May 2009

Another Mobile Clinical Assistant: Advantech MICA-101
With electronic medical records and automation in the healthcare field a high priority, a number of new "Mobile Clinical Assistant" tablet PCs are entering the market. We're taking a detailed look at Advantech's MICA-101, a 3.5-pound Atom-powered tablet with RFID, barcode reader, dual cameras and dual panel input. [Read full review of the Advantech MICA-101] -- Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 by chb

Neonode launches touch screen solution
Neonode, the Swedish company who unsuccessfully pioneered touch screen phones (see our review of the Neonode N2) announced the launch of a product family of touch screen solutions, ClearTouch. The first product is ClearTouch DPFTM geared toward the digital picture frame market where touch used to be too expensive and reduced picture quality. Neonode feels that ClearTouch DPFTM has solved these problems. [See Neonode press release]
-- Posted Thursday, May 28, 2009 by chb

Review: Winmate I980 rugged Tablet PC
Taiwanese computer manufacturer Winmate prides itself in offering innovative and highly customizable solutions based on your choice of processor and OS platform. We're taking a detailed look at the latest version of Winmate's rugged Tablet PC, the Intel Atom Z530-powered I980 that's available in 8.4, 10.4 and 12.1-inch display versions. [Read review of the Winmate I980 rugged Tablet PC] -- Posted Thursday, May 28, 2009 by chb

Review: Handheld US Algiz 8 rugged Tablet PC
Handheld US is a North American distributor of rugged PDAs and handheld computers. The latest update to their Algiz 8 rugged Tablet PC platform, now powered by an Intel Atom Z510 processor, offers more RAM and storage, longer battery life, and a super-bright 8.4-inch display option. We're testing speed, battery life and outdoor display performance. [Read review of the Handheld US Algiz 8 rugged Tablet PC] -- Posted Thursday, May 28, 2009 by chb

DisplaySearch: Touch screen module revenues to reach $9B by 2015
In its recently released 2009 Touch Panel Market Analysis Report, DisplaySearch forecasts the total touch screen module market will grow to $9 billion by 2015, from $3.6 billion in 2008, with a CAGR of 14%. DisplaySearch surveyed over 170 suppliers of touch screen modules, controller ICs, ITO films and other technologies to produce the report. These firms are profiled in the report, and 2008 shipments and revenues for over 100 touch screen suppliers are included. -- Posted Thursday, May 21, 2009 by chb

Microsoft to have large Embedded Systems presence at 2009 Computex
Digitimes reports that despite the difficult global economy, the Microsoft showcase at Computex 2009 in Taipei will be the company's largest ever, especially in the embedded space. The 18 Windows Embedded partners are AdvanPOS Technology, Advantech, Advanced Micro Devices, AVerMedia Technologies, BSquare, Citaq, Flytech Technology, Fugoo, ICOP Technology, Injoy Motion, Intrinsyc Software International, Johnson Health Tech, Mitac International, Nvidia, Partner Tech, Posiflex Technologies, Protech Systems and SilverPAC. -- Posted Thursday, May 21, 2009 by chb

Palm Pre to be available June 6
Sprint announced pricing and nationwide availability for the Palm Pre phone, offered exclusively from Sprint. Palm Pre will be available nationwide on June 6 in Sprint stores, Best Buy, Radio Shack, select Wal-Mart stores and online at for $199.99 with a two-year service agreement and after a $100 mail-in rebate. It should be interesting to finally see the long-awaited Pre, but we could have done without an annoying mail-in "rebate" and all the talk of "shortages." -- Posted Thursday, May 21, 2009 by chb

Broken iPhone LCD and/or touch screen? Fix it yourself
With over 20 million iPhones sold, there will be broken screens and digitizers, and maybe yours is one of them. Apple can fix it, of course, but that can take a while. An alternate is getting replacement parts from They also have instructional videos and everything else you need to get your iPhone back into working condition. The warranty goes bye-bye if you do that, so keep that in mind. -- Posted Wednesday, May 20, 2009 by chb

Ultra-rugged handheld with true Xenon photo flash
Two Technologies, headquartered in Horsham, PA, which designs and manufactures customizable, rugged handheld computers, introduced the ultra-rugged Hydrus Luna. The IP68-rated Windows CE-powered device sports 40 hour battery life and a 5-megapixel camera with a true Xenon photo tube flash. See description and specs of the Two Technologies Hydrus Luna] -- Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 by chb

Phoenix offers Bluetooth-based locking system
Phoenix Technologies now offers Phoenix Freeze, an always-on Bluetooth proximity system that automatically locks a notebook computer whenever the user walks away from it. Freeze works by pairing a Bluetooth phone with a laptop so that the laptop locks whenever the user walks away with the phone. Upon return to a predefined proximity, the computer unlocks. In some situations, this may be an interesting alternative locking and unlocking rugged machines with passwords or finger swipes. -- Posted Monday, May 11, 2009 by chb

Where GPS is headed: waterproof Garmin 550 with camera
An interesting example of where GPS units are headed are the newly released Garmin 550 and 550t. They are small rugged units for hiking, geocaching and other outdoorsy uses, and include U.S. topo maps, a barometric altimeter, 3-axis electronic compass, a microSD card slot and—for the first time—a 3.2-megapixel digital camera that geotags each picture with the location of where it was taken. Oh, and the devices carry an IPx7 rating, which means they are waterproof. -- Posted Thursday, May 7, 2009 by chb

A new, larger Kindle
Amazon announced the Kindle DX, a significantly larger version of its increasingly popular eBook reader. The New DX model measures 10.4 x 7.2 inches, roughly the same footprint as a netbook, and has a 9.7-inch 1200 x 824 pixel screen instead of the smallish 6-inch screen of the original. It's still only 0.38 inches thick, weight is about 1.2 pounds, and the battery lasts up to four days. No color yet, but this size Kindle will be much more suitable for textbooks, newspapers and magazines and such. The price is fairly high (US$489), so perhaps we'll be seeing some sort of subsidized business model in the future where people subscribe to get hardware and thus perhaps extend the era of journalism as we know it. [See the larger Kindle] -- Posted Wednesday, May 6, 2009 by chb

Added/updated AMREL rugged computer lineup
Based in Arcadia, California, AMREL (AMerican RELiance) Systems has a long history of offering value-added applications in vertical markets. We've added/updated our database of Amrel's rugged computers as follows: Amrel Rocky DR8 (8.4-inch) and DK8 (12.1-inch) rugged slates, and Amrel Rocky RT8 (13.3-inch), RK8 (15.1-inch), and RF8 (17-inch) rugged notebooks. Note that Amrel's slates and notebooks generally come in an "M" (military) and an "I" (industrial) version. We also added the very interesting Atom-power, instant-on Amrel HBS, which stands for "Handheld Biometric Solution." -- Posted Monday, May 4, 2009 by chb