January 2011

Getac PS236 handheld goes on 10,000 mile expedition
Getac releases a case study on how a Getac PS236 made a 10,000 mile motorcycle round-trip between Ireland and Kazakhstan, strapped to a KTM motorcycle. The PS236 handled all that vibration, desert dust, extreme temperatures, mountain climbs up to 23,000 feet, recorded the trip with its integrated camera, provided GPS navigation and geotagging, and allowed the expedition team to remain in contact. [See the Getac PS236 case study, expedition web page, and video] -- Posted Monday, January 31, 2011 by chb

Psion removes Teklogix from name
Psion Teklogix announced it has shortened its operating company name to just Psion, removing "Teklogix" to "create a more effective global brand." Seems like only yesterday when Psion acquired Teklogix in 2000 and we attended the announcing press conference at ScanTech in Chicago. Prior, Teklogix had spawned WaveLink and acquired Badger, which had been making rugged mobile systems in the 1990s. No one expected Psion handhelds to quickly disappear from the market, with the company concentrating on the EPOC OS that became Symbian, whereas Psion Teklogix, operating out of Canada, flourished. So, in name at least, it's all come full circle, and Psion is once again just Psion. [See Psion press release] -- Posted Monday, January 31, 2011 by chb

Amazon ebook sales now pass paperbacks, too
The ebook momentum seems to keep growing. At Amazon, Kindle ebook sales now exceed those of traditional paperback sales by 15%, and for every hardcover book Amazon sells, there are three ebook sales. Just as was the case with film and digital in photography, we'll probably soon seen a point of no return. Whether that'll be a good thing or not is unclear as of yet. -- Posted Friday, January 28, 2011 by chb

AMREL DB6 rugged Atom-based Windows handheld
While the AMREL DB6-M shown to the right looks like a PDA, it really is a full-fledged computer running Windows 7 on a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 and a solid state disk. The wide-format sunlight-viewable display measured five inches diagonally and offers 800 x 480 pixel WVGA resolution. Operation is via touch or stylus, and also via the dual layer keypad below the screen. The device, which weighs less than two pounds, is hugely configurable and ought to be of interest to military and many industrial applications. [See description and specs of the AMREL DB6] -- Posted Friday, January 28, 2011 by chb

N-trig videos highlight the use of pens in touch tablets
N-trig -- the company who makes the DuoSense pen and capacitive multi-touch solution combined into a single digitizer -- just issued a couple of very cool videos that show the advantage of having a precision pen in addition to touch. Watch the N-trig videos here and here. -- Posted Thursday, January 27, 2011 by chb

Trimble introduces next gen Ranger 3
Trimble introduced the Ranger 3, a next-generation follow-up to the company's line of rugged Ranger handheld computers. The new Windows Mobile 6.5-based Ranger gets a thorough technology update (processor, storage, camera, scanner, accelerometer, compass, etc.), a larger 4.2-inch full-VGA display, and a new QWERTY thumb-keyboard layout. The design is all new, despite virtually unchanged dimensions, weight and ruggedness. [See description and specs of the Trimble Ranger 3] -- Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2011 by chb

Toshiba Tablet teaser website
Toshiba put up a teaser website for its upcoming NVIDIA Tegra 2-powered Android tablet, which will have a 1280 x 800 pixel 10.1-inch capacitive multi-touch screen, dual cameras (2mp front, 5mp rear), good connectivity (USB, mini-USB, SD Card), dual speakers, and a cool, albeit by now standard, black & gloss look. [See Toshiba Tablet teaser site] -- Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by chb

Full review: DLI 8300 Rugged Tablet
DLI of Laporte, Indiana, offers a full lineup with tablet computers for different purposes and in different sizes. The role of the Intel Atom-powered DLI 8300 with its 8.4-inch display is that of a general purpose tablet computer large enough to serve as a "real" computer in the field or in a vehicle, but small and portable enough to be carried around on the job. RuggedPCReview.com conducted a detailed review of the DLI 8300 and found much to like. [See full review of the DLI 8300 Rugged Tablet] -- Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by chb

DAP Technologies introduces two new rugged tablets
DAP Technologies has expanded its lineup with two updated versions of its full screen and half-screen plus keyboard tablets that are available both in Windows Embedded Standard and Windows CE versions. The new M8930 and M8940 include various technology updates and now run Windows CE 6.0 rel3 on 624MHz Marvell PXA300 processors. [See description and specs of the DAP Technologies M8930 and M8940] -- Posted Monday, January 24, 2011 by chb

Juniper Systems announces shipment of Mesa Geo 3G Rugged Notepad
Juniper Systems announced that its PTCRB-certified Mesa Geo 3G Rugged Notepad is now available for shipment. The Mesa Geo 3G adds a 3G GSM cellular data modem to provide real-time wireless connectivity while working in the field. The Mesa Rugged Notepad -- a clever crossover between a handheld and a tablet PC -- is available in three models: Standard, Geo, and Geo 3G. The standard Mesa has WiFi and Bluetooth; the Geo adds 2-5 meter accuracy GPS and a 3.2MP camera with Juniper Geotagging; and the Geo 3G model includes camera, GPS, and the 3G GSM data modem. [See Juniper press release] -- Posted Thursday, January 20, 2011 by chb

Winmate offers super-compact 7-inch rugged tablet
Taiwanese industrial display technology and rugged solutions provider Winmate introduced a minimalist rugged device geared towards providing GPS information and computing power for military and similar deployments in the smallest possible package. The Atom Z530-powered tablet has a sunlight-readable 7-inch resistive touch display and weighs less than two pounds. [See description and specs of the Winmate 7-inch rugged tablet PC] -- Posted Thursday, January 20, 2011 by chb

Datalogic Falcon X3 for tough retail and warehouse jobs
Datalogic has added the Falcon X3 rugged handheld computer to its already comprehensive lineup. The ergonomically designed Falcon X3 runs either Windows CE 6 rel. 3 or Windows Mobile 6.5 on a 624MHz Marvell PXA310 chip and a Cortex-M3 co-processor, has a 3.5-inch QVGA touch display, your choice of a 29-key numeric or 52-key alphanumeric keyboard, 3-megapixel AF camera with LED flash, 1D and 1D/2D scanning options, impressive ruggedness, and it can be configured with a pistol grip. [See description and specs of the Datalogic Falcon X3] -- Posted Monday, January 17, 2011 by chb

Intermec releases 70 Series of ultra-rugged handhelds
On January 11, Intermec announced a whole new series of ultra-rugged handhelds, based on a common architecture and with common basic features, but optimized for various markets via different keyboards, form factors, scanners and, of course, numerous wireless and other options. The 70 Series is based on the 600MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 3530 ARM processor, runs Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, has 3.5-inch full-VGA resistive touch screens with Corning Gorilla Glass, and shares common peripherals and docks. RuggedPCReview.com analyzed the 70 Series platform and each model. See description and specs for the Intermec CN70, CN70e, CK70 and CK71. -- Posted Monday, January 17, 2011 by chb

Touch screens over the years
Steve Litchfield over at allaboutsymbian.com posted a very good article entitled "Touchscreens through the years - and my new party trick" in which he looks at all the various touch screen technologies used in handhelds, starting with an old Psion Series 5. The "party trick" references refers to the fact that touch screens are no longer fragile; thanks to things like Corning's "Gorilla Glass," you can now take a knife to a touch screen. [Read Touchscreens through the years - and my new party trick] -- Posted Friday, January 14, 2011 by chb

DRS Tactical expands roster with ARMOR X7 rugged tablet
DRS Tactical announced the release of the DRS ARMOR X7 rugged tablet computer, which will complement the company's larger X10 rugged tablets. The Intel Atom N450-based X7 has a 7-inch WSVGA display with auto-sensing dual input (active digitizer and resistive touch), is exceptionally rugged (6-foot drop, IP65, -4 to 140F), weighs under three pounds, and offers excellent configuration and customization potential via expansion bays and "FlexSpace" interfacing. [See description and specs of the DRS ARMOR X7] -- Posted Thursday, January 13, 2011 by chb

Gunze USA introduces new line of projected capacitive touch screens
Touch panel specialist Gunze announced their new line of extremely durable and nearly vandal-proof projected capacitive touch screens. Gunze's PCAP technology allows them to be tuned to operate through glass or polycarbonate facings in a variety of thicknesses. The panels, which support Windows 7 native gesturing, are available in various sizes from 7 to 22 inches. Gunze PCAP products are made in their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, with 20,000 square feet of Class 10K (ISO 9001 & 14001 certified) clean room and manufacturing space. [See Gunze's projected capacitive product page) -- Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011 by chb

2011 CES concludes, had good attendance
According to CES, the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas had over 2,700 exhibitors, and 140,000 attendance, including 30,000 from outside the US. These figures are up quite a bit from 2009 and 2010. -- Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 by chb

Microsoft releases Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5
On January 10, 2011, Microsoft announced the availability of Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, Microsoft's OS platform solution for enterprise handheld devices. Embedded Handheld 6.5 is built on Windows Mobile 6.5 (and Windows Mobile, of course, is a platform sitting on top of Windows CE). With Embedded Handheld 6.5, Microsoft stresses application compatibility across a range of devices, advanced security (password enforcement, remotes pipes), device management, and inclusion of voice telephony. Yes, the nomenclature is as confusing as ever, but according to VDC Research, Embedded CE and WinMo 6.x accounted for about 87% of the roughly 2.3 million rugged handhelds shipped in 2009, and the market share was probably similar in 2010. [See Microsoft's Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 release, and also the very informative "Handheld Devices for Industry Applications" that offers a side-by-side comparison between Embedded CE and Embedded Handheld.] -- Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 by chb

RNB Eagle: Economically priced, well-made, high-performance semi-rugged notebook
There are situations where a fully rugged notebook is overkill, but a standard consumer notebook just won't do. That's where the RNB Eagle by Rugged Notebooks comes in. It is a 6.5 semi-rugged with a 14.1-inch WXGA screen and very substantial performance. There's a magnesium alloy chassis, very solid construction, good outdoor viewability, good connectivity, including an HDMI port, SIM, and DVD writer. There is a fan and vents, so we're not talking water-proof, but the Eagle is spill-proof and can take a good deal of abuse, and the price is definitely right. [See full review of the Rugged Notebooks RNB Eagle] -- Posted Sunday, January 9, 2011 by chb

Microsoft announces.... nothing. Google follows suit.
Well, the much anticipated Las Vegas CES is shedding no light on how the industry will react to Apple's monster tablet home run. Yes, there were some tablets here and there, but really nothing that we didn't know already, and certainly nothing earth-shattering that'll change tablet history. [read more] -- Posted Friday, January 7, 2011 by chb

Samsung PC 7 Series "sliding Tablet PC"
On January 5th, Samsung announced the PC 7 Series "sliding Tablet PC" that seeks to combine tablet and netbook functionality. Samsung says, "the display elegantly slides up to reveal a physical keyboard giving the user the option of a multi-touch display or full keyboard and mouse interface." Samsung did not publish detailed pictures, but the design seems to work similar to a 2008 Apple patent submission (see here), which itself was something IBM (750P and 360P, and later TransNote) and others (Vadem et al) already did in the early 1990s. In terms of specs, the 10.5 x 6.7 x 0.8 unit weighs 2.2 lbs., runs Windows 7 on a 1.5GHz Z670 "Oak Trail" Atom chip, has a 340-nit 1366 x 768 pixel 10.1-inch touch screen, 32 or 64GB SSD, 1.3mp webcam, 8-hour battery, microSD, USB/HDMI, WiFi/WiMax/3G, and have a starting price of US$699. [See Samsung news release] -- Posted Friday, January 7, 2011 by chb

Leveraging the effortless multi-touch experience
The iPhone and iPad have forever redefined user expectations in how touch should work, and now we're seeing a rush to recreate and leverage that experience into other products sizes and form factors. An impressive example are the 15-32-inch projected capacitive multi-touch monitors announced by Touch Revolution at CES in Las Vegas. [See release] -- Posted Friday, January 7, 2011 by chb

Acer shows dual screen tablet notebook
When Microsoft (re)introduced the Tablet PC platform almost ten years ago, Acer was the first to come up with the convertible notebook concept. With the Iconia, Acer again introduced something different, this time a clamshell notebook with two screens, one of which can become a virtual keyboard or "Acer Ring" old iPod-style control. The two 14-inch displays offer 1,366 x 768 resolution, there's a Core i5 processor, and the whole thing weighs kist over six pounds. Acer even was a finalist for one of this year's Best of CES awards with the Iconia. [See Acer's Iconia page] -- Posted Friday, January 7, 2011 by chb

Dell tries again with a larger tablet
Dell introduced the Dell Streak 7 as a follow-up to the earlier Dell Streak 5 that consumers apparently felt was too large for a phone but too small for a tablet. The Streak 7 measures 7.9 x 4.7 x 0.5 inches, as a 7-inch multi-touch display with Gorilla Glass, runs Android 2.2 on a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip, has a 1.3mp camera, and supports T-Mobile's 4G mobile broadband, WiFi and Bluetooth. [Check Dell's Streak 7 page for info and shipping dates] -- Posted Friday, January 7, 2011 by chb

USA TODAY app for "Windows-based slate PCs"
USA TODAY announced the availability of an USA TODAY app for slate along the lines of what is already available for other mobile platforms. What's interesting here is that all of sudden tablets that are running Windows are called "slates," just like they once were way back when in the early 1990s, before Microsoft renamed it all "Tablet PC" ten years ago. Is "slate" an effort to be an un-tablet? Not a pad or a Tablet PC, but an all-new shiny late? Not associated with the stench of Tablet PC? -- Posted Thursday, January 6, 2011 by chb

Motion introduces rugged Windows-based multi-touch tablet
At the 2011 CES in Las Vegas, category pioneer Motion Computing introduced the Motion CL900, a lightweight tablet computer with a high-res 10-inch display and n-Trig DuoSense dual input. The tablet runs Windows 7 on Intel's new "Oak Trail" System-on-Chip Atom platform. The CL900 can handle 4-foot drops, its display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, and the battery is said to last 8+ hours. The CL900 will be available with Gobi 3000 WWAN/GPS, dual cameras, as well as peripheral modules. Starting price is under US$1,000. [Read description and specs of the Motion CL900 rugged tablet] -- Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011 by chb

Nielsen: iOS now #1 in US
According to a report released by Nielsen, the Apple iOS has passed BlackBerry to be the #1 ranked smartphone OS in the US in November 2010. Apple;s iOS had 28.6% market share, BlackBerry 26.1%, and the hard charging Android 25.8%. Back in June of 2010, BlackBerry was still on top with 33.9%, Apple had 27.9%, and Android 15%. These numbers suggest that Android's growth primarily comes at BlackBerry's expense. [See report] -- Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011 by chb