September 2012

Intel unveils Atom Z2760, Windows 8 tablets that use it
Intel announced the dual-core/four-thread 1.8GHz Atom Z2760 processor which, the company says, was designed specifically for Windows 8 tablets and tablet convertibles. The Z2760 uses 32nm process technology like the recent "Cedarview" processors, but unlike all older Atoms that used the 45nm process. For graphics, there's the Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX545 core, package size is 14 x 14 mm, and there's complex power management that extends battery life. Intel also announced a number of Windows 8 tablets that will use the new Z2760, such as the Acer ICONIA W510, the Asus Vivo Tab, the Dell Latitude 10, the Fujitsu Stylistic Q702, the HP ENVY x2, the Lenovo ThinkPad 2, the Samsung Smart PC, and the ZTE 98. [See Intel Z2760 fact sheet and list of Z2760 tablets] -- Posted Thursday, September 27, 2012 by chb

Fujitsu STYLISTIC Q702 Incorporates N-trig active pen and multi-touch
N-trig announced that Fujitsu's new STYLISTIC Q702 11.6-inch business hybrid tablet (sort of like a larger version of the Asus Transformer) incorporates the new DuoSense fourth gen product line. Designed for enterprise use, and really with Windows 8, the device can be used as a tablet, but also has an attachable keyboard docking station so it can be used as a traditional notebook computer. The STYLISTIC Q702 is first in using the G4 DuoSense solution featuring active pen and multi-touch capabilities on the same touch sensor. [See n-Trig press release] -- Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by chb

Almost overlooked: in-cell touch in iPhone 5
One interesting change in the new iPhone 5 (introduced September 12) that has hardly gotten any attention is that it is using in-cell touch technology instead of standard projected capacitive touch. There isn't much of a difference (or any) as far as users go, but since in-cell combines the touch sensing layer with the cover glass instead of using separate layers, there are a) fewer surfaces that can reflect light, b) the same intensity of backlight seems brighter, and c) eliminating a layer can reduce cost and thickness. For a detailed discussion of in-cell touch, see LCD In-Cell Touch by Geoff Walker and Mark Finh. For even more detail, see US patent #8,243,027 granted to Apple on August 14, 2012. -- Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 by chb

Rugged handhelds in land survey and conservation: Why BRLC chose Juniper Systems' Archer Field PC
When conservation groups resolved to survey habitats along the Bear River in the Great Basin in order to preserve the important wetlands in those dry areas, they needed tough, compact handheld computers that would not break, were easy to use, and would run all day on a battery charge. The Bear River Land Conservancy (BRLC) found that in Juniper Systems' Archer Field PC. [Read about the Bear River riparian area survey project] -- Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 by chb

iOS 6 available for download
On September 19, 2012, Apple made iOS 6 available for download. The new version of the OS coincides with the release of the iPhone 5 which will be shipping as of September 21, 2012. Among major changes and new features are a new Apple-made Maps application, an improved Siri that is now also available on the iPad, Facebook integration, shared Photo Streams, a Passbook app for boarding passes and other cards, and numerous improvements in FaceTime, Mail, Safari, and throughout the OS. [See Apple's iOS 6 page] -- Posted Thursday, September 20, 2012 by chb

Handheld launches the Nautiz X1 Ultra-Rugged Smartphone
Handheld Group, a Swedish manufacturer of rugged mobile computers, announced the launch of its Nautiz X1 ultra-rugged smartphone. The 4.9 x 2.6 x 0.6 inch, 6.3 ounce Nautiz X, powered by a 1GHz dual core OMAP 4430 processor, has a 4-inch procap sunlight readable display, a 5mp camera, Bluetooth, WiFi, mobile broadband over both GSM or CDMA networks, and runs either Android 4.0 or Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. It carries IP67 sealing, can handle 4-foot drops, and will start at US$899. Orders can be placed immediately, the device will be available January 2013. [See description and specs of the Handheld Group Nautiz X1 rugged smartphone] -- Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012 by chb

MacNeill on the new Apple EarPods
David MacNeill likes the new Apple headphgones. A lot. Here's what he says: "Run, do not walk to your friendly neighborhood Apple Store and buy the new Apple EarPods for your iPhone/iPad. One of the best headphones of any kind I've ever tried, owned or reviewed. The are stunningly sweet sounding, comfortable, and practical and they cost $29." [See the new headphones at the online Apple store] -- Posted Friday, September 14, 2012 by chb

Review: Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet
Barnes & Noble's NOOK is in a tough position, what with having to fight the iPad and the Kindles and everyone else. But the elegant little tablet has been hanging in there, and we see quite a lot of them out there. Dan Rasmus examined the NOOK Tablet in detail, and talks about what it is, what it isn't, who it's for, and how it fits in. [Read the Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet review] -- Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2012 by chb

Added: Unitech TB100 rugged Android tablet
While there is a growing selection of consumer media tablets, there are far fewer durable and ruggedized tablets for the business and vertical markets. That's why rugged handheld maker Unitech entered the tablet market with the TB-100. It's an Android 3.2 7-inch tablet with 1280 x 800 resolution, Gorilla glass, a dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, a wide -4 to 140F operating temperature range, 4-foot drop and IP65 sealing. [See description and specs of the Unitech TB100] -- Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 by chb

Panasonic moves Toughbook 19 to Intel 3rd gen Core processor platform
Panasonic announced another technology update to its Toughbook 19 convertible notebook. The hardware platform itself, mature to the max, hardly needed improvement, but Intel's rapid flurry of Core processor familiy announcements made the update desirable. So the latest revision of the CF-19 now goes from the second to the third generation of Intel Core processors, one that slightly boosts processing performance, greatly boosts graphics performance, and also improves power efficiency. Additional benefits of the move to the Intel 3rd gen Core chips include the much faster USB 3.0, a switch to Interlink's VersaPad for increased touchpad responsiveness, expanded storage, and a variety of ancillary improvements. [See Panasonic Toughbook 19 updated specs] -- Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2012 by chb

Synaptics ClearPad Series 3 offers multi-touch even with gloves
Synaptics announced that the new Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820 will be the first smartphones in the world to use a new multi-touch experience based on the Synaptics ClearPad Series 3 capacitive touchscreen sensing technology that supports use with gloves and fingernails. [See Synaptics ClearPad Series 3] -- Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2012 by chb

Getac introduces rugged 7-inch Android tablet
Getac officially announced the Z710 rugged Android tablet designed for use in extreme work environments. The 1.8-pound Z710's sunlight-readable 7-inch 1024 x 600 pixel capacitive multi-touch display can also be used with gloves and a stylus, making it suitable for outdoors work and in the rain. The device has a 6-foot drop spec, a wide operating temperature range (-4 to 122F), and carries IP65 sealing. It can be equipped with WWAN, barcode reader, dual cams and RFID. [See Getac Z710 description and specs] -- Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 by chb

Intel Atom processors face uncertain future in PCs
DigiTimes says that Intel may be forced to adjust its roadmap for Atom processors in PCs. That's because netbooks, which were largely responsible for the Atom's success, are going away. Asus is phasing out its Eee PC netbook line, Acer may also drop out, and almost everyone else is concentrating on tablets instead. In addition, Windows 8 licensing fees and the move to high-res displays and touch screens also doom inexpensive netbooks. That's unfortunate for the Atom line, especially since the latest Atom N2600 and N2800 performed very well in RuggedPCReview.com benchmark testing. It should be interesting too see how the Atom's future affects vertical market and embedded devices where Atoms are quite popular. -- Posted Monday, September 3, 2012 by chb