March 2012

Blast from the past: Scriptel
Scriptel, a global provider of electronic pen and sensor technology, announced the launch of the ST1501 LCD Electronic Signature Pad for Web Environments. The name Scriptel also brought back memories of the ScripTel WriteTouch digitizer of the mid-1990s that was briefly used in Xplore GeneSys rugged tablets. In the meantime, Scriptel apparently has an installed base of almost 3 million units. -- Posted Saturday, March 31, 2012 by chb

Red Hat now a billion dollar company
There was a time when Linux was seen as the next big thing and Red Hat was seemingly everywhere (we had our servers and many notebooks running Red Hat). But a number of years ago, Red Hat turned away from consumers/enthusiasts and to business customers. Then Android happened, and further pushed Linux away from public view. All this seemed to have worked out for Red Hat as the company had US$1 billion sales for the first time. [See Red Hat press release] -- Posted Friday, March 30, 2012 by chb

Garmin launches iOS/Android Garmin Pilot aviation app
Garmin announced Garmin Pilot, a new aviation app for iOS and Android-based mobile devices. The app brings Garmin's aviation features to tablets and smart phones, offering pilots complete navigation, trip planning, DUAT(S) filing, weather and electronic flight bag capabilities. It's free for 30 days, then pilots can pay $9.99/month or an annual subscription of $99.99. Geo-referenced FliteCharts are available for an additional $49.99 annually. Geo-referenced SafeTaxi diagrams are available for an additional $29.99 annually.[See Garmin Pilot product page] -- Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 by chb

AT&T plans major launch for Nokia Lumina 900 Windows Phone
According to c|net, AT&T will go all out to launch the Nokia Lumina 900 early April, with a massive campaign and a major presence in AT&T stores. The success or failure of Nokia may make or break the Windows Phone platform that's been having a hard time to gain traction against Apple and Android. (At our visit to an AT&T store on March 28, the salesperson was indeed carrying a Lumina 900 and praising it as a major hit) [See c|net article] -- Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 by chb

Mobile processor market to reach almost 2 billion by 2016
According to a new research report by NPD In-Stat, for 2011 ARM is the dominant processor architecture with over 73% of all units shipped and is growing. Thanks to the iPhone and iPad, Apple is second place for the entire mobile processor market just behind industry leader Intel, and in 2012, Apple will likely capture the top spot in terms of unit shipments. In-Stat also says that the release of Windows 8 later this year will be a pivotal point in the competition between the ARM and x86 processor architectures. -- Posted Wednesday, March 28, 2012 by chb

New: Opticon H22 rugged WinMo handheld
Opticon has released the H22, a rugged handheld computer running Windows 6.5.3 on a 806MHz Marvell PXA320 processor. The 12-ounce rugged handheld (IP65, 5-foot drop, 14-122F) has a 3.7-inch full VGA touch screen, a numeric or QWERTY keypad, extensive data capture capabilities (1D/2D scanner, RFID, camera, AGPS) and also includes WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G/3.5G WWAN and even an IrDA port. [See description and specs of the Opticon H22] -- Posted Monday, March 26, 2012 by chb

Hillcrest Labs unveils next "movement" for smartphones and tablets
Hillcrest Labs announced that its natural motion control technology, Freespace, is now available for manufacturers and component suppliers of smartphones and tablets. Hillcrest's new Freespace MotionEngine for Mobile is an embedded software solution that manages and enhances the performance of motion sensors found in smartphones and tablets -- accelerometers, magnetometers, and gyroscopes -- to enable today's motion-based applications and provide the foundation for next-generation user experiences. -- Posted Monday, March 26, 2012 by chb

HP combines Imaging/Printing and Personal Systems Groups
Hewlett Packard announced an organizational realignment that will combine HP's Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) and its Personal Systems Group (PSG) to create the Printing and Personal Systems Group. -- Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 by chb

Getac PS236 now available with Android in Europe
European offices of Getac announced that the Getac PS236 rugged handheld will now also be available with Android, a move that follows, according to Getac, the manufacturer's collaboration with Android developers across the globe. The hardware (806MHz PXA310, 3.5-inch VGA screen, 3.5G WWAN, IP67, etc.) remains largely the same as for the Windows Mobile version, with the exception of the Android version's larger 256MB RAM and use of USB client 2.0 instead of USB OTG. The Android version may become available in the US as Android gains more traction in vertical markets. [See PS236-Android spec sheet and Getac UK press release] -- Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2012 by chb

Apple sells 3 million new iPads in 3 days!
Apple announced it has sold three million new iPads in the first three days of its official release on March 16, 2012. That's roughly ten times as many as Apple sold of the original iPad during its first few days. [See Apple press release] -- Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2012 by chb

Poundland boosts warehouse productivity with Motion Tablet PCs
Motion Computing reports that Europe's biggest single price discount retailer, Poundland, has gone live with a deployment of Motion F5 Tablet PCs in two warehouse hubs in the Midlands. The tablets replace legacy data collection equipment and improve the productivity of Poundland QA teams in both locations and ensure Poundland's supply chain keeps pace with demand. -- Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 by chb

The new iPad -- First impressions
On Friday, March 16, 2012, at 9:30AM, Fedex delivered our two new iPads. The Fedex guy actually gave us three packages by mistake. We get a lot of stuff via Fedex, but since all three looked the same, I checked and saw that this was probably a third iPad. I called after the departing Fedex guy. "You saved me life," he told me as I handed him the third package back. [read more] -- Posted Sunday, March 18, 2012 by chb

Socket Mobile launches Apple-certified 1D barcode scanner
Socket Mobile announced that the Socket Bluetooth Cordless Hand Scanner (CHS) 7Ci barcode scanner has been certified by Apple for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The pocket-size, lightweight CHS 7Ci uses long-range Bluetooth to connect to the Apple devices, creating a general purpose data collection solution for the mobile workforce. [See 7Ci scanner product page] -- Posted Sunday, March 18, 2012 by chb

When our new iPads shipped
We ordered two new iPads (one black, one white, both 64k and AT&T) on March 7, 2012, the day the new iPad was announced. The black one shipped March 10 and the white one on March 12, both marked for delivery on March 16. -- Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 by chb

Edelman PR refuses review
Edelman PR refuses to let us review Adobe Lightroom. Talk about alienating the media. -- Posted Monday, March 12, 2012 by chb

Windows Marketplace for Mobile to shut down
On March 8, 2012, Microsoft announced that the Windows Marketplace for Mobile will shut down on May 9, 2012. Starting on that date, Windows Mobile users will no longer be able to browse, buy or download applications directly on a Windows Mobile 6.x device using the Windows Mobile 6.x Marketplace application and service. That's too bad as we found the Windows Mobile Marketplace to be very useful. [See Microsoft announcement] -- Posted Friday, March 9, 2012 by chb

Getac Europe announces Android-based rugged Z710 tablet
Getac's European operations have issued press releases inviting Getac customers to try out their new rugged and Android-based Getac Z710 tablet. The ruggedized Z710 has a 7-inch capacitive touch screen, measures 8.8 x 5.75 inches, runs up to 10 hours on a charge, has dual cameras and 16GB of onboard storage (expandable via microSD), and can be equipped with RFID, scanners and WWLAN. A 10-inch Android model will also be available. [See description and specs of the Getac Z710 tablet] -- Posted Thursday, March 8, 2012 by chb

New Apple iPad: dual/quad-core, retina display, 4G, 1080p video, iSight cameras, voice dictation
Apple announced the new iPad with a 2048 x 1536 pixel "retina" display, a A5X quad-core processor, iSight camera technology similar to the iPhone 4s, 1080p video, voice dictation, Bluetooth 4.0, and 4G LTE. The new iPad looks very much like current models, but weighs a bit more than the iPad 2 (1.4 lbs). Battery life will remain at 10 hours for general use and, amazingly, 9 hours on 4G. Pricing remains at the same level (i.e. US$499 ($629 with 4G) for 16GB models; US$599 ($729 with 4G) for 16GB models; and US$699 ($829 with 4G) for 64GB models). The iPad 2 remans available with lowered prices. Apple also introduced iPhoto for iPad and a new 1080p-capable Apple TV (US$99). -- Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2012 by chb

Over 1,000 GameStop stores now sell refurbished iPods, iPhones and iPads
GameStop reports that it sells refurbished iPods, iPhones or iPads in more than 1,000 U.S. stores and online at In 2011, GameStop began providing immediate in-store credit and cash for trade-ins of the popular Apple products. [See GameStop's refurbished iPod, iPhone and iPad page] -- Posted Monday, March 5, 2012 by chb

UPS begins deployment of 100,000 Windows Mobile-based DIAD V rugged handhelds
While consumers use tens of millions of iPhones and Android smartphones, Windows Mobile (or Windows Embedded Handheld as it's now called) continues to rule the vertical markets. Case in point: UPS announced on February 29, 2012, that it has begun to equip its drivers worldwide with the 5th generation DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device) V handheld computers (4th generation handhelds came from Symbol/Motorola Solutions (see here)). How many of these Honeywell-made handhelds will UPS deploy? That'd be approximately 100,000 by 2013. And what is the DIAD V? A 1.3 pound flashlight-style Windows Mobile 6.5-based handheld with a 1GHz processor, 1GB of storage, a micro-SD card slot, a 50-key physical keypad, color touch display, 2D imager, 3mp camera for proof-of-delivery pics, WWAN (possibly GOBI), GPS, and, of course, a very rugged design. [See UPS DIAD-V press release and the evolution of the DIADs] -- Posted Monday, March 5, 2012 by chb

Socket offers updated SoMo 655 handheld computer for conventional Pocket PC/PDA applications
Socket Communications announced that an updated version of its SoMo 650 handheld computer will be available in Q2/2012. The new Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 based SoMo 655 model remains a slightly ruggedized traditional Pocket PC/PDA for those who don't want or need a smartphone or need to replace discontinued or aging Pocket PCs such as HP's iPAQs. Socket will also make available special healthcare and high-security versions of the 655. [See description and specs of the Socket SoMo 655] -- Posted Saturday, March 3, 2012 by chb

Toshiba to deliver Excite 10 LE tablet
Toshiba Digital Products Division announced that heir Excite 10 LE tablet is now available in the US. Previously introduced as the Excite X10, the Excite 10 LE Toshiba describes the Excite 10 LE as the world's thinnest (0.3 inches) and lightest (1.18 pounds) 10-inch tablet. The Excite tablet has micro-USB, HDMI, a micro-SD card slot, WiFi, Bluetooth, dual speakers, dual cameras for video chat (2,p) and 1080p HD video recording (5mp), and 1280 x 800 pixel resolution on its Gorilla Glass protected screen. The Excite is powered by a 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4430 processor, comes with either 16GB (US$529) or 32GB (US$599), and runs Android 3.2. No mention of WWAN, though. [See Toshiba Excite 10 LE YouTube video] -- Posted Saturday, March 3, 2012 by chb

Wacom introduces multi-touch Intuos5 tablets
Wacom announced Intuos5, the next generation of pen tablets for professional photographers, designers and artists. New features include multi-touch gesture support, Express View to quickly see settings, a multi-function touch ring, programmable keys, a more ergonomic design, the possibility to connect the tablet wirelessly, and an even better pressure-sensitive (2,048 levels) pen. The Intuos5 comes in small (active area 6.2 x 3.9 inches, US$229), medium (8.8 x 5.5, US$349), and large (12.8 x 8, US$469). [See Wacom Intuos5 tablets overview]
-- Posted Thursday, March 1, 2012 by chb