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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. Android availability on desktops and laptops may change everything. [See HP SlateBook page and spec sheet] -- Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014 by chb

Advances in capacitive touch and passive capacitive pens
RuggedPCReview.com 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 by chb

Compass Intelligence US Smartphone Forecast
Dr. J. Gerry Purdy reported that Compass Intelligence has just completed its annual five-year smartphone forecast. Compass estimates 175 million smartphone shipments and 278 million subscribers in the US in 2018. Smartphones now represent 89% of all new phone sales, and 69% of all active subscriber phones. Apple and Samsung have 70% of all shipments. Android currently has 53.1% share and iOS 34.5%. Consumers represent 65% of the market, business 35%. The majority of new phones have 5" or larger screens. Compass research subscribers get a copy of the full smartphone forecast report including all the detailed market share breakouts and explanations. -- Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014 by chb

Neonode and Magneti Marelli jointly develop automotive HMI solutions
Neonode, the company that once launched the pioneering (yet overlooked in the market) N1 and N2 smartphones with optical touch screens, announced it started a collaboration with automotive systems supplier Magneti Marelli in Human Machine Interfaces for the automotive sector. These optical touch-based HMIs will present new methods of interacting with in-car infotainment, telematics and control systems, with focus on intuitive use, speed, and safety. [See Neonode press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

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 by chb

7-inch tablet prices keep dropping
Digitimes reports that the lowest price point for a 7-inch tablet dropped to below US$80 in June 2014. And unlike earlier low-cost tablets that didn't measure up, even inexpensive tablets now offer almost the same specs as top-of-the-line models. This puts increasing pressure on high-end, premium-priced tablets from the likes of Samsung. (And it also makes you wonder if a decent smartphone really should cost US$700...). -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014 by chb

OLED Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out
DisplayMate — which is an industry standard for optimizing, calibrating, testing, evaluating and comparing all types of displays — published a very detailed analysis of the 2560 x 1600 pixel OLED displays used in Samsung's new Tab S tablets, and called them "best performing tablet display that we have ever tested." Ultra-high resolutions will eventually find their way into rugged products as well, where they will be much appreciated for GIS/GPS and other deployments that require the highest display resolutions possible. [See OLED Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out] -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014 by chb

Keep an eye on IoT — the Internet of Things
ABI Research estimates that the number of developers involved in Internet of Things (IoT) activities will reach 1.7 million globally by the end of 2014. The size of the ecosystem is expected to exceed 3 million developers in 2019, approximately 10% of all software developers. This is certain to have a massive impact on the rugged computing and embedded systems markets. [See ABI Research release] -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014 by chb

Motorola Solutions unveils rugged MC3200 handheld available with either Windows Embedded Compact or Android
Motorola Solutions introduced the third generation of one of the industry's most successful mid-range rugged mobile computers. The new enterprise-class MC3200 retains the MC3000 Series flexibility with three form factors and three keypads, but is now based on new dual-core OMAP4 processors and is available either Windows Embedded Compact 7.0 or with Android 4.1 with Moto's Mx extensions that add enterprise security and support. The new models retain complete accessory compatibility from any MC3000 Series handheld. -- Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by chb

Panasonic introduces two 5-inch rugged Toughpads
Panasonic introduced 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. Our detailed descriptions and analysis to follow soon. -- Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by chb

Full review: GammaTech Durabook S15H
The Gammatech Durabook S15H, successor to the company's earlier Durabook S15C, is a 6.6-pound notebook computer designed to be tougher and more durable than standard consumer notebooks, but without the extra size, weight and cost of a fully rugged design. It's a very solid, trust-inspiring machine with a large 15.6-inch wide-format display, good connectivity, and good day-to-day functionality. We put an Intel Haswell Core i5-4300M version through its paces and came away impressed. [See full review of the GammaTech Durabook S15H] -- Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014 by chb

Cool and useful gear: StarTech's 7-port USB charger
Every now and then we need to mention some of the truly useful gadgets that come into our lab, that we end up using all the time, and that a lot of our readers out there could probably use, too. One such gadget is StarTech's 7-port USB charger. It's amazing how nice it is to charge all your gear at once and use only one wall outlet. [See StarTech 7-Port USB Charging Station] -- Posted Monday, June 16, 2014 by chb

Smith Micro delivers Android and Windows 8.1 connectivity and security solutions for enterprise and public sector
Smith Micro announced the release of two new QuickLink Mobility solutions targeted for enterprises and public safety agencies. QuickLink Mobile VPN for Android and QuickLink Unified Connection & Security Manager for Windows 8.1 provide flexibility and control to expand mobile security and connectivity to a variety of mobile devices beyond legacy Windows-based platforms. Smith Micro said that in many industries where field equipment must be ruggedized, demand for smaller form factors is driving rapid replacement of larger laptops to ruggedized Windows 8.1 and Android tablets and smartphones. [See press release] -- Posted Friday, June 13, 2014 by chb

Technology achievement: RAM Mounts IP65-sealed 2.5-pound composite docking station
It's always been our belief that docks should be just as rugged and well-sealed as the devices they are being used for. That's what RAM Mounts offers with their new RAM docking station for the Harris RF-3590 rugged Android tablet. Weighing just 2.5 pounds, the dock carries an IP65 ingress protection rating and can be mounted in numerous ways. [See description and analysis of the RAM IP65 sealed dock and the RAM IP65 product page] -- Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014 by chb

Magellan celebrates 25th anniversary of the first commercial handheld GPS, the NAV 1000
It's hard to imagine life without GPS. GPS is everywhere, but few people probably know that the consumer handheld GPS just celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Magellan NAV 1000 shipped in May 1989 and revolutionized marine navigation with its handy size, portability, price and low power consumption. There weren't high-res maps that you could zoom and pan back then; the NAV 1000 just provided the user with an LCD readout of latitude and longitude expressed in degrees and minutes. For a great article on all this, check Commerical GPS Turns 25: How the Unwanted Military Tech Found Its True Calling by maskable.com. [See Magellan press release] -- Posted Monday, June 9, 2014 by chb

Full review: Two Technologies' Samsung Galaxy Note II-based ultra-rugged, waterproof, MSR-equipped and quite amazing N4
Hundreds of millions of tablets and smartphones have spoiled users who now want sleek state-of-the-art consumer technology out there in the field as well. That's what Two Technologies offers with their Samsung Galaxy Note II-based N4 handheld. We examined the N4 in detail and found it to be much more than just a tablet in a case. [See full review of the Two Technologies N4] -- Posted Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by chb

Datalogic secures logistics and tracking for automotive safety systems leader, Autoliv, with the installation of over 600 mobile computers
Datalogic announced it has deployed more than 600 Datalogic mobile computers for automotive safety systems manufacturer, Autoliv, across their European plants. As Autoliv aims to reduce traffic accidents and injuries with their products and systems, the company needed to optimize efficiency in production line and warehouse operations with state-of-the-art technology, fast operation, ease of use and robustness. In order to achieve this, Autoliv chose to deploy Datalogic Falcon X3, Skorpio X3 and Memor mobile computers to work with the new SAP system. [See press release and video that explains the projects] -- Posted Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by chb

Metaio demonstrates thermal touch interface
Metaio, which is into augmented reality software and solutions, released a video illustrating potential applications of their "Thermal Touch" interface technology along with current examples of the working prototype. The technology works by registering the heat signature left by a person's finger when touching a surface, then supplementing it with augmented reality constructs to create user interaction with digital content in all-new tactile way. [See Metaio Thermal Touch video and read Metaio blog on thermal touch] -- Posted Sunday, May 25, 2014 by chb

Digitimes on Innel China subsidies and Taiwan struggles with automation
Digitimes reports that Intel offered incentives to select China-based white-box vendors such as Ramos to adopt Intel platforms for tablets, and has extended the offers to additional China-based white-box vendors in an attempt to reach total shipments of 40 million Intel platform-based tablets in 2014, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Digitimes also reports that Taiwan electronics companies operating in China struggle automating their factories to reduce the impact of ongoing wage hikes. The problem is that standard automation equipment cannot easily be modified for specialized electronics manufacturing processes. -- Posted Friday, May 23, 2014 by chb

Microsoft introduces 12-inch Haswell-powered Surface Pro 3
Microsoft introduced the Surface Pro 3. The Intel Haswell Core i3/i5/i7 powered new tablet is just 0.36 inches thick, weighs 1.76 pounds, and has a 2,160 x 1,440 pixel 12-inch display, and dual cameras (5mp and 1080p HD). It comes with either 4 or 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of SSD storage. There's USB 3.0, a microSD card reader, mini DisplayPort, and a cover that's also a keyboard. The Surface Pro 3, which starts at US$799 (but goes as high as US$1,949 for a loaded model) has a pen which, interestingly, is from N-Trig and not Wacom (N-trig also replaces Atmel for the Surface 3's touch capabilities). [See Microsoft press release, and the transcript of press event introduction and -- Posted Tuesday, May 20, 2014 by chb

Otterbox goes after counterfeit cases
OtterBox, which makes rugged cases for smartphones and tablets, reports that the company continues its fight against intellectual property theft. In the last six months, with the assistance of law enforcement and government agencies, OtterBox has raided 162 retail stores worldwide and seized approximately 30,000 counterfeit cases. [See Otterbox press release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 20, 2014 by chb

Digitimes on Q2/2014 tablet shipments
Digitimes predicts that in the second quarter of 2014, 61.4 million tablets will be shipped globally, increasing 4.9% on quarter and 30.9% on year. The shipments will consist of 13.5 million iPads, 24.6 million non-Apple tablets and 23.3 million white-box units, Digitimes Research indicated. Apple will be the largest vendor accounting for 22% of sQ2shipments, followed by Samsung with 20%, Asustek 6.3%, Lenovo 6.1% and Acer 1.7%. Android models will account for 58.9% of branded tablet shipments, iOS 35.4% and Windows 5.7%. -- Posted Saturday, May 17, 2014 by chb

MobileDemand xTablet T1400 product page available now
Full description, analysis and specs of the MobileDemand xTablet T1400 now available on RuggedPCReview. [See MobileDemand xTablet T1400 product page] -- Posted Monday, May 12, 2014 by chb

MobileDemand announces new thin and rugged Windows tablet
MobileDemand announced it is launching a series of tablet innovations for the mobile workforce. The new xTablet T1400 rugged tablet is a thin and light device capable of running standard enterprise Windows (8.1 and 7) applications while withstanding harsh operating environments, at a new price point. The fanless T1400 is based on a "Bay Trail" 1.86GHz quad-core Intel N2920 processor, features a superb 10.1-inch 700-nits IPS projected capacitive touch screen with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, has dual cameras (5mp and 2mp), 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a full complement of sensors, and optional 1D/2D barcode reader, HF-RFID and 4G LTE. The T1400 weighs 2.4 pounds, has IP65 sealing and can handle 4-foot drops. [See MobileDemand press release and T1400 product sheet] -- Posted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 by chb

Almost 200 TB storage on a tape cartridge?
With data storage requirements skyrocketing, commonly available storage media seems to run out of steam. DVDs are slow and only hold a few gigs, Blue-ray writing is poorly supported, SSDs are limited in capacity, and conventional hard disks are often not rugged enough. In what seems like a blast from the past, Sony announced a new magnetic tape technology with the potential of recording over 185 terabyte onto a single LTO-standard tape cartridge (which up to now maxed out at 2.5TB). While tape-based storage may or may not have a practical future, it shows that there's still a lot of headroom in higher storage densities. [See Sony press release] -- Posted Monday, May 5, 2014 by chb

N-trig announces pen/touch solution optimized for tablets
N-trig, which makes the DuoSense integrated active pen and touch controllers, announced an optimized solution for the growing tablet segment. The new controllers, in conjunction with the company’s DuoSense Pen2, provide intuitive pen-on-paper handwriting and painting experience for tablets of all sizes. N-trig says that as consumers increasingly demand better functionality than just simple media consumption, the pen has become a common requirement in tablets. By delivering a precise pen with superior palm rejection, hover capabilities, programmable buttons and a variety of tip friction options, the DuoSense Pen technology offers clear advantages for tablet users. [See N-trig press release] -- Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014 by chb

Farewell Nokia
Excellent CNET article on the rise and fall of Nokia. -- Posted Friday, April 25, 2014 by chb

Full review: Xplore's 6th generation of the ultra-rugged iX104 tablet brings state-of-the-art technology and blistering performance into the field
Xplore Technologies announced the release of the XC6 series, the 6th generation of its iX104 ultra-rugged tablet computer platform. The new series has been upgraded from an original Intel Core processor all the way to a choice of 4th generation "Haswell" Core CPUs, plus all the related ancillary tech improvements. This results in a massive performance increase. Display brightness is up to 1,300 nits, there's multi-touch that works with gloves, and we saw battery life of 10+ hours in our full review. [Read comprehensive review of the Xplore iX104 XC6 ultra-rugged tablet computer] -- Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014 by chb

Getac launches rugged T800 8.1-inch Bay Trail Windows tablet
Getac announced a new rugged and very compact 8.1-inch tablet. Running Windows and powered by a "Bay Trail" 2.16GHz quad-core Intel N3530 processor, the Getac T800 has a sunlight-readable "LumiBond" projected capacitive touch screen with 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, weighs 2.1 pounds, has dual cameras (5mp and HD), 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, dedicated GPS and 4G LTE. "SnapBack" add-ons can provide a Smart Card reader plus either 13.56MHz RFID or a magstripe reader. The Getac T800 has IP65 sealing and can handle 6-foot drops. [See description, analysis and specs of the Getac T800 rugged tablet] -- Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2014 by chb

Winmate releases rugged Bay Trail-based 10.1" Windows tablet with 1920 x 1200 pixel procap display
Winmate has announced their new rugged 10.1-inch M101B Windows Tablet PC. The fanless M101B is based on a "Bay Trail" 1.86GHz quad-core Intel N2920 processor, features a superb 10.1-inch 700-nits IPS projected capacitive touch screen with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, has dual cameras (5mp and 2mp), 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a full complement of sensors, and optional 1D/2D barcode reader, HF-RFID and 4G LTE. The M101B weighs 2.4 pounds, has IP65 sealing and can handle 4-foot drops. [See description, analysis and specs of the Winmate M101B rugged tablet] -- Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 by chb

Wearables market finally taking off, but not as envisioned by pioneers
Wearable computing is finally taking off, but it's not the way pioneers envisioned it. Instead of miniature PCs, the emerging wave of wearables are, according to IDC, "stylish lifestyle accessories that are making their way onto the pages of GQ and Shape as well as Computerworld and Wired." IDC projects that shipments will exceed 19 million units in 2014, more than tripling last year's sales, with sales well over 100 million by 2018. The wearable market currently splits into accessories to smartphones and tablets, and autonomous wearabels such as Google Glass. [See IDC press release] -- Posted Friday, April 11, 2014 by chb

Digitimes: Taiwan ODMs losing business to China
Digitimes reported that Taiwan's ODMs are losing business as PC brand vendors turn to China. Our take: While this trend, for now, is primarily evident in tablet orders, this development should come as now surprise to Taiwan's OEMs. For many years, US PC companies had their desktop PCs, notebooks and handhelds made by a number of highly skilled Taiwanese OEMs (such as Quanta, Wistron, FIC, etc.) due to lower cost and an excellent reputation for quality. Then the Taiwanese began outsourcing to China. It should have been obvious from the start that the US companies would eventually cut out the middlemen. -- Posted Monday, April 7, 2014 by chb

Dell launches Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme convertible notebook
Dell also introduced the Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme, a fully rugged convertible notebook computer with a 11.6-inch resistive multi-touch display, IP65 sealing and full MIL-STD-810G testing. The new rugged Dell convertible is also powered by Intel "Haswell" 4th generation i3, i5, and i7 Core processors, uses solid state disks, as well as 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and 4G LTE, and is even dock-compatible with the larger Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme. Replacing the former Latitude XT2 XFR, the Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme takes on the Getac V110 and the Panasonic CF19. [See RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Dell Latitude Rugged Extreme 12] -- Posted Thursday, April 3, 2014 by chb

Juniper Systems explains resistive vs. capacitive touch screens
Capacitive touch was popularized by the iPhone and is now on the vast majority of consumer smartphones and tablets. Resistive touch, however, is still prevalent in industrial handhelds. Juniper Systems, which went with capacitive touch for its new Archer 2 mobile computer, explains the differences and pros/cons of the two touch technologies in detail. [See Juniper Systems Resistive vs. Capacitive Touchscreens] -- Posted Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by chb

Motion launches sleek, lightweight Haswell-powered 12.5-inch full 1080p tablet with dual-mode input and a wealth of accessories
Tablet pioneer Motion Computing announced the latest offering in their mobile technology portfolio, the rugged Motion R12 tablet computer. The Intel Haswell-powered R12 has a 12.5-inch multi-touch screen with full 1080p 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution as well as a Wacom pen and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The rugged R12 is just 0.65 inches thick, weighs under three pounds, has dual cameras (2mp and 8mp), 9+ hour battery life, can handle 4-foot drops and is IP54 sealed. There's Wireless-AC plus Bluetooth 4.0, integrated or dedicated GPS, as well as optional 4G LTE, 1D/2D scanner, HF RFID, and desktop and vehicle docks. [See description, analysis, and specs of the Motion R12 rugged tablet] -- Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2014 by chb

CDW and leading developers deliver enterprise mobile apps via new App Marketplace
Business-oriented technology solutions provider CDW announced its new App Marketplace — a single, online destination that connects its customers with leading developers and enterprise mobile apps across multiple business functions. Unlike apps designed for individual users, the App Marketplace provides customized enterprise apps created by developers with proven and relevant experience. These include Avnet, Canvas, IBM, Lextech, SAP, Symphony Teleca and WillowTree, with more being added. [See CDW's App Maketplace] -- Posted Monday, March 24, 2014 by chb

Full review: Getac V110 rugged convertible notebook
With the V110, Getac gives a vote of confidence to the concept of the convertible notebook that can also be used as a tablet. The V110, however, is thinner and lighter than earlier rugged convertibles, and its 4th gen Intel Core processors can do more with less. The multi-touch screen is easy to operate; there's an active pen option for precision operations, capacitive replaces resistive touch; Haswell offers excellent performance, better graphics, and lower power draw; communications are updated to the latest standards (802.11ac, BT 4.0, Gobi 4G), and there is a full-scale keyboard. The Getac V110 is a fresh, new iteration of a time-proven design concept that, for now, leaves the primary competition behind. [See full review of the Getac V110 rugged convertible notebook] -- Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2014 by chb

Motorola Solutions launches 4th generation of the versatile, rugged, modular Psion Workabout Pro
Motorola Solutions announced the Workabout Pro 4 rugged mobile computer, the latest generation of Psion's Workabout line that sold over 400,000. Including a major tech update, the Workabout Pro 4 forms the centerpiece of a versatile modular system that allows adding all sorts of wireless, data acquisition and other features and options to the device via back cover and/or end cap modules. [See Motorola press release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Workabout Pro 4] -- Posted Monday, March 17, 2014 by chb

MobileDemand offers forklift-mounted rugged tablet special at MODEX 2014 supply chain expo in Atlanta
MobileDemand announced a forklift-mounted rugged tablet 10%-off special at MODEX 2014 supply chain trade show and expo at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, March 17-20, 2014. Included in the forklift bundle is a rugged tablet, mounting hardware, power converter, Wavelink Terminal Emulation and Avalanche, and MobileDemand's 3-year comprehensive xProtect warranty. MobileDemand invites you to visit them at MODEX in booth #2428 where they'll also be giving away a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet! [See Forklift-Mounted Rugged Tablet Special Only at MODEX 2014] -- Posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014 by chb

JLT announces Atom-powered 1214N logistics panel computer
JLT Mobile Computers announced the JLT 1214N rugged fixed-mount panel computer for warehouse and logistics applications. Able to run a variety of Microsoft full and embedded operating systems, the compact 7.7-pound sealed panel has a bright 12.1-inch XGA resistive touch display, plenty of onboard connectivity, and it is now powered by a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom D2550 processor—a significant upgrade from the Atom N270-powered JLT 1214S predecessor. The 1214N offers numerous mounting options and also allows sealing at the cable instead of connector level. [See description, analysis and specs of the JLT Mobile 1214N] -- Posted Thursday, March 6, 2014 by chb

noax releases 21.5-inch full 1080p industrial touch panel PC
noax Technologies has added the noax C21 to its lineup of compact industrial panel PCs. The C21 has a 21.5-inch touch screen with full 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, making it suitable for deployments that benefit from a larger display and higher resolution. The fanless C21 carries IP65 sealing, has a cast aluminum enclosure, and offers various PCI/PCIe expansion slot options for customization and configuration. [See description, analysis and specs of the noax C21 industrial panel computer] -- Posted Thursday, March 6, 2014 by chb

Class 1 Division 2 rugged tablets available from MobileDemand
MobileDemand announced that its popular xTablet T7200 and xTablet T1200 are now available as C1D2-certified rugged tablets. The certification covers usage in areas where combustible gases such as Acetylene, Hydrogen, Ethylene, and Propane (Groups A-D) are present abnormally. So if an accidental discharge happens, you can rest assured that our C1D2 tablets will not emit any electrical arcs or sparks, nor have any hot surfaces that will cause those gases to explode. [See product pages for the xTablet T1200 C1D2 and xTablet T1200 C1D2. -- Posted Tuesday, March 4, 2014 by chb

Compact, rugged Trimble Juno T41 R Series adds UHF RFID
Trimble's smartphone-inspired rugged Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 or Android 4.1 mobile computer with 4.3-inch projected capacitive multi-touch gets Ultra-High Frequency RFID versions in a remarkably compact form factor. Available with either IP65 or IP68 sealing, the EPCglobal Gen 2 compatible T41 R is location aware for use in different regions across the globe, and is available with full voice/data phone capability as well as enhanced high-accuracy GPS. [See description, analysis and specs of the Trimble Juno T41 RFID] -- Posted Thursday, February 27, 2014 by chb

US Dept. of Transportation to use Mi-Co forms with handwriting recognition for vehicle crash investigations
Mi-Co, which specializes in data capture software forms that include handwriting recognition, announced it was awarded the contract to provide the US Department of Transportation (DoT) with a functional field data collection system with its Mi-Forms mobile forms software. Field staff will conduct multiple interviews on a weekly basis with motor vehicle crash participants. During these interviews, field data collectors will use natural handwriting within the mobile forms to capture data presented in an aural manner in a rapid fashion. [See Mi-Co press release] -- Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by chb

Samsung Galaxy S5: impressive tech and now even waterproof
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung revealed the Galaxy S5, its new flagship smartphone. While after all those years of ever-smaller and handier phones the wisdom of giant phones is debatable, the specs and capabilities of the new Galaxy S5 are most impressive. Android "KitKat" 4.4.2, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, 5.1-inch 1920 x 1080 Super AMOLED screen, dual cameras (16mp camera, 2mp, 4K video), USB 3.0, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, BT 4.0, NFC, 2GB RAM, 16/32GB storage, 10-12 hours battery life, fingerprint scanner, pulse sensor, 5.6 x 2.9 x 0.32 inches, 5.1 ounces. And it is IP67-sealed. -- Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2014 by chb

SOTI MobiControl Android+ technology enables more than 35 OEMs to overcome Android in the enterprise hurdle
SOTI, the major provider of Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy management, announced that it has significantly expanded its Android OEM partnerships to encompass more than 35 of the leading Android device manufacturers globally. [See SOTI press release] -- Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 by chb

N-trig's DuoSense multi-touch & active pen solution selected by Intel for its Education Tablet
As most pen enthusiasts know, Wacom has historically been considered the leading active pen technology vendor, but now N-trig claims that the latest build of their pen actually surpasses Wacom in terms of accuracy, pressure sensitivity, continuity, linearity and overall user experience. We haven't checked N-trig's solutions lately, but they did just claim a big win when Intel implemented the N-trig DuoSense controller chipset into its Intel Education Tablet. [See N-trig press release] -- Posted Wednesday, February 19, 2014 by chb

Handheld Group introduces Nautiz X4 rugged mobile computer
Handheld Group introduced the rugged Nautiz X4, a multi-purpose data collection mobile computer with integrated keypad and industrial-grade scanner options. The IP65-sealed Nautiz X4 has a 3.5-inch 640 x 480 pixel resistive touch screen, runs Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 for easy integration into existing enterprise infrastructures, weighs under 12 ounces, and includes GPS, WWAN, camera and a microSD card slot. [See description, analysis, and specs of the Handheld Group Nautiz X4] -- Posted Tuesday, February 18, 2014 by chb

ZDNet contributor has had it with Windows Phone
On ZDNet, Matthew Miller presented five reasons why he was done with Windows Phone, after having used it (increasingly less) over the past 3.5 years. Miller's reasons coincide with the shortcomings we have long lamented on Windows Phone and on the Metro interface on Windows tablets: it's just not nearly as useful as it should be. [See Five reasons I am done with Windows Phone after 3.5 years] -- Posted Monday, February 17, 2014 by chb

Will Windows Phone 8 make it after all?
Microsoft has all but vanished from the mobile space, and Windows Phone is almost a non-factor behind Android and the iOS. Or is it? PC Mag just published an absolutely glowing review of the new Nokia Lumina Icon with its 5-inch 1080p OLED screen, 20-megapixel camera, 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, and sleek brushed metal/polycarbonate design. [See PC Mag's Editor's Choice review of the Nokia Lumina Icon] -- Posted Thursday, February 13, 2014 by chb

Not mincing words -- Paul Thurrott on Windows 8
In a blog entry entitled "What the Heck is Happening to Windows?" Paul Thurrott does not mince words. "Windows 8 is a disaster in every sense of the word. This is not open to debate, is not part of some cute imaginary world where everyone's opinion is equally valid or whatever. Windows 8 is a disaster. Period." Thurrott, one of the most highly esteemed technology bloggers, blames Microsoft's fatal tendency of trying to be all things to all people, a tendency Pen Computing Magazine lamented every time Microsoft tried to somehow shoehorn pen and touch support into Windows proper... [See Paul Thurotte blog] -- Posted Monday, February 10, 2014 by chb

Sony sells VAIO PC business, concentrates on smartphones and tablets
Sony is leaving the PC and laptop business in order to concentrate its mobile product lineup on smartphones and tablets. The VAIO PC business is transferred to a new company established by Japan Industrial Partners Inc. Sony's decision came upon analysis of factors, including the drastic changes in the global PC industry, Sony's overall business strategy, the need for support of Sony's VAIO customers, and some job preservation for VAIO personnel. [See Sony release] -- Posted Thursday, February 6, 2014 by chb

Satya Nadella new Microsoft CEO, John Thompson new Chairman
The media won't have Steve Ballmer to kick around anymore. Microsoft announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Satya Nadella (in picture) as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors effective immediately. Nadella, who joined Microsoft in 1992, previously was Executive VP of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. Microsoft also announced that John Thompson will be Chairman of the Board, and that prior Chairman Bill Gates will remain on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor. [See Microsoft press release] -- Posted Tuesday, February 4, 2014 by chb

HP offers touch for just a buck extra
In the past, one giant obstacle for pen computing, and especially for notebooks, was always the extra cost of the pen and digitizer. Hewlett Packard apparently remembers that, and advertises that (albeit just for a limited time) touch for its HP ENVY 15t Quad is available for just $1 more. Honestly, even without touch US800 for a sleek, 15-inch, Haswell Core i7-powered would be a great bargain. The extra buck for touch is just icing on the cake. [See HP ENVY TouchSmart 15t] -- Posted Monday, February 3, 2014 by chb

Review: DAP Technologies M9020 — ultra-rugged, highly configurable QWERTY 7-inch Windows tablet
Tablets are in, but there are tasks where an integrated keyboard comes in handy. That's what DAP Technologies created the fully-rugged DAP M9020 tablet for. Powered by an Intel Atom N2600, the M9020 runs Windows 7 on a 7-inch WSVGA resistive touch display. The M9020 supports Bluetooth v4.0, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Gobi 5000 4G LTE, u-blox 6 GPS, micro SD card expansion, dual cameras, RFID, and a 1D/2D barcode scanner. The tablet can survive multiple 6-foot drops and carries IP67 sealing. [See full review of the DAP M9020 rugged tablet] -- Posted Monday, January 27, 2014 by chb

DRS ARMOR gone
Sorry for being late on reporting this, but it seems that DRS Tactical Systems pulled the plug on all DRS ARMOR tablets. Early summer last year we had been told all ARMOR products were current, but an October inquiry went unanswered. We just now came across an October 18, 2013 release by DRS Technologies, informing that all ARMOR products were End of Life (see release). Once known as WalkAbout Computer, tablet pioneers and makers of the rugged Hammerhead computers, the company had been sold to DRS Technologies in 2005, and DRS then to Italian Finmeccanica in 2008. As is, DRS Technologies still sells a variety of military rugged computers, but the last of the WalkAbout DNA seems gone now. -- Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 by chb

Original Microsoft Surface Pro blow-out
Microsoft seems to be clearing out inventory of the original Surface Pro tablets. Those on Microsoft's mailing list received offers for US$300 off the the Surface Pro. That brings the price of a 128GB Surface Pro down to US$599 (w/o the keyboard, though). That's not bad for an Intel 3rd gen Core I5-powered tablet with a full 10.6-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel screen, both capacitive touch and an active pen, dual cameras, etc. The Surface Pro 2, of course, is that much better with a Haswell chip and all sorts of improvements, but the equivalent model starts at US$999. [See Surface Pro offer] -- Posted Friday, January 17, 2014 by chb

Panasonic announces future product expansion with Microsoft Windows Embedded 8 Handheld at NRF2014 EXPO
Today at the 2014 2014 National Retain Federation industry show, Panasonic announced that it’s working closely with Microsoft to deliver future enterprise-class mobile devices based on the Windows Embedded 8 Handheld platform. The collaboration will enable Panasonic to expand its rugged mobile computing portfolio with innovative new handheld devices bringing Windows Phone 8 technologies to enterprise customers. -- Posted Monday, January 13, 2014 by chb

Datalogic to preview the next-gen Memor X3 handheld
Datalogic announced that at the 2014 National Retain Federation show, which takes place January 12-15, 2014 in New York City, the company will debut the Memor X3, the next generation of its very small and handy mobile handheld computer. The Memor X3 will be faster, have twice the storage, longer battery life, a larger screen, and numerous other improvements. -- Posted Saturday, January 11, 2014 by chb

N-trig pen technology used in new Sony VAIO Flip 11
N-trig reports that its active pen and touch technology has been implemented in a new device announced by Sony at the 2013 CES conference in Las Vegas. The new Sony VAIO Flip 11 is an 11-inch/2.82-lb convertible that will have the same hinge design as the others in the Flip series, allowing users to effortlessly convert the device from a traditional laptop into a tablet. The device will go on sale in February, starting at $799. -- Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2014 by chb

Android leads OS U.S. sales, as LG and Nokia see resurgence
Daddi Brand Communications reports that in the 3 months ending November 2013, Android maintained its lead of smartphone sales in the U.S., capturing 50.3% of the smartphone market. iOS follows with 43.1% of smartphone sales, an increase month on month, however, down 9.9% versus the same period a year ago. Windows Phone, the third largest OS in the U.S, was at nearly 5%, up 2.1% points from the previous year. As with the previous period, Verizon maintained its lead as the top smartphone carrier, with just under a third of sales (31.7%). AT&T, in second, had 28.3%, passing Sprint as the third largest carrier with 13.3% of sales. -- Posted Monday, January 6, 2014 by chb

How it all began: The Birth of Pen Windows
Haverzine published a nice article on the beginnings of pen computing and the origins of Pen Windows. Certainly brought back memories to the editors of Pen Computing Magazine who were there and lived through the humble beginnings of handhelds and tablets. [See Microsoft & Mobile, Part 1: The Birth of Pen Windows] -- Posted Tuesday, December 31, 2013 by chb

Does your Pentium have an Atom engine?
There was a time in the very distant computing past where, when buying a computer, the sole decision you needed to make was whether to use the Intel 386/33 or save a few bucks and get the slightly slower 386/25. Today, if you use Intel's handy ARK app that lists every product available from Intel, there's a staggering 1,874 different processors listed... [Read more] -- Posted Saturday, December 28, 2013 by chb

Ubiqconn's two new versatile, rugged Intel Atom N2600-powered Windows tablets
Ubiqconn of Taiwan, a spin-off from well-known First International Computer, has introduced two fully rugged Intel Atom N2600-powered tablet computers, the T70C (7-inch 1280 x 800 pixel) and the T10C (10.4-inch 1024 x 768 pixel). Both carry IP65 sealing, have very wide operating temperature ranges, have been MIL-STD-810G tested, have extensive wired and wireless connectivity, hot-swappable dual batteries, and can be equipped with various snap-on modules. [See description, analysis and specs of the Ubiqconn T70C and Ubiqconn T10C rugged tablets] -- Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 by chb

BlackBerry to try iOS, Android?
According to InfoWorld, BlackBerry's new CEO John Chen is considering making the company's security and enterprise productivity features available on iOS and Android (see article). Our take: Palm tried that approach, albeit in reverse, when they put Windows CE onto their hardware. It didn't work. -- Posted Friday, December 20, 2013 by chb

Handheld's Nautiz X1 ultra-rugged smartphone now shipping
Handheld Group announced that their highly anticipated Nautiz X1 rugged enterprise smartphone is shipping now. Part of Handheld's Nautiz product family of rugged and ultra-rugged PDAs and smartphones, the fully dust- and waterproof Nautiz X1 has a 4-inch 800 x 480 pixel Gorilla Glass-protected procap display, u-bloc GPS, 5mp camera, -4 to 140F temperature range, can be ordered with either Android 4.x or Windows Embedded Handheld, and runs on both GSM and CDMA networks. "This is the toughest smartphone ever built," says Jerker Hellström, CEO of Handheld Group. "We see a huge demand for truly rugged smartphones among field professionals and outdoor enthusiasts who want to be constantly connected." [See Handheld press release] -- Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 by chb

Rapid change in wearable computing
For years, wearable computing was the next big thing. Now it may finally be here, but not in the way most expected. Digitimes expects smart wearable shipments to grow dramatically in 2014, driven by products like Samsung's Galaxy Gear and other smart bands that communicate with smartphones. And, disconcertingly for the pioneers of rugged wearables, Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine's respected editor-in-chief John Keller writes that the military wearable computing landscape has flipped 180 degrees, with current military requirements calling for COTS smartphones, tablets and hybrids from commercial providers such as Samsung. Keller quotes an Elbit Systems representative as saying, "It looks like the military wearable computer is definitely commercial, so there is no place for us." [See Rapid pace of commercial technology complicates Army plans for wearable computing] -- Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by chb

Getac begins shipping new F110 rugged tablet
Getac announced it has begun shipping its new F110 rugged tablet, which Getac says is the thinnest and lightest large-screen rugged tablet ever built. The company says that pre-orders of the new rugged tablet is the most of any product Getac has ever introduced and production has been ramped-up to meet the high demand. [See RuggedPCReview's assessment of the new Getac F110] -- Posted Saturday, December 14, 2013 by chb

Michael Dell's keynote at Dell World 2013: reaching for the cloud
One big problem with being a public company is that every three months it's imperative not to disappoint analysts and investors. Dell won't have to worry about that anymore because it returned to being a private company. That means Dell can now take the longer look, pursue the bigger picture, and no longer suffer from the infliction of short term thinking, as Michael Dell so eloquently put it in his keynote address at the 2013 Dell World conference in Austin, Texas. [read more...] -- Posted Friday, December 13, 2013 by chb

Xplore secures multi-million dollar RangerX order
Xplore Technologies announced it has received its first major purchase order for its RangerX rugged Android tablet (see RuggedPCReview report on RangerX). The order of approximately US$4 million from a major U.S. telecommunications provider includes tablets and accessories and is expected to ship this month. "This multi-million dollar order is a great testament to how the RangerX caters to the telecommunications industry unlike any other rugged device on the market," Mark Holleran, president and chief operating officer for Xplore Technologies, said. [See Xplore press release] -- Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2013 by chb

Canalysis: tablets to make up 50% of PC market in 2014
Independent analyst firm Canalys predicts that in 2014 tablets will almost outship all other PC form factors (desktops, notebooks, and tablets) combined. The worldwide client PC market grew 18% in Q3 2013, despite desktop and notebook shipments continuing to decline. Tablet shipments accounted for 40% of PC shipments in Q3 2013, less than half a million units behind global notebook shipments. Tablet domination is set to continue, with Canalys forecasting 285 million units to ship in 2014, growing to 396 million in 2017. Apple and Samsung are expected to stay ahead, though competition in the tablet market continues to heat up. [See Canalysis report] -- Posted Tuesday, November 26, 2013 by chb

Juniper System blog on the importance of long-lasting batteries in rugged handhelds
Interesting article on Juniper Systems' Get Rugged blog. With some tablets and notebooks now able to go 10+ hours on a charge, one should expect at least as much from rugged handhelds, and Juniper says the "Overtime Technology" battery of its Archer 2 ultra-rugged handheld can double that, and then some. [See Juniper Systems blog on long-lasting batteries] -- Posted Monday, November 25, 2013 by chb

State of Outdoor-Viewable Displays Late 2013
One of the big differentiating factors in ruggedized mobile computers is how well the display is suited for work outdoors in bright daylight and in direct sunlight. This can make the difference between a device being useful and productivity-enhancing, or frustrating and nearly useless. Why is this such a big issue? Aren't today's displays so good that the only thing that matters is how large a display you want, and perhaps what resolution it should have? For indoor use that's true, but outdoors it's an entirely different story. RuggedPCReview editor Conrad Blickenstorfer examines the current situation in outdoor-viewable displays. [Read full article] -- Posted Thursday, November 21, 2013 by chb

Xplore Technologies blog entries: rugged tablets used in Reebok Spartan Race and Law Enforcement
Xplore Technologies posted two interesting new blog entries at its site. "Rugged Tablets and the Spartan Race" explains how Xplore's RangerX rugged Android tablet is used at the Reebok Spartan Race (the RangerX is actually the official tablet at the Spartan endurance race). "Rugged Tablets Aid Law Enforcement" describes why rugged tablets such as Xplore's iX104C5 are increasingly used in the fast-paced world of law enforcement. -- Posted Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by chb

Motion Computing J-Series tablet camera training
Modern tablets have a wealth of powerful features that can greatly enhance productivity, but are not always obvious or easy to use/figure out. Manuals help, but a good instruction video is almost always better. Tablet pioneer Motion Computing knows that and just released the latest in their series of Motion product training videos. This one shows how to best use the camera in Motion J-Series ruggedized tablets, and how to use the many graphics tools available. [See Motion's J-Series Camera Usage instruction video] -- Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2013 by chb

Trimble announces special Yuma 2 rugged tablet deal
Trimble Mobile Computing Solutions announced a special deal where customers get a complimentary extended battery pack (a US$279 value) when they order a Trimble Yuma 2 rugged tablet computer before the end of the year. The Yuma 2, a fully-rugged tablet truly designed for outdoor work, boasts IP65 and MIL-STD-810G certifications and a display that uses unique transflective technology to be easily readable in direct sunlight. It is ready for all-day use with a dual-battery set that can be changed out with the external battery pack accessory, giving workers un-interrupted productivity and power. [See Trimble Yuma 2] -- Posted Monday, November 11, 2013 by chb

iPad Air teardown -- the cost of thinness
The crafty folks at ifixit.com (whose terrific tools we use at the RuggedPCReview.com's lab) tore down a brand-new iPad Air to see what's inside and how easy it is to repair. As far as the latter goes, not very. They found impressive feats of miniaturization, but at the cost of a "repairability score" of just 2 out of 10. And a diminished battery. Such is the cost of excessive thinness. [See ifixit.com's iPad Air Teardown] -- Posted Thursday, November 7, 2013 by chb

Promethean KUNO Android tablet solution for mobile learning
Promethean and KUNO announced a new 9.7-inch Android 4.1-based education tablet learning system, the Promethean KUNO, that is compatible with most district curriculum, software, and applications. Additionally, the tablet comes preloaded with Promethean's ActivEngage2 software. The 1.6-pound tablet combines rugged hardware, device management and student response software to bring digital learning to every classroom. [See press release and Promethean KUNO spec sheet] -- Posted Wednesday, November 6, 2013 by chb

Apple remains on top of tablet market for Q3/2013
According to market analysts IHS, for the third quarter 2013, Apple shipped 14.25 million tablets (down a bit from the prior quarter), Samsung 10.7 million (up 23%). Asus, Lenovo and Acer followed, all shipping fewer than 2 million tablets. Total tablet shipments were at 48 million, up 5 million from Q2/2013, and mostly contributed by inexpensive 7-inch white box tablets from China. Rhoda Alexander, director, tablet research for IHS said "Cheaper almost always wins the volume race, and competitors were quick to adjust pricing when it became clear that it was impossible to achieve anything close to Apple's shipment growth at the same price level. The resulting surge in sub-US$250 alternatives catapulted Android to the leading operating system in tablets in the third quarter of 2012, but left vendors searching for profit in an increasingly competitive market." -- Posted Thursday, October 31, 2013 by chb

Atmel demonstrates impressive glove and active and/or passive stylus multi-touch controller

Atmel posted a YouTube video demonstrating the thin stylus and thick glove sensing capabilities of Atmel's new mXT640T maXTouch T-series touchscreen controller. The mXT640T supports screen sizes up to 6.2” with a 1.0 mm passive stylus, senses up to 5.0 mm thick multi-finger glove touches, and has superior moisture touch performance. The T Series incorporates Atmel's Adaptive Sensing technology that automatically and intelligently switches between self- and mutual-capacitance sensing to provide users a seamless transition between a finger touch, hover, passive or active stylus, or glove touch. [See Atmel demo video and maXTouch brochure]
-- Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by chb

Two annoying trends...
Is the Flat Earth Society behind the recent rush to make everything as flat and thin as possible? What's wrong with 3D, icons you immediately recognize, a sense of depth, and just an overall pleasant look? And why must every device be thin, thin, thin at all cost? Have we reached a point where fashion is replacing true innovation? [Read Two Annoying Trends] -- Posted Thursday, October 24, 2013 by chb

The new Two Technologies N4 — Like having leading-edge Android consumer technology in a very tough case
Two Technologies, headquartered in Horsham, PA, has introduced a remarkable rugged handheld. The new N4 runs Android 4.1.2 on a 1.6GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, has a 5.55-inch 1280 x 720 pixel AMOLED capacitive multi-touch display and an inductive stylus, a 70-key backlit keypad, dual cameras (including an 8mp rear camera that can record 1080p/30), 3G/4G WWAN and even a mag-stripe reader option. The N4 weighs just under a pound, has a wide operating temperature range (-4 to 122°F), IP67 sealing, and hot-swappable dual batteries good for three full shifts. [See RuggedPCReview description, analysis and specs of the 2T N4] -- Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by chb

Apple event: new MacBook Pros, new iPads
At Apple's media event in San Francisco, the company mentioned that 65% of all iOS devices are running iOS7 already, and that a total of 60 billion apps have been downloaded, resulting in US$13 billion for developers. The new "Mavericks" Mac OS is available immediately, and it is free.

The MacBook Pro models are thinner and lighter and now use Haswell processors and get 801.11ac. The 13-inch version starts at US$1,299, down from 1,499, and the 15-inch version at US$1,999 (down from US$2,199). The new and revolutionary MacPro starts at US$2,999 for a 3.7Ghz quad core machine, with 12GB DRAM, Dual FirePro D300, 2GB VRAM each, and 256GB SSD), available the end of 2013. iLife and iWorks have been updated for iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks., and both come included with any new iOS or Mac device.

Apple said over 170 million iPads have been sold to-date, and introduced a new iPad mini with a retina 2048 x 1536 display that's a bit smaller at 7.9 inches. It has a A7 chip, and the 16GB WiFi version is US$399, available November. The original iPad mini remains, now starting at US$299.

Apple also introduced the iPad Air that's thinner (7.5mm vs. 9.4 mm) and lighter (1 pound instead of 1.35 lbs.) than the 4th gen iPad. It has the 64-bit A7 chip and M7 motion processor (same as iPhone 5S), and still a 9.7-inch retina display, but with a smaller side bezel. There is now a 5mp iSight camera. The iPad Air replaces full-size iPads and starts at $499 for the 16GB WiFi version, and 16GB/cellular for $629. The iPad 4 is gone but the iPad 2 remains available at $399. The iPad Air can be ordered (and ships) November 1.
-- Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 by chb

Neonode scores potentially huge patent
Neonode, the company that pioneered infrared-based touch screens, received a potentially very valuable patent for an "optical touch screen systems using total internal reflection." The problem with Neonode's original optical touch technology was that it relied on a raised bezel for the light source that was then beaming light across the display surface. The market, however, wants flush glass, and Neonode makes that possible with this new patent for a display with internal light guides. [See Neonode patent #8,553,014] -- Posted Thursday, October 17, 2013 by chb

Neonode introduces improved multi-sensing controller IC
Neonode announced the release of its second-generation single chip touch and proximity IC, the NN1002. Neonode has developed the NN1002 in collaboration with Texas Instruments to improve optical-touch system performance, cost, and functionality for PCs, printers, tablets, smartphones, wearables, autos, and Internet of Things applications. [See Neonode press release] -- Posted Wednesday, October 16, 2013 by chb

Getac announces technologically advanced, impressively thin and light rugged F110 tablet and V110 convertible
Getac is blazing new trails with the new V110—the thinnest and lightest rugged convertible—and the F110, the thinnest and lightest fully rugged large screen tablet. The V110 is a rugged convertible that is 1.34 inches thick and weighs 4.4 pounds, the F110 a tablet that's just under an inch thick, weighs just over three pounds. Both new rugged devices offer a choice of Intel "Haswell" 4th generation Core i5 and i7 processors, have 11.6-inch dual-input multi-touch displays, fast 802.11ac WiFi, and 4G LTE. Both carry IP65 sealing, have impressive -6° to 140°F operating temperature ranges, and battery life well beyond full shifts. [See RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Getac F110 and Getac V110] -- Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013 by chb

Juniper Systems announces Archer 2 rugged, configurable handheld with 4.3-inch high-res capacitive touch screen and IP68 sealing
Juniper Systems of Logan, Utah, introduced the Archer 2 rugged handheld computer as a follow-up and eventual replacement of the company's versatile and virtually indestructible Archer Field PC. The new Archer 2 is faster, has a larger and brighter 4.3-inch 800 x 480 pixel capacitive touch display that can be used with gloves, an extra-long battery life, enhanced GPS capabilities, and it carries IP68 sealing, which means it's completely dust and waterproof. [Read Juniper Systems press release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Archer 2] -- Posted Tuesday, October 8, 2013 by chb

Amrel releases fully rugged 5-inch multi-OS DF6 handheld
Amrel has launched the Rocky DF6, a fully rugged ARM-powered 5-inch tablet with 800 x 480 resolution that can run either Android or Windows Embedded CE 6.0. The device, which weighs just a pound, offers numerous configuration and interface options, sealed Fischer and LEMO ports, and impressive ruggedness. [See description, analysis and specs of the Amrel Rocky DF6] -- Posted Wednesday, October 2, 2013 by chb

Intermec, now part of Honeywell, introduces rugged CN51 mobile computer with two OS options -- Android and Windows
Intermec, now part of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, announced the CN51 rugged mobile computer. The CN51 is an updated version of Intermec's successful CN50, but has a larger, higher resolution screen (4.0-inch, 800 x 480) that now uses resistive multi-touch, updated WiFi, WAN, Bluetooth, camera, and scanners, and it's now based on the dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4 processor, which means Intermec can offer the CN51 either with Microsoft Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 OR with Android 4.1. [See Intermec press release, and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Intermec CN51] -- Posted Tuesday, October 1, 2013 by chb

ABI Research: Android ecosystem passing Apple
According to ABI Research, Apple's iPad family of products finally has passed leadership to the Android ecosystem, with the number of Android-powered tablets surpassing iOS-based slates for the first time, tablet-related hardware revenues reaching parity, and the average selling price of iPads rapidly approaching the market average in Q2 2013. ABI also pointed out that smaller 7-inch tablets became the majority of the shipments, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini represented about 60% of total iPad shipments and almost half of iPad-related device revenues in the quarter. [See ABI Research press release] -- Posted Monday, September 30, 2013 by chb

BlackBerry reports second quarter fiscal 2014 results
BlackBerry reported revenue for Q2 of fiscal 2014 of approximately $1.6 billion, down 49% from $3.1 billion in the previous quarter and down 45% from $2.9 billion in Q2 of fiscal 2013. There was a loss of $965 million (including a large charge against Z10 inventory), compared to a loss of $84 million in the prior quarter. While Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry, expressed disappointment and the need for necessary changes to create the best business model for our hardware business, he said BlackBerry remained a financially strong company with $2.6 billion in cash and no debt. [See press release] -- Posted Friday, September 27, 2013 by chb

IHS: iPhone 5s costs US$199 to make
According to IHS, the complete bill of materials (BOM) and manufacturing costs of a 16GB iPhone 5s amount to US$199 (the original iPhone 5 ran to US$197). Of components, the 64-bit A7 processor costs US$19, the camera US$13, the battery US$4, the display US$41, the user interface part with the fingerprint scanner US$15, and a gig of LPDDR3 RAM US$11. The 32GB and 64GB models cost US$208 and US$218 to make, respectively, so it's pretty clear which 5s model makes Apple the most money. The 16GB and 32GB 5c models, by the way, cost US$166 and US$176 to make. [See detailed teardown and breakdown of the new iPhones] -- Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013 by chb

In defense of Microsoft Surface
A few days ago Microsoft introduced their second generation Surface tablets, hoping for a kinder reception. Problem is, industry expert Daniel W. Rasmus says, that the biggest issue with the original Surface tablet was not the hardware, nor was it really the software, because Windows 8 went well beyond Surface. The real issue with Windows Surface was expectations, misguided expectations that Microsoft continues to foster through its advertising. [Read more] -- Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013 by chb

Microsoft introduces second gen Surface tablets
Microsoft announced two new Surface models, the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2. The Surface 2 replaces the Surface RT, has a 1.7Ghz Tegra 4 processor, a full 1080p screen, dual cameras (5mp rear, 3.5mp front), a redesigned kickstand, and will start at US$449. The Surface Pro 2 comes with a 1.6Ghz Haswell Core i5-4200u chip, HD Graphics 4400, and improved battery life (8-10 hours). It will start at US$899. -- Posted Monday, September 23, 2013 by chb

Juniper Systems provides Mesa computers to help Colorado flooding
Juniper Systems reports it is shipping rugged Mesa handheld computers to Colorado to help with disaster mapping of the flooding there. The Mesa's large 5.7-inch display and ultra-rugged construction make it especially suitable for mapping and surveying deployment. [See illustrated blog] -- Posted Thursday, September 19, 2013 by chb

IDC forecasts tablet shipments to top total PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013
IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker expects tablet shipments to surpass total PC shipments (desktop plus portable PCs) in the fourth quarter of 2013 (4Q13). PCs shipments are still expected to be greater than tablet shipments for the full year, but IDC forecasts tablet shipments will surpass total PC shipments on an annual basis by the end of 2015. Smartphones will continue to ship in high volumes, surpassing 1.4 billion units in 2015 and accounting for 69% of all smart connected device shipments worldwide. -- Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by chb

Apple event: free apps, iPhone 5c iPhone 5s
Apple held its annual Fall new product event and announced the iPhone 5c and 5s. The low-end 5c has an A6 processor, a better FaceTime camera, is black in the front and green, white, blue, red or yellow in the back. With a ubiquitous 2-year telco contract, it'll run US$99 for 16GB and US$199 for 32GB. The new iPhone 5s comes in silver, gold and grayish, has a 64-bit A7 CPU that's up to twice as fast as the iPhone 5 chip, a new M7 motion-sensing chip, a new camera with a 5-element F/2.2 lens, a larger sensor, auto white balance and exposure, auto image stabilization, dual LED flash (warm and cool). There's 120 frame per second slow motion in 720p video, and there's a fingerprint sensor built into the home button. The 5s, with 2-year contract, is US$199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB, all in stores September 20. Oh, and the Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto, and iMovie apps are now free. -- Posted Tuesday, September 10, 2013 by chb

Microsoft buys Nokia's phone business
Microsoft announced it will purchase Nokia's Devices & Services business, which includes their smartphone and mobile phone businesses, design team, manufacturing and assembly facilities, and teams handling operations, sales, marketing and support. That means that just like Google did with its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Microsoft takes over a once high-flying but now struggling cell phone pioneer, thus joining Apple as an all-in-one hardware/software vendor. It should be interesting to see what this will mean to vertical market/industrial handhelds, most of which still use Windows CE or variants of Windows Mobile. What's left for Nokia? The company says it will be "focused on enabling mobility through its leadership in networking, mapping & location, and advanced technologies." [See Steve Ballmer email to Microsoft employees on Nokia Devices & Services acquisition and Nokia announcement] -- Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013 by chb

Acer selects N-trig DuoSense for Aspire R7-572 convertible notebook
N-trig, which makes the DuoSense integrated active pen and multi-touch technology, announced that its technology has been implemented in the new/"refreshed" Acer Aspire R7-572, a 15.6-inch convertible notebook with a hinge reminiscent of some of IBM's P-Series Thinkpads from the mid-1990s. [See N-trig press release] -- Posted Monday, September 2, 2013 by chb

Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a 10-inch Android tablet with a nicely integrated active, pressure-sensitive pen. As such, it offers content creation capabilities not generally found in media tablets. This a screamingly fast tablet, reviewer Dan Rasmus found, but it's a bit plasticky and WXGA resolution is marginal these days. Still, Rasmus tentatively recommends the Note for folks who like pens. [See Dan Rasmus' review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 -- Posted Friday, August 23, 2013 by chb

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months
Microsoft announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. "The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company," said board member John Thompson, who will lead a committee directing the replacement process. [See Microsoft press release] -- Posted Friday, August 23, 2013 by chb

Wacom introduces pressure-sensitive active pen for iPad
Wacom introduced the Intuous Creative Stylus, a pressure-sensitive digital pen for sketching, drawing and painting on an iPad. Wacom says the stylus offers a realistic pen-on-paper feel and users can rest their palms naturally on the iPad when using compatible creative apps (such as such as SketchBook Pro, ArtRage, Bamboo Paper, ProCreate and Psykopaint). The US$99 stylus recognizes 2048 pressure levels, uses a AAAA battery, and apparently connects to the iPad via Bluetooth. -- Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2013 by chb

Review: Winmate M700D rugged 7-inch Windows tablet
With the Intel Atom N2600-powered M700D tablet, Winmate offers a straight-forward and cleanly designed basic tool for tablet jobs that require Microsoft Windows, yet also a tool that's technologically attractive with capacitive touch, and highly customizable by partners/resellers that may use their own branding. [See full review of the Winmate M700D] -- Posted Wednesday, August 14, 2013 by chb

RIM/BlackBerry considers putting itself up for sale
BlackBerry announced that, in their words, "the company's Board of Directors has formed a Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment. These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the company or other possible transactions." -- Posted Monday, August 12, 2013 by chb

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View all 34 issues of David MacNeill's Newton Notes column covering the Apple Newton MessagePad between 1993 and 1999.
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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.
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2003 Pen Computing Editor's Choice Awards!
Pen Review Oldies: Mid 1990s
AMS MediaPro (1995)
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