February 2009

Review: RMT Duros 1214 fixed-mount computer
The Duros 1214 is the latest addition to RMT Inc.'s line of rugged and highly configurable vehicle-mount and fixed-mount computers. Equipped with a bright 12.1-inch SVGA resistive touch screen and a low-power processor, the Duros 1214 comes with up to 64GB of CompactFlash. The machine can be equipped with integrated Bluetooth and WiFi, and there are highly effective dual-diversity antennas. Built to run a variety of different operating systems, this rugged fixed-mount PC is primarily geared towards use in warehousing and shipping environments, but certainly has application in a variety of other areas. [Read full review of the RMT Duros 1214] -- Posted Friday, February 27, 2009 by chb

Fidelity announces US$199 netbook
Fidelity Electronics announced the launch of the VPC (Very Personal Computer), a fully preloaded netbook computer at just US$199. The VPC weighs only 1.5lbs and measures just 8.4” x 5.5” x 1”. It has a 7” TFT display with 800 x 480 WVGA resolution, 802.11g WiFi, 2 GB internal storage, 3 hour battery, microphone and a headphone jack, USB, SD and Ethernet. The VPS is preloaded with a browser, spreadsheet, wordprocessor, media player, e-book reader, dictionary, calendar, PDF reader, email, chat, calculator, file manager, etc. -- Posted Friday, February 27, 2009 by chb

Is SMS the future of advertising?
Recently our Dr. Tim published an article in which he maintained that text message or SMS marketing is the future of advertising. He even went so far as to declare that there has never been a more powerful marketing tool ever invented. Now he shares with you a great way to get started in mobile marketing or just keeping in touch with a group through texting with Tatango. [Read more...] -- Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 by chb

Nokia to build laptops?
According to Reuters, a week after Acer got into the phone business by launching eight phones, mobile phone market leader shot back with an indication it might get into the notebook business. -- Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 by chb

Fujitsu releases tech backgrounder on touch sensor technologies
Fujitsu Microelectronics America published a tech backgrounder entitled "Touch Sensor Controller Technology and Application Trends" that reviews the capacitive technologies used in touch-sensor controllers, and discusses the choices available for optimizing results in various applications. The paper details the differences between analog and digital touch solutions, discusses different sensing applications, and analyzes general industry trends. Go to Fujitsu Touch Sensor Technology Backgrounder download page] -- Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 by chb

Life safers: Kingston miniSD and microSD Card adapters
With memory card standards proliferating and the various electronics we use requiring different cards of all sizes, it's sometimes difficult to keep everything compatible. This is where Kingston Technology's various SD, miniSD, microSD and USB readers and adapters come in handy. Learn about some of their latest adapters and cards, and get a primer on all the card standards. [Read about Kingston memory card adapters and readers, and various card standards] -- Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2009 by chb

Projected capacitive touch screen for Mac tablet computer
Touch International, a touch screen manufacturer headquartered in Austin, Texas, joined forces with Axiotron Corporation, an Apple Premier Developer based in El Segundo, California, to integrate touch screen technology into Axiotron’s Mac-based tablet computers, the Modbook® and the Modbook Pro. [See press release] -- Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009 by chb

Marvell introduces Plug Computing
Marvell announced its Plug Computing initiative to make always on, always connected computing readily available for developers and end-users. A Plug Computer is small enough to plug directly into a wall socket and draws so little power that it can be left on all of the time. UThe SheevaPlug development platform uses a Marvell Kirkwood processor based on an embedded 1.2GHz Sheeva CPU with 512 MB of FLASH and 512 MB of DRAM. Connection to the home network is via Gigabit Ethernet. Peripherals such as direct attached storage can be connected using USB 2.0. Standard Linux 2.6 distributions are supported, enabling rapid application development. The SheevaPlug development kit is available now for $99 through http://www.marvell.com. -- Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009 by chb

Transcend adds to their Solid State Drive lineup
As solid-state storage is making increasing inroads in rugged and other applications, Transcend is adding to its complete line of SSD products including its new 1.8” portable SSD with either eSATA and USB connection interfaces in capacities of up to 128GB, and also 1.8" and 2.5" SATA-II and IDE interface SSDs with up to 192GB storage capacity. [See Transcend's SSD Center] -- Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009 by chb

Motorola sells Good Technology
Motorola is selling email/messaging push technology service provider Good Technologies to Visto Corp. in yet another example of large conglomerates buying, selling and shuffling around formerly independent, innovative companies. -- Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009 by chb

Trimble to support Iditarod with rugged Nomad and Yuma computers
Trimble announced that it is the official provider of outdoor rugged computers for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race—The Toughest Race on Earth. Iditarod race officials will use the Trimble Nomad™ handhelds and the new Yuma™ rugged tablet computers to help with safety, communications and logistics challenges over the 1,150 mile race through the heart of the Alaskan wilderness which is scheduled to begin March 7. -- Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009 by chb

Sprint continues to lose wireless customers
Sprint continues to lose money and customers. While AT&T gained 2.1 million wireless subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2008 and Verizon 1.4 million, Sprint lost 1.3 million, 1.1 million of them those extra-valuable contract customers. With a lot of complaints of poor customer service (including ours), Sprint has been losing subscribers for several quarters. -- Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 by chb

Fujitsu expands HSUPA wireless support on tablets and convertibles
Fujitsu announced expanded support for high-speed connectivity on some of its LifeBook notebooks and tablet PCs. The LifeBook T5010, T1010, P1630 and T2020 convertible Tablet PCs join the LifeBook U820 convertible mini notebook in providing built-in access to AT&T's BroadbandConnect High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) network. The LifeBook T5010 Tablet PC and the LifeBook E8420 notebook will support EVDO in the second quarter of 2009. -- Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 by chb

Trimble introduces Yuma rugged tablet computer
Trimble introduced the Yuma, an innovative rugged tablet computer based on the 1.6GHz Atom N270 platform. The Yuma has a 1024 x 600 pixel 7-inch touchscreen, 32GB solid-state disk, runs Windows Vista Business, measures 9 x 5.5 x 2 inches, and weighs about 2.6 pounds. It has integrated GPS, of course, and also two internal cameras, both capable of geo-tagging GPS information to images. Overall, the Yuma is essentially a rugged tablet version of the currently popular "netbook" platform. (See detailed description and specs of the Trimble Yuma] -- Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 by chb

Workshop on the Impact of Pen-Based Technology on Education
A Workshop on the Impact of Pen-Based Technology on Education will be held October 12-13, 2009 at The Inn at Virginia Tech. A call for papers and videos has been posted at the wipte website. -- Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 by chb

Neonode now into touch screen solutions
Neonode, the company that had a swipe-controlled touchscreen phone several years before the current touchscreen craze but failed to successfully establish itself with its N1 and N2 phones (see Pen Computing review of the Neonode N2) emerged from its financial restructuring and has launched a subsidiary that focuses entirely on providing and developing optical touch screen solutions for hand-held devices. -- Posted Wednesday, February 18, 2009 by chb

Microsoft announces Windows Mobile 6.5 and app store
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft announced Windows Mobile 6.5 that includes "an improved user interface that includes touch and other interaction modalities" by "stitching together the PC, the phone, and the web and bringing them closer together into a more seamless and simpler user experience." There's a new home screen and speedier access to major apps. Browsing is said to be better (including Flash Lite 3.1 support) on what from now on will simply be called "Windows phones." Microsoft also announced the Windows Marketplace for Windows phones. WinMo 6.5 phones will arrive this summer. [Read Microsoft press release for Mobile Congress 2009] Our take: Cosmetic improvements and emphasis on phones will do little to help Microsoft in the mobile space where Apple's elegance has redefined the market. What's needed is a deeper overhaul of all of Windows CE. -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 by chb

Bitstream launches public beta of the BOLT Mobile Browser
Bitstream announced the public beta of its BOLT mobile browser that's built for speed and optimized for mobile phones and smartphone platforms. BOLT providing a desktop-like view of web pages on even the most basic feature phones. You can download the public beta version of the BOLT mobile browser from boltbrowser.com. -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 by chb

ARM Cortex-A9 multi processing on Symbian OS
The mobile processor platform wars are heating up! ST-Ericsson announced it will demonstrate the world's first Symmetric Multi Processing (SMP)-enabled mobile platform running on Symbian OS at a private event at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona. The technological breakthrough is based on the ARM Cortex-A9 multicore processor, which represents a significant leap from previous generations of baseband/application processor architectures by providing unprecedented levels of performance and power efficiency. [Read press release on ARM-based multiprocessing] -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 by chb

SIM card with integrated accelerometer and temperature sensing
Swedish Oberthur Technologies, a provider of Smart Card based solutions, announced SIMSense - a motion-detection SIM card that incorporates accelerometer and temperature sensors. SIMSense potentially allows interesting new functionality such as answering calls, sending predetermined text messages, menu selection via shaking or tapping, or emergency responses. -- Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 by chb

Toshiba introduces first Snapdragon-based smartphone
Toshiba announced the TG01, the first smartphone based on Qualcomm's speedy Snapdragon chipset designed for next gen handsets. The TG01 also has a large 4.1-screen with massive 480 x 800 resolution, a sexy interface, 3.2mp camera, HSDPA, GPS, Bluetooth, and WiFi. However, the phone uses a conventional resistive touchscreen and, underneath the new interface, is based on Windows Mobile 6.1. [Read description and specs of the Toshiba TG01] -- Posted Saturday, February 14, 2009 by chb

Samsung and TI introduce projector phones
Samsung Electronics in conjunction with Texas Instruments announced the first mobile phones with embedded projection. The Samsung projector phones (Model W7900 in Korea) use the TI DLP Pico Chipset to remove the limitations of the traditional mobile phone screen by easily providing "big picture" viewing experiences, with images in excess of 50-inches possible depending on ambient light conditions. -- Posted Friday, February 13, 2009 by chb

GETAC line of rugged PCs now available through HP
GETAC announced it has finalized an arrangement with HP to supply – and service – its rugged computer products to the company’s 3rd Party Solution group. Effective immediately, Getac will supply rugged and durable mobile computing systems and services to HP as a Premium Partner to meet the demands of several field-based applications. Under this arrangement, enterprise and industry-specific organizations can acquire Getac-branded rugged notebooks, convertible/slate tablets, handhelds and in-vehicle solutions through HP’s direct sales teams and channel partners. [See GETAC products available through HP] -- Posted Friday, February 13, 2009 by chb

Glacier Ridgeline Q100: rugged PDA
The Glacier Ridgeline Q100 is an ultra-rugged PDA with IP67 sealing designed for data collection under difficult environmental conditions. The PXA270-powered runs either Windows CE 5.0 or Windows Mobile 6.1, offers exceptional onboard connectivity (3 USB, 2 serial, LAN) and numerous wireless options. A 3.7-inch full VGA display is available. [Read description and specs of the Glacier Ridgeline Q100] -- Posted Friday, February 13, 2009 by chb

Glacier Ridgeline T600/T650: flexible power
Glacier Computer's Ridgeline tablets were conceived to complement Glacier's line of vehicle-mount computers with a mobile solution rugged enough to survive in harsh environments but light and portable enough to bring standard Windows applications anywhere. The machine has a 10.4-inch touchscreen, a numeric keypad, GPS and wireless options, and can be configured for XP Embedded with a low-power VIA processor or with standard XP on a Core 2 Duo CPU. [Read description and specs of the Glacier Ridgeline T600/T650 rugged tablet computer] -- Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009 by chb

Dell updates Latitude Tablet PC, enhances multi-touch
Dell released a tech update to its ultra-light Latitude XT Tablet PC convertible. The XT2 switches to Centrino 2 technology with increased performance, better battery life, potentially enhanced security, and also enhancements to the multi-touch capabilities provided by the unit's N-trig DuoSense touch screen/digitizer. The XT2 is an attractive, albeit quite costly, product geared towards enterprise markets. [Read description and specs of the multi-touch enabled Dell Latitude XT2] -- Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 by chb

N-trig Introduces enhanced multi-touch functionality
N-trig, providers of DuoSense technology combining pen and capacitive touch in a single device, announced, in collaboration with Dell, the launch of the Latitude XT2 notebook PC convertible with an enhanced suite of multi-touch functionality. In addition to the current multi-touch gestures — zoom, scroll and double tap — the Latitude XT2 includes rotate capabilities allowing users to turn pictures, documents and other media on the screen using two-finger rotate gestures. [See n-Trig release] -- Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 by chb

Intel to invest $7 billion in U.S. manufacturing facilities
Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini announced the company would spend $7 billion over the next two years to build advanced manufacturing facilities in the United States. The investment funds deployment of Intel's industry-leading 32 nanometer manufacturing technology that will be used to build faster, smaller chips that consume less energy. Current chips, such as the Atom, use 45nm technology. -- Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009 by chb

Panasonic upgrades Toughbook CF52, adds touch screen
In another round of updates to its semi-rugged Toughbook CF-52, Panasonic added a 13.3-inch touch screen option with a super-bright 1000 nit sunlight-viewable display with anti-reflective and anti-glare properties. The upgrades also include improved security and remote management, expanded memory, longer battery life, and optional Gobi global mobile Internet. 15.4-inch wide displays with resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 are available. The Toughbook 52 has an estimated street price starting at $1,699 and the touchscreen version starts at $2,549. [See description and specs of the Panasonic Toughbook CF-52] -- Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009 by chb

Archos announces upcoming Android-based Internet Media Tablet
ARCHOS, a technology innovator and leader in the portable media player market, announced plans to extend its product line with a new ultra-thin Internet Media Tablet (IMT) combined with a mobile phone, by merging Google's Android telephony stack and the ARCHOS' multimedia framework. The TI OMAP 3440-powered devices will have a 5-inch display, Flash and Flash Video support, up to 500GB of storage, 3.5G HSUPA support, all in a package that's just 0.4 inches thick. Unfortunately it won't be available til Q3 of 2009. -- Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 by chb

Microsoft to launch My Phone service
Microsoft is launching a new service for Windows Mobile-based smartphones. Called Microsoft My Phone (very clever how that sounds...), the service syncs information to an online site so it's available should a phone get lost or replaced. You can also view and manage phone information with a browser and share photos. The service will be free. [See info on Microsoft My Phone] -- Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 by chb

Amazon announces slightly improved Kindle 2
It's hard to figure out what to make of Amazon's Kindle digital reader. The original wasn't very elegant, but they were still always on backorder. The new one looks nicer, is thinner (0.36 inches), weighs just 10 ounces, is a bit faster and its battery lasts 25% longer. There are now 16 grayscales instead of just four but the screen is still a 6-inch 600 x 800 pixel affair. Memory is up from 256MB to 2GB, good for up to 1,500 books, but there is no expansion slot. The keyboard is no longer split, and there is now a conventional navigation rocker instead of the rolling ball of the original. The Kindle 2 is scheduled to start shipping on February 24 for US$359. -- Posted Monday, February 9, 2009 by chb

RMT Duros 1214: Rugged 12-inch fixed-mount computer
The Duros 1214 is the latest addition to a line of rugged and highly configurable vehicle-mount and fixed-mount computers made by one of the most respected manufacturers in the business. The platform was designed from the ground up for ease-of-use and the ability to hold up in a variety of demanding warehousing, shipping and other industrial applications. The aluminum-bodied Duros 1214 has a 12-inch touch screen and is unusually compact and light for a machine of this type, with a footprint of just 12.0 x 9.5 inches and weighing under eight pounds. [See RMT Duros 1214] -- Posted Sunday, February 1, 2009 by chb