August 2011

LG Electronics launches LG PenTouch TV
LG Electronics has launched "LG PenTouch TV" -- a series of plasma HDTVs that, when connected to a PC, lets viewers use a special touch-sensitive stylus pen to interact with the Internet and to create, modify and control a variety of content directly on the screen. Three LG PenTouch models, two 60-inch class and one 50-inch class plasma HDTVs are currently available. Using PenTouch software, users can access files created on their PCs, and work on them, edit them or move them around the screen using the stylus. The TV supports simultaneous two-pen use, and pen batteries can be recharged through USB ports on the TV or PC. [See LG PenTouch TV product page] -- Posted Monday, August 29, 2011 by chb

United Airlines launches paperless flight deck with 11,000 iPads
United Continental Holding announced that it is converting to paperless flight decks and deploying 11,000 iPads to all United and Continental pilots. The electronic flight bags (EFB) replace paper flight manuals, and as a first for major network carriers, provide pilots with paperless aeronautical navigational charts through an iPad app. Distribution of iPads began earlier this month, and all pilots will have them by year end. Our take: This is another example of consumer mobile technology branching into traditionally "rugged" areas and can be viewed as an opportunity lost to traditional "rugged" manufacturers who have not yet moved forward into this space. -- Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011 by chb

Lessons learned from the HP TouchPad
I was supposed to write a review of the HP TouchPad, but like so many others this morning, I am writing its epitaph. HP's decision on August 18, 2011 to cease production of the TouchPad as well as other WebOS devices leaves WebOS in limbo, though HP may try to recoup some of its investment by selling WebOS to another company. Regardless of if WebOS continues to exist to not, the HP TouchPad offered some lessons that Microsoft and Android developers, including Google, should heed. Failure is always a teaching moment, but rather than focus on what HP did wrong, I will share my thoughts on what they did right that others can learn from. [... more] -- Posted Friday, August 19, 2011 by chb

HP kills webOS devices, including TouchPad
HP will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP said "the devices have not met internal milestones and financial targets. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward." So sorry, Palm. You deserved better. [See HP report] -- Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 by chb

GD-Itronix introduces rugged GD400 enterprise cross-over handheld/smartphone
General Dynamics Itronix introduced the GD400, a rugged enterprise handheld computer combines smartphone, computing, and data collection functionality. Powered by an 800MHz ARM Cortex 8 processor and running Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.3, the GD400 offers excellent data capture capabilities with an expanded keypad, 1D/2D imager, various sensors, GPS, and camera with flash. The 3.7-inch sunlight-readable display has full VGA resolution, and despite compact size and low weight, the device is impressively rugged. [See description and specs of the GD-Itronix GD400] -- Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 by chb

Apple global smartphone leader Q2, 2011
According to IHS iSuppli, global smartphone shipments for Q2 2011 had Apple leading with 20.3 million and 18.4% marketshare, ahead of Samsung (19.6 million, 17.8%), Nokia (16.7 million, 15.1%), RIM (13.2 million, 12.0%), HTC (12 million, 10.8%), and Motorola (4.4 million, 4.0%). -- Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 by chb

IP67-sealed, Gorillia-Glassed Moto DEFY+ crossover
The day Google announced the purchase of Motorola Mobility, Moto introduced the DEFY+ water-resistant, scratch-resistant (Gorilla Glass!) and dust-proof IP67-sealed Android 2.3 smartphone. The DEFY+ has a 3.7-inch touch screen, a 5MP camera, a 1GHz OMAP 3620 CPU, a microSD Card slot, but apparently it will only be available in Asia, Latin America and Europe when it is released. Definitely one of the emerging consumer/rugged crossover products that may/will eventually clash with the likes of Motorola Solutions' S400 WinMo-based "enterprise digital assistant" smartphone. -- Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2011 by chb

DAP Tech enhances rugged M2000 handheld with Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 and biometrics module
DAP Technologies' M2000, a pocket-sized rugged handheld that scans barcodes, is now available with Microsoft Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 (before it was Windows CE 5.0) and a new add-on rugged biometrics module with fingerprint and credential-reading capabilities (shown in the image). The biometrics module includes a 3-track mag stripe reader, a FIPS 201- certified fingerprint reader, and a Machine Reader Zone (MRZ) reader for passports and other travel documents. -- Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2011 by chb

Full review: Getac S400 semi-rugged notebook
We conducted a thorough review of the Getac S400 and found it to be one the primary and most competent contenders in the semi- rugged notebook market. It is an attractive, modern and very well executed design with a wide-format 14-inch multi-touch display that provides Intel Core i3 and i5 power and excellent connectivity to numerous applications where a standard consumer notebook just won't do. Yet, despite its tough and rugged appearance, the S400 is a fairly compact machine that weighs only about 7 pounds. [Read review of the Getac S400] -- Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2011 by chb

Google to acquire Motorola Mobility
Google and Motorola Mobility announced that Google will acquire Motorola Mobility in a US$12.5 billion cash transaction. According to the press release, "The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business." Note that this will not include Motorola Solutions, the spun-off part of Motorola that provides rugged mobile computing products and solutions. [See press release] -- Posted Monday, August 15, 2011 by chb

Full review: Clover Systems SunBook -- netbook with the amazing Pixel Qi triple-mode sunlight display

Fact is that even the best current technology outdoor-viewable displays struggle in direct sunlight. Pixel Qi's innovative new triple mode display technology doesn't. It's a new sort of transflective that's bright and vibrant indoors, eBook-like in direct sunlight, and inbetween in the shade. Clover Systems offers the US$795 SunBook, a Samsung netbook with a perfectly integrated Pixel Qi screen. How well does it work? [Read full review of the SunBook netbook with triple mode Pixel Qi display]
-- Posted Monday, August 15, 2011 by chb

Acer releases Iconia Tab A100 on US market
Acer announced that the Iconia Tab A100 media tablet is now available in the US. The A100 runs Android 3.1 on a 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 250, has 1GB of RAM, a 1024 x 600 pixel 7-inch capacitive touch screen, microUSB, microHDMI, microSD, 1 and 5MP cameras, measures 7.7 x 4.6 x .5 inches, weighs 0.92 pounds, and costs US$329 for an 8GB version and US$349 for a 16GB version. No WWAN, the non-replaceable battery lasts just 5 hours, and the plastic design is reminiscent of Acer netbooks. [See Acer press release] -- Posted Sunday, August 14, 2011 by chb

One of Panasonic's "business-rugged" ultra-lights gets an update: Toughbook S10
Apart from its semi-rugged and fully-rugged Toughbooks, Panasonic also offers several "business-rugged" Toughbooks that present Toughbook style and quality in much lighter versions. Panasonic has now updated its 12.1-inch business-rugged offering with a new 2nd generation Intel Core i5 processor, USB 3.0, more memory, and even longer battery life (up to 12.5 hours). The Toughbook S10 will be available in September 2011, starting at US$2,449. [See description and specs of the Panasonic Toughbook S10] -- Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2011 by chb

N-trig: DuoSense in Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet
N-trig announced that its DuoSense pen and projected capacitive multi-touch solution enabled over a single digitizer is integrated into the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet. The advantage of DuoSense is that it provides the ease-of-use of projected capacitive touch while still supporting applications and systems that work better with a pen (theirs has a AAAA battery). -- Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2011 by chb

Rugged ToughShell for iPhone 4: protection on the job
The folks at Speck Products, who already make the ToughSkin cases for iPhones, introduced the impressive ToughShell for iPhone 4. It's a three-layer silicone & TPE & Polycarbonate affair that provides maximum protection. For US$49.95 it's easy insurance against breaking your iPhone 4 on the job! [See ToughShell for iPhone 4 product page] -- Posted Sunday, August 7, 2011 by chb

Panasonic integrates Interlink VersaPad into Toughbook 31
Interlink announced that Panasonic now integrates Interlink's "VersaPad" touchpad technology into their Toughbook 31. VersaPad is a resistive touchpad that uses pressure sensing technology, enabling a light touch and smooth tracking without being affected by moisture and other contaminants. VersaPad can be operated even with gloves or a passive stylus, and also be environmentally sealed to IP65 standards. [Our comment: We've criticized the responsiveness of the Toughbook 31 (and its predecessors) touchpad for many years, and can't wait to see if the new one works better. -- Posted Sunday, August 7, 2011 by chb

Panasonic Toughbooks now available via USAF Quantum Enterprise Buy (QEB) program
Panasonic announced that the U.S. Air Force has selected Panasonic Toughbooks for its rugged mobile computing requirements, including flightline, maintenance, mission, and support activities. The Toughbook 31 rugged notebook and Toughbook 19 rugged convertible tablet can be purchased as part of the USAF Quantum Enterprise Buy (QEB) program and will be delivered by Intelligent Decisions, a premier systems integrator servicing the Federal government. [See Panasonic Aviation Solutions Program -- Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 by chb

Genius upgrades US$99 pressure-sensitive tablet
Taiwanese peripheral maker Genius launched an upgraded version of its G-Pen F610 Writing Graphic Tablet for Windows 7. As an ultra-slim, 6 x 10 inch wireless text graphic-design tablet, the Genius G-Pen F610 has 1024-level pressure sensitivity and 29 programmable Hot-Key areas to set up shortcuts for word processing, Internet and operating system tasks. Suggested retail price is US$99.90. [See G-Pen F610 product page] -- Posted Thursday, August 4, 2011 by chb

BSQUARE reports Q2 2011 financials
BSQUARE announced Q2 2011 financial results. Total revenue for the quarter was US$23.4 million, down 13% year-over-year, while total revenue for the six months was $49.4 million, up 13%. Net income for the quarter was $21,000, while net income for the six months was $205,000. -- Posted Thursday, August 4, 2011 by chb

BSQUARE licences handset certification platform to China Mobile
BSQUARE, an enabler of smart, connected devices, announced it is providing China Mobile, the world's largest mobile network operator with over 600 million subscribers, with handset testing software and related support services. Testing of China Mobile's subsidized handsets is done using BSQUARE Handset Certification Platform (HCP), an OS-independent testing suite also licensed to device makers, including Sony Ericsson, Nokia, and Lenovo. China Mobile is among the first adopters of BSQUARE HCP and is using HCP to enable its device suppliers to speed new smartphone releases to market while at the same time improving overall device quality. -- Posted Thursday, August 4, 2011 by chb

Android grabs almost 50% worldwide smartphone share, Apple leading vendor
Canalys published its worldwide country-level Q2 2011 smart phone market estimates, showing substantial market growth in all regions. The market grew 73% year-on-year, with over 107.7 million units shipping in Q2 2011. Of 56 countries Canalys tracks, Android led in 35, with a global market share of 48%. Asia Pacific remained the largest regional market, with 39.8 million units, compared with 35.0 million in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 32.9 million in the Americas. Android-based smart phone shipments were up 379% over a year ago to 51.9 million. Apple shipped 20.3 million iPhones for a 19% market share, passing Nokia’s Symbian for second place worldwide. Apple also became the world’s leading individual smart phone vendor, stripping Nokia of its long-held leadership position. -- Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2011 by chb

Full review: What to expect from Motion Computing's rugged CL900 Windows 7-based tablet
Tens of millions of iPads have been sold and everyone wants tablets, but integrating them into Microsoft Windows-based corporate IT is not so easy. So why not run Windows on a tablet? That's not so easy either. Motion Computing analyzed the situation and decided to bring, in a ruggedized form, much of what makes the iPad unique to those who need to run Windows. In a detailed report, RuggedPCReview discusses the US$899 Motion CL900 Windows 7-based tablet, its opportunities and challenges, how well it works, and where it fits in. [See full review of the Motion Computing CL900 tablet and a video demonstration of how it works] -- Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2011 by chb