May 2013

Rugged notebooks: challenges and opportunities
We've been working on setting up our new rugged notebook comparison tool over the past few weeks. So far, the tool, where users can compare the full specs of up to three rugged notebooks side-by-side, has far fewer entries than our comparison tools for rugged handhelds and rugged tablets. Why are there only relatively few products out there, and what is the overall rugged notebook situation? [Read more...] -- Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by chb

Added: VT Miltope RPDA-1
VT Miltope's RPDA-1 is not for everyone. In fact, the Alabama-based specialist in rugged computing gear for military, industrial, and commercial aviation applications designed the device as a flexible and highly configurable rugged PDA platform able to run Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Linux or Android on its OMAP 3530 processor with Army requirements in mind. It has a 480 x 800 pixel 4.1-inch touchscreen and can be paired with expansion modules to address numerous military and industrial I/O and communications requirements. [See description, analysis and specs of the VT Miltope RPDA-1] -- Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by chb

New: Rugged Notebook comparison tool

In order to let interested parties and prospective customers more easily learn about, and compare, rugged and semi-rugged notebook computers, has added a Rugged Notebook Comparison Tool. The tool allows you to compare the full specs of up to three rugged laptops side by side, and instantly link to our assessment and analysis of the product. We're still in the process of adding more products, so check back or recommend additional products to be added. [Check out the Rugged Tablet Comparison Tool]
-- Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by chb

Added: Dell Latitude E6430 ATG
ATG stands for "All Terrain Grade" and at Dell that means "semi-rugged." The 14-inch Dell E630 ATG, while based on the company's consumer Latitude E6430 models, is a good deal tougher and more durable with its spill-resistant keyboard, port covers, shock-mounted hard drive and LCD, and a sturdy magnesium base. Best of all, ATG customers get all the same state-of-the-art technology of the standard E6430 models, and that includes a large variety of 3rd gen Intel Core processors. [See description, analysis and specs of the Dell Latitude E6430 ATG] -- Posted Sunday, May 26, 2013 by chb

Duke University researchers use MobileDemand xTablet T7200 rugged tablet computers at Mount Everest base camp
When a Duke University team of researchers set up shop at the Mount Everest base camp at 17,650 feet to study the mystery of human survival in low oxygen environments, they entrusted their data to MobileDemand xTablet T7200 rugged tablet PCs. Under very trying circumstances, the tablets worked just as expected. [See Case Study: Computers in High Altitude Expeditions] -- Posted Thursday, May 23, 2013 by chb

3M aims to bring more color to LCDs
3M announced it is in the final stages of scale-up for its new 3M Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF). The new film allows up to 50% more color than current levels in LCDs. 3M says that current LCDs typically are limited to displaying 35% or less of the visible color spectrum, and that the new film will represent a drop-in solution that delivers clearly noticeable more saturated colors. [See 3M press release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013 by chb

Motorola introduces freezer-rated Psion Omnii XT15f
Motorola Solutions introduced the Omnii XT15f, a special "freezer and condensation-rated" version of the Psion Omnii XT15 rugged handheld. Since the temperature extremes and condensation issues when working in and around freezers can affect displays, touch screens, keypads, battery life and longevity, the XT15f includes a variety of frost-free and heating technologies that address those issues. [See description, analysis and specs of the Motorola Solutions Psion Omnii XT15f] -- Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by chb

Windows 8.1 preview to become available June 26
At the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston, a Microsoft representative told the audience that the update previously referred to as "Windows Blue" will be called Windows 8.1 and become available as a free update to Windows 8 for consumers through the Windows Store. In a blog post, Microsoft said a public preview of Windows 8.1 will be available starting June 26, timed with the Build developer conference in San Francisco. The preview will be available for Windows 8 and Windows RT. -- Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013 by chb

6,500 Datalogic Elf mobile computers improve store replenishment efficiency at The Co-operative Food
Datalogic announced that The Co-operative Food, one of the largest food retailers in the United Kingdom, deployed 6,500 Datalogic's Elf Mobile Computer (see our analysis of the Elf) for speeding up daily operations, thereby increasing productivity of its SMART (Store Merchandising and Replenishment Transformation) system in more than 2,800 stores in the UK. [See Datalogic press release] -- Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013 by chb

Price premium for touchscreens in notebooks to drop to below $50
DigiTimes reports that both Acer and Asustek aggressively promote touchscreen notebooks, which currently still only have about a 10% marketshare in global notebook shipments, with the percentage somewhat higher in Asia. Channel retailers expect the price gap between touchscreen and non-touchscreen notebooks to drop to below $50 later in 2013, down from $50-100. Our take: Maybe consumers don't want to pay extra for touch in notebooks that were never designed for touch, and where touching means lifting your arm and leaving unsightly smudges on the screen. -- Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 by chb

Added: Lenovo ThinkPad X230t
Yes, Virginia, it used to be IBM that made the ThinkPads before they sold the business to Lenovo, and the first ThinkPads some 20 years ago were just that, pads, and not notebooks. It was only when pen computing failed to catch on that ThinkPads became laptops. But IBM and then Lenovo never really gave up on tablets, and the current Lenovo ThinkPad X230t is the latest in a long line of convertible laptops. It looks big and heavy now compared to Lenovo's sleek IdeaPads, but it has plenty of power, is very reasonably priced, and exudes a timeless elegance. [See description, analysis and specs of the Lenovo ThinkPad X230t] -- Posted Monday, May 6, 2013 by chb

Added: Fujitsu Stylistic Q572
Fujitsu has been a pen computing and tablet pioneer for over 20 years, and that know-how shows in their Stylistic Q572 business-class tablet. The 10.1-inch WXGA (1366 x 768 pixel) IPS anti-glare display is bright (400 nits) and uses the N-trig DuoSense capacitive multi-touch and active pen combo. There are dual cameras (720p front, 1080p and 5mp stills rear), SD and Smart Card slots, and solid state storage up to 256GB. The Q572 is powered by an AMD Z-60 APU that includes AMD RADEON HD 6350 graphics, and runs either Windows 7 or Windows 8. [See description, analysis and specs of the Fujitsu Stylistic Q572] -- Posted Monday, May 6, 2013 by chb