhanced developer program eliminates the cost of entry for developers and reduces application time-to-market. Developers experience no cost to gain access to MyScript’s digital writing technology and to test the applications prior to release. [See MyScript press release] -- Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2017 by chb

Full review: MobileDemand xTablet T1550 rugged Tablet PC
Ruggedness in mobile computers comes at a price, and that can keep customers away. That's why for some time now, MobileDemand has been offering a variety of economically priced rugged tablets. An example is the Intel Cherry Trail-powered 10.1-inch Windows 10-based xTablet T1550. RuggedPCReview examined the T1550, which starts at US$999, in detail and found much to like. Such as solid construction, good connectivity, useful productivity options (including industrial-grade scanning), a good display, and impressive ruggedness. [See full review of the MobileDemand xTablet T1550] -- Posted Thursday, June 15, 2017 by chb

Fire and EMS departments meet critical mobility needs with DURABOOK R11 rugged tablet
GammaTech Computer Corporation, the North American branch of Twinhead International Corporation, today highlighted recent sales to Fire and EMS departments across the United States. These public safety agencies are turning to the DURABOOK R11 rugged tablet as a cost-effective solution that addresses critical needs for performance, functionality, and reliability. Fire and EMS departments in North Carolina, Oregon, Minnesota, Colorado, Washington, Louisiana, South Carolina, and California recently purchased the DURABOOK rugged tablet. [See GammaTech press release] -- Posted Friday, June 9, 2017 by chb

DT Research unique 2-in-1 Medical Tablet Cart System delivers unmatched flexibility for Mobile Point-of-Care
DT Research, a leading designer and manufacturer of purpose-built computing solutions for vertical markets, announced the DT313-MD, a 13.3" medical tablet system mounted on a slim-line, lightweight cart. The purpose-built system offers maximum computing mobility in a variety of medical environments. Healthcare professionals can efficiently monitor, record and retrieve patient information with the anti-microbial DT313-MD tablet, which includes DT Research's signature hot-swappable battery pack to avoid downtime in time-critical situations. [See DT Research press release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Medical Tablet Cart System] -- Posted Monday, June 5, 2017 by chb

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 chip alone. These, of course, are strictly desktop chips; 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 by chb

Walk down Memory Lane: Panasonic Factory Visit, 2002
Back in 2002, RuggedPCReview.com 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 by chb

Full review: Handheld Algiz 8X ultra-rugged Windows tablet
RuggedPCReview.com 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 by chb

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 by chb

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." [...read more] -- Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2017 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

Full review: Handheld Group Algiz 10X 10.1-inch rugged Windows tablet with tech update and fresh new look
The third generation Handheld Algiz 10X addresses the needs of anyone who's been looking for a tough, rugged Windows 10 tablet for demanding work even under extreme environmental conditions, and one with a bright, sharp display large enough to comfortably work on. RuggedPCReview examined this latest version of the Algiz 10X that now comes with full-HD resolution, glove and rain-capable capacitive multi-touch, concurrent GNSS, an optional active stylus, the LTSB version of Windows 10, and a fresh and modern new look. [See full review of the Handheld Algiz 10X] -- Posted Thursday, April 27, 2017 by chb

Law enforcement agencies adopting DURABOOK rugged laptops and tablets
GammaTech announced it ended 2016 with broad sales to Law Enforcement customers across the country. The DURABOOK R11 tablet, SA14 semi-rugged laptop, and R8300 fully rugged laptop were purchased by Police and Sheriff departments in Missouri, Connecticut, Georgia, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Arizona, and Washington. Customers include the Denver PD, DeKalb Country Marshall's Office, Sweetwater PD, South San Francisco PD, Branson PD, Clallam County Sheriff, Chino Valley Police, Falls Township PD, Liberty County Sheriff and Pecos County Sheriff. [See GammaTech media release] -- Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2017 by chb

VDC: Demand for legacy WIndows platforms rapidly waning in rugged handhelds while Android gains traction
VDC Research issued a new report that analyses the approximately US$5 billion global rugged handheld and rugged smartphone market. VDC states that although a majority of available rugged handheld devices are still Windows-based, demand is rapidly waning for legacy Windows platforms such as Windows Mobile/Embedded Handheld 6.5 and Windows CE. Google’s Android continues to gain traction among enterprise users looking to leverage Android’s active app development ecosystem. Rugged OEMs are responding to the need to bridge the performance and functionality gaps with consumer mobile technology. Many are taking this OS shift as an opportunity to upgrade their aging portfolios. [See Taking Stock of the Rugged Handheld and Rugged Smartphone Product Portfolio] -- Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2017 by chb

Tablet EX Gear offers ingenious tablet chest packs
Tablets are great and increasingly used in the field, but you can't just stick them in a pocket like a smartphone. Realizing that, the crafty folks at Tablet EX Gear are offering a variety of tablet chest packs designed not only to easily stow away a tablet, but also providing space for whatever gear and peripherals you want to take with, and to make using the tablet easier. Very clever. Almost everyone working with a tablet in the field needs this. [See the Tablet EX Gear site] -- Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2017 by chb

Juniper Systems releases the Mesa 2 Rugged Tablet with Android OS
Juniper Systems, provider of ultra-rugged field data collection solutions, recently announced the release of its latest product, the Mesa 2 Rugged Tablet running Android 5.1. This handheld aims to provide a solution for those seeking a versatility of Android, without sacrificing the durability and precision the Mesa 2 is known for. [See Juniper Systems media release] -- Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2017 by chb

Mobile Demand and Phantom Controls SAM present the next generation fire truck
Operating fire trucks used to be a very manual thing. But MobileDemand and the folks at Phantom Controls proved that you can teach old dogs new tricks. They retrofitted an old St. Louis fire truck with their SAM (Scene Apparatus Manager) automated fire pump system to open and close valves, set the pressure for the pressure governor, select intakes for water supply, and alert the crew if there are any problems. It allows the truck operator to focus on the crew, their safety, and instantly set or reallocate pressure where and how it's needed. The truck itself has a panel PC, the operator uses a MobileDemand xTablet T8650 rugged tablet PC with Phantom Controls SAM software. The system will be demonstrated at FDIC 2017, April 24-29 in Indianapolis. For a great video on how it works, see this Facebook video (184,000 views as of 4/24!!!). -- Posted Monday, April 24, 2017 by chb

L-com launches new line of premium armored M12 cable assemblies
When rugged gear must be connected out there in the field, waterproof screw-on or bayonet M12-style connectors are often used instead of standard I/O ports. But what about the cable itself? Is it strong enough? To make sure it is, L-com Global Connectivity, a manufacturer of wired and wireless connectivity products, has released a new line of armored M12 cable assemblies for use with industrial Ethernet, test equipment, I/O connectivity, sensors and actuators, and industrial control and factory automation. The inner cable jacket is resistant to oil, UV sun rays, weld splatter and is rated for 600V. Stainless steel armor protects the cable from damage and features 1,500 PSI of crush resistance. [See L-com media release] -- Posted Thursday, April 13, 2017 by chb

Unitech PA720 rugged Android handheld wins iF Design Award
Unitech announced that its newest Enterprise PDA, the PA720, has won the 2017 iF Design Award in recognition of its outstanding product design. At an awards ceremony held in Munich, the PA720 was selected by a panel of about 60 leading design experts as one of the winners of the top accolade. This year's competition saw a total of 5,500 products submitted from 59 countries. [See Unitech media release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Unitech PA720] -- Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2017 by chb

Juniper Systems Geode sub-meter GNSS receiver
Using modern positioning technology to determine location on the planet within two or three meters is incredible. But sometimes it's not good and accurate enough. That's where sub-meter accuracy comes in. In a recent Juniper Systems blog post, John Florio discusses their Geode sub-meter GPS receiver, a powerful, easy-to-use, and affordable GPS solution that works with Windows, Windows Mobile and Android devices. Geode can be mounted on a pole, in a pack, or held in your hand. The systems offers all-day battery life, optional GLONASS capability, and connects either via Bluetooth or wire. The Geode is also compatible with Juniper Systems Aspect software, and many other mapping applications available such as Esri Collector for ArcGIS, ArcPad, and more. [See Let’s talk Geode Sub-meter GPS Receiver] -- Posted Monday, April 10, 2017 by chb

Lucas certifies Zebra TC51 Android Touch Computer for use with Lucas Move applications for voice picking and other warehouse functions
Lucas Systems, a provider of solutions for intelligent mobile work execution for warehouses and distribution centers, announced that it has certified Zebra Technologies’ TC51 rugged mobile handheld computer for use with Lucas Move mobile applications. The Zebra TC51 is the first Android-based industrial computer certified for Lucas Move, the mobile component of the Lucas Mobile Work Execution Solutions. Lucas Move guides users through their tasks using a combination of voice direction, speech recognition, visual user interfaces, barcode scanning, NFC and RFID. [See Lucas media release and RuggedPCReview's assessment of the Zebra TC51] -- Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2017 by chb

Xplore now ships rugged XSLATE D10 tablet with Android 6.0.1
Xplore Technologies announced its flagship Android rugged tablet, the 10.1-inch XSLATE D10, is now available with the upgraded Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system. With Android 6.0.1, battery life improves over 10%, lasting beyond full shifts, and up to 22 hours with an optional second battery. Marshmallow also brings several enhancements to the Android for Work and Voice Assist APIs, each may yield greater worker efficiency and application responsiveness. [See Xplore media release] -- Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2017 by chb

Review: Getac T800 Gen 2 ultra-rugged Windows 10 tablet
The T800 is Getac's entry into the compact 8-inch rugged tablet market. Its footprint is just a little larger than that of an iPad mini, making it easy to carry around and stow almost anywhere. RuggedPCReview takes an extended look at this highly configurable, state-of-the-art Windows 10-based capacitive multi-touch tablet that can handle 6-foot falls and plenty of punishment. [See review of the Getac T800 Gen 2 ultra-rugged tablet] -- Posted Friday, March 24, 2017 by chb

Panasonic’s new rugged 2-in-1 detachables reflect European market demand for hybrid mobile devices
Panasonic Europe notes that a new IDC whitepaper predicts that IT buyers will be equipping their mobile workforces with more detachable mobile devices in 2017. With an increased awareness of the need for data entry and content creation to improve productivity, the predicted screen size sweet spot for these devices will be displays of 12-13.3 inches. Which pretty much describes the recently introduced fully rugged 12-inch Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 and the semi rugged 12.5-inch Panasonic Toughpad FZ-Q2. Both are 2-in-1 detachables offering the best of both worlds with tablet and notebook functionality in a single business device. [See Panasonic media release] -- Posted Friday, March 24, 2017 by chb

GCSS-Army Deploying 9,783 Getac F110 G3 Rugged Tablets
The Global Combat Support System branch of the U.S. Army (GCSS-Army) has ordered 9,783 Getac F110 G3 rugged tablets with docking stations. After a thorough vetting process, GCSS-Army determined the Getac F110 G3 would be the best new rugged tablet to replace several aging and outdated Army management information systems across tactical logistics environments within the Army’s Active and Reserve components as well as the National Guard. The Getac F110 G3 tablets will ultimately be used to capture UID data using its built-in barcode reader to provide unprecedented asset visibility. [See Getac media release] -- Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by chb

Full review 6th gen GammaTech DURABOOK SA14
The GammaTech DURABOOK SA14 is a modern semi-rugged laptop solution for customers who need more durability and ruggedness than consumer notebooks generally provide, but still at an affordable price. Now powered by Intel 6th generation "Skylake" processors, the impressively well-built SA14 convinces with very good performance, great battery life, a large display that works very well outdoors, and plenty of onboard I/O, all at a very reasonable cost. [See full review of the semi rugged GammaTech DURABOOK SA14] -- Posted Friday, March 17, 2017 by chb

Global tablet shipments below 40 million in Q1/2017
According to DigiTimes, global tablet shipments in Q1/2017 will be less than 40 million units for the first time since Q2/2012. For all of 2016, tablet shipments were 183 million units. -- Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by chb

RuggedPCReview blog: Are "mobile" sites really needed?
A few days ago I used one of the readily available website analysis tools to check RuggedPCReview.com. The resulting report gave me a stern "site not mobile-optimized" lecture. "Mobile-optimized," of course, refers to the fact that sites on the one-size-fits-all world wide web are being viewed on a very wide range of devices with a very wide range of screen sizes. And it is certainly true that viewing a webpage on a 27-inch display is a very different experience from viewing it on a 4.7-inch smartphone... [read blog article] -- Posted Friday, March 10, 2017 by chb

Getac expects revenues to grow strongly in second half of 2017
Digitimes reports that rugged PC manufacturer Getac Technology expects its revenues to decrease sequentially in the second quarter, and that shipping volume will grow strongly in the second half due to increased procurement orders. Getac currently is the second largest vendor in the rugged industrial PC market, holding a market share of 16-18%. Getac is looking to boost the market share to 30% in the next three years. -- Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by chb

U.S. Navy awards Patriot Technologies. a large-scale rugged tablet contract for naval shipyards
Patriot Technologies announced a five-year blanket purchase agreement awarded by the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization-Scott Field Office for the US Navy to procure rugged tablet computer designed by DT Research, a designer and manufacturer of purpose-built computing solutions for vertical markets. The US Navy selected the DT311 rugged tablets to deploy to personnel working at various shipyards for technical maintenance management, warehouse inventory control, field testing and training, and other field data operations. See media release] -- Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by chb

Getac introduces MX50 5.7-inch secure, rugged Android tactical tablet for armed forces
Getac introduced its first rugged tactical tablet, built from the ground up, for combat-ready military forces, including dismounted warfighters, elite enforcement agencies and Special Forces military units. The Android-based, Intel x5-Z8350 powered 5.7-inch tablet is heavily ruggedized and will meet the Common Criteria ISO/IEC 15408 computer security certification as well as the NSA’s Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) guidelines and Data-at-Rest (DAR) requirements. [See Getac media release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Getac MX50] -- Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by chb

Zebra study: 7 in 10 retailers will invest in IoT technologies to revolutionize customer experience
Zebra Technologies published the results of their 2017 Retail Vision Study. The study revealed that nearly 70% of retail decision makers surveyed are ready to make changes to adopt the Internet of Things (IoT), and 65% plan to invest in automation technologies for inventory management and planogram compliance by 2021. This includes investment in mobile devices, kiosks and tablets to increase payment options, mobile point-of-sale, micro-locationing, big data predictive and software analytics for loss prevention and price optimization, and more. [See Zebra media release and one-page summary infographic] -- Posted Monday, March 6, 2017 by chb

Disruptive innovation?
In a recent Xplore blog, Bob Ashenbrenner postulates that "if you want to get things done, don’t let innovation (or tech) become disruptive." As we are continuously bombarded with new technology and pressure to rethink and innovate, do we perhaps focus too much on change and reinventing, and not enough on reaping the benefits from tried-and-true methods and technology? Good questions, and certainly something to think about. [See If You Want to Get Things Done, Don’t Let Innovation (or Tech) Become Disruptive (Part 1)] -- Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by chb

Panasonic Europe announces Toughbook CF-33
Panasonic Europe introduced the Toughbook CF-33, a 2-in-1 device that the company calls a fully rugged detachable laptop. The Intel Kaby Lake-powered 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. [See Panasonic media release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Panasonic Toughbook CF-33] -- Posted Monday, February 27, 2017 by chb

Zebra announces Q4 and full year 2016 financials
Zebra Technologies announced net sales of $942 million in Q4 2016 compared to $951 million in Q4 2015. Net income for Q4 2016 was $17 million, compared with a net loss of $28 million for Q4 2015. Full year 2016 sales were $3.574 billion in Q4 2016 compared to $3.65 billion in 2015. Net loss for 2016 was $137 million, compared with a net loss of $158 million in 2015. Of 2016 net sales, 65.2% came from the Enterprise division (i.e. the former Motorola Solutions enterprise division) and 34.8% from Legacy Zebra. In 2015, the split was 64.9 to 35.1%. Zebra CEO Anders Gustafsson said, "Zebra entered 2017 with an unmatched portfolio of innovative solutions, a solid backlog, and a healthy pipeline of opportunities to drive profitable sales growth." [See Zebra Q4 2016 financials] -- Posted Thursday, February 23, 2017 by chb

Full review: Getac B300 ultra-rugged notebook computer
There are times when nothing but a full size, full function, tough and rugged notebook computer will do, and preferably one that isn't being restyled and redesigned every other year, because that needlessly obsoletes customer investment and equipment. The Getac B300 is one of those, one of the very few, and it's now in its sixth generation. RuggedPCReview conducted a full, detailed review of the now Intel Skylake-powered Getac B300. Performance has more than quadrupled compared to the original version, the super-bright, pushbutton-operated 1,400 nits backlight still dazzles, and yet the B300 remains completely compatible with every peripheral, dock and accessory ever made for it. [See full review of the Getac B300 ultra-rugged notebook computer] -- Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 by chb

Full review: DT Research DT311H 2-in-1 enabled rugged tablet
Addressing three hot tablet trends all at once — larger screen, higher resolution, and 2-in-1 hybrid functionality — the DT Research DT311H figures to be a strong contender in the rugged tablet market. RuggedPCReview performed an in-depth analysis and review of the IP65-sealed, high-performance 11.6-inch DT311H tablet that can instantly provide full laptop functionality without the extra bulk and weight of a permanently attached keyboard. [See full review of the DT Research DT301S] -- Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2017 by chb

Scan handle transforms rugged tablet into barcode scanning powerhouse
MobileDemand has designed a scan handle attachment for the new xTablet T8650 rugged tablet. The optional accessory snaps directly to the back of the device to enable fast and ergonomic barcode scanning using the rugged tablet’s built-in 2D barcode scanner. The Scan Handle, which connects via Bluetooth, is powered by a swappable battery, providing up to 90 hours of continuous use on a single charge. [See MobileDemand media release and watch xTablet T8650 Scan Handle demo video] -- Posted Thursday, February 16, 2017 by chb

Sony develops next-gen camera image sensor for mobile devices
Interested in the future of cameras integrated into mobile devices? Sony just announced a new 3-layer stacked 21-megapixel CMOS image sensor with DRAM for smartphones and the like. The sensor captures still images of fast-moving subjects with minimal focal plane distortion as well as 4k/60fps video and super slow motion movies at up to 1,000 frames per second. [See Sony media release] -- Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2017 by chb

GammaTech to show rugged computers designed for healthcare professionals at HIMSS 2017
GammaTech announced the company will be partnering with Lund Industries to showcase their DURABOOK line of mobile rugged computer options for medical professionals at HIMSS 2017 in the Lund Industries booth, #3203. The HIMSS 2017 Annual Conference will take place February 19-23 in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. GammaTech’s DURABOOK line of rugged computers will be mounted to Lund Industries’ DataCart products, resulting in state-of-the-art care carts ideal for use in medical situations such as telemedicine, behavioral health, stroke and nursing home use, where dependable technology can ensure that the professional’s attention will be focused on the patient. [See GammaTech media release] -- Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2017 by chb

Handheld Group announces Algiz 8X rugged Windows tablet
Handheld Group announced their new Algiz X8 rugged Windows 10 tablet, designed for modern field workers who require a powerful, portable computer for mobile tasks. Powered by an Intel "Braswell" N3710 quad-core processor, the Algiz 8X has a bright (600+ nits) 1280 x 800 pixel 8-inch procap wet/glove-capable multi-touch display with active pen support, can handle extreme environmental conditions, and provides extensive onboard connectivity and a "backpack" system for custom features. [See Handheld media release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Handheld Group Algiz 8X -- Posted Wednesday, February 8, 2017 by chb

What happened in rugged computing 5 years ago: February 2012
February 2012 was a busy month in rugged computing! DAP opened a second US office and previewed their V1010 vehicle computer. Motion expanded its presence in the UK with a new Country Manager. Xplore reported their first-ever profitable quarter, Intermec posted $850 million in revenue for the year and launched the CV41 rugged forklift computer. Juniper added a HazLoc version of its Mesa, Psion a Neo handheld with UHF RFID, and Trimble introduced a new gen of its rugged Juno GIS handhelds. Android started to make a move: Harris introduced the RF-3590 rugged Android tablet, Motorola the LEX 700 mission-critical Android handheld, and and Winmate introduced the Android-based 4.3-inch E430M handheld. AMREL received a quality award, the US Air Force selected the Getac B300 for QEB fully rugged laptop category, and Panasonic reported on its 3,500+ unit Navistar Toughbook deployment. [See full January 2012 archive] -- Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2017 by chb

Handheld Group upgrades ultra-rugged ALGIZ RT7 tablet
The Handheld Group announced it has upgraded its popular 7-inch Algiz RT7 rugged Android tablet to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and doubled RAM to 2 GB. These upgrades will also apply to the Algiz RT7 eTicket used in public transportation fare collection and ticket validation. Jerker Hellström, Handheld Group CEO, said that “Android 6.0 is a vast improvement over 5.1 for our enterprise customers, increasing data security and adding features designed specifically for mobile workforces employing Android. And the performance-enhancing RAM increase ensures our customers have the power they need for complex field tasks.” [See Handheld Group media release] -- Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2017 by chb

Juniper launches economically priced dual-SIM, IP68 rugged 4.7-inch Android handheld
Juniper Systems has launched the Cedar CT5 rugged smartphone as a more powerful and technologically more advanced successor to its earlier CT4. The 4.7-inch Gorilla Glass 3-protected 8-ounce handheld runs Android 6.0 "Marshmallow" on a 2GHz Octa-core ARM Cortex A54 processor, has dual cameras (5 and 13mp), FCC-approved 2G/3G/4G LTE, 32GB Flash, microSD, PTT button, dedicated GPS, IP68 ingress protection, and a powerful 16 whr battery. [See description, analysis and specs of the Juniper Systems Cedar CT5 rugged handheld.] -- Posted Monday, January 30, 2017 by chb

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Here at Pen Computing and RuggedPCReview.com, how serious are we about analyzing the ruggedness of review machines? Very. Click on the pic below for a demonstration of a MobileDemand xTablet T8600 taking a brutal punishment!
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Why did Apple kill the Newton?
View all 34 issues of David MacNeill's Newton Notes column covering the Apple Newton MessagePad between 1993 and 1999.
Pen Computing has a special section on Sharp's competent, yet ill-fated US Zaurus K-PDA experiment plus news on the new SL-5000.
Yes, our Magic Cap section is still online!
And so is our old Psion section!
In early 1995, our intrepid vertical market editor, Dom Giangrasso, wrote this essay on his personal love affair with pen computers.
Archives of some older issues of Pen Computing Magazine are online.

2003 Pen Computing Editor's Choice Awards!
Pen Review Oldies: Mid 1990s
AMS MediaPro (1995)
Casio PA-100A (1995)
WalkAbout Hammerhead 586 (1995)
IBM ThinkPad 360PE (1995)
IBM ThinkPad 730TE (1995)
Panasonic JT-900PT (1995)
Badger GT-486N (1996)
Casio DT-900 (1995)
Texas Micro Hardbody PC (1996)
IBM Sure Point (1996)
Inforite Phoenix (1995)
Motorola Forte (1995)
PenRight! for Windows (1995)
Motorola Forte (1995)
Telxon PTC-1134 (1995)
Zenith CruisePad (1995)
Bandai Pippin (1996)
Epson EHT-400 (1996)
Husky FC-486 (1995)
Itronix X-C 6000 (1996)
M3i PCMOBILE 486 (1996)
Norand Pen*Key 6100/6600 (1995)
Symbol PPT-4600 (1995)
The TelePad 3 Approach (1995)
Recognition by Papyrus (1996)
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