June 2012

Google announces impressive US$199 Nexus 7 tablet
Google is trying hardware again by introducing the Nexus 7, a sleek, elegant 7-inch (1280 x 800 pixel) tablet powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 processor. There is 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, a micro USB port, Corning glass, an 8-hour battery, GPS, gyroscope, magnetometer, accelerometer, and a front-facing camera. The 0.75 lbs. Nexus 7 is just 0.4 inches thick, will run Android 4.1 ("Jelly Bean") and come with either 8GB (US$199) or 16GB (US$249. If the device, which will start shipping mid-July, is as good as the specs suggest, Google may well have a big winner. [See Google Nexus 7 page] -- Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 by chb

RIM announces disappointing financials
Research In Motion reported Q1 2013 results. Revenue was US$2.8 billion, down 33% from US$4.2 billion in the previous quarter and down 43% from US$4.9 billion in the same quarter of fiscal 2012. The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 59% for hardware, 36% for service and 5% for software and other revenue. During the quarter, RIM shipped 7.8 million BlackBerry smartphones and approximately 260,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. GAAP net loss for the quarter was US$518 million, compared with a GAAP net income of US$695 million in the same quarter last year. [See RIM Q1 2013 financials -- Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 by chb

Conference report: 5th Annual DisplaySearch Digital Signage Conference at InfoCom12 in Las Vegas
The 5th annual DisplaySearch Digital Signage Conference took place June 12, 2012 in Las Vegas in conjunction with InfoComm12. NPD DisplaySearch is an industry research, information and analysis firm covering, among other areas, displays and mobile computers. This conference provided an overview of digital signage, its technologies, and its outlook. RuggedPCReview.com was there to report. [See our DisplaySearch Digital Signage Conference coverage] -- Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 by chb

Advantech 18.5-inch infotainment terminal now with Android 4.0
Advantech announced that its HIT-W181 infotainment terminal is now available with Android 4.0. The fanless HIT-W181 has an 18.5-inch 16:9 aspect ratio wide-format multi-touch screen and is powered by a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Atom D525 processor. [See Advantech press release] -- Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 by chb

Thoughts about Windows Phone 8
While Phone 7 and the Phone 7.5 update were billed as the future, apparently they weren't as now there will be Windows Phone 8, which is.... completely incompatible with Phone 7/7.5. And why? Because Phone 8 will supposedly share the same Windows kernel that "real" Windows has ... [read more] -- Posted Friday, June 22, 2012 by chb

Overview of tablet computer history and future
With Microsoft's unveiling of the "Surface" tablet concept, there is in many places once again the misconception that somehow Microsoft invented the tablet back in 2001. Not so. Tablets have been around for much longer, and they were once nearly as hot as they are now (ever wonder why the ThinkPad laptop is called a pad?). For an interesting overview of tablet technology and some of the early products, view this presentation given by RuggedPCReview.com editor-in-chief Conrad H. Blickenstorfer in Taiwan in December of 2001. [View the "Past and Future of Tablets" presentation (PDF)] -- Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 by chb

Finnish touch technology company Senseg recognized
Finnish Senseg announced it has been selected by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of its "100 Brilliant Companies" for its haptic touch technology that provides silent touch feedback without vibration by using Coloumb's force to create a small attractive force to finger skin. By modulating this force a variety of sensations can be generated, from textured surfaces and edges to vibrations and more. The technology can be integrated into a new generation of touch interface devices including tablet computers. [See Senseg technology page] -- Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 by chb

Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 7, we hardly knew you. At the Windows Phone Develop Summit Microsoft discussed the upcoming Windows Phone 8. Right upfront: since the Windows 7 core was still based on Windows CE and Windows 8 will have a shared Windows core (yes, it's back to Windows on all devices), Phone 7 devices cannot be upgraded to Windows Phone 8 (but there will be a Windows Phone 7.8 for "legacy devices."). Initial Windows Phone 8 devices will be dual-core, offer higher resolution (up to 1280 x 768 pixel), have microSD card support, and early hardware will come from Nokia, Samsung, HTC, and Huawei. As expected, the interface is using the tile approach already known from Phone 7 and the preview versions of the Windows 8 Metro interface. -- Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by chb

Microsoft unveils Surface tablets
Microsoft unveiled its "Surface" tablet computers in Hollywood, CA. The very iPad-esque looking Surface tablets, which are designed and engineered by Microsoft, will come in two varieties, one running Windows 8 on x86 processors (3rd gen Intel Core) and the other Windows RT on ARM-based systems. Both versions have 10.6-inch displays, kickstands and pressure-sensitive touch covers for typing in an arrangement similar to the Compaq Concerto of the mid-1990s. The x86 version will weigh two pounds and have a 42 watt-hour battery, the ARM version 1.5 pounds with a smaller 31.5 watt-hour battery. The RT model will be available when Windows 8 is released later this year, the x86 model three months later. Differences between the two versions: The x86 model has USB 3.0 instead of 2.0, microSDHC instead of microSD, DiaplayPort instead of Micro HD, up to 128GB instead of up to 64GB. [See Microsoft press release] -- Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2012 by chb

iPhone 3GS battery replacement: not for the timid
With millions of people replacing their older iPhones with newer ones, what happens to the old ones? Well, some are sold to one of the several used electronics merchandisers, others directly on eBay, or they may be passed on to friends or family less obsessed with having the latest and greatest. Many iPhone users simply keep their old one, either letting it gather dusk in a drawer somewhere, or perhaps actually using it via WiFi as a fancy iPod Touch. But there is one problem with older iPhones: the battery. [read more] -- Posted Saturday, June 16, 2012 by chb

Motorola Solutions buying Psion!
Motorola Solutions announced it will acquire Psion in a transaction where Motorola Solutions will purchase all Psion shares for about US$200 million. Psion currently has over 800 employees and had 2011 sales of about US$275 million, dwarfed by Moto Solutions' 2011 sales of US$8.2 billion. Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions, said: "Psion is a compelling opportunity to strengthen our industry-leading, mobile-computing portfolio with ruggedized handheld products and vehicle-mount terminals that will deepen our presence in the global markets in which we compete." Our take: Psion, of course, started with consumer handhelds, but ever since the acquisition of Teklogix in 2000, the Teklogix side of rugged computing devices took over and eventually became all of Psion. The rugged computing side of Motorola Solutions is really Symbol, and there seems very considerable product overlap between the two companies. The US$200 million purchase price is almost pocket change for a company like Motorola Solutions, and it should be interesting to see how this all plays out. [See Motorola Solutions press release] -- Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 by chb

JLT Mobile signs partner agreement with FARA
Swedish rugged computer specialist JLT Mobile Computers said it has signed a partner agreement with Norwegian FARA, a provider of e-ticket solutions for the public transportation sector. In particular, FARA has chosen JLTs rugged, flexible vehicle computer JLT8404 for its ticketing systems for buses. The computer was tailored to FARA's requirements that it be easily mounted in a bus. [See JLT press release] -- Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 by chb

Great article on the demise of Palm and the webOS
theverge.com ran a terrific, detailed story entitled "Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS." Definitely worth reading! [See here] -- Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2012 by chb

New Balance selects Psion Omnii XT15 for distribution centers
Psion announced that global athletic and lifestyle company New Balance has selected the Psion Omnii XT15 as the mobile handheld for its distribution centers. New Balance has purchased hundreds of Psion Omnii XT15s to streamline order tracking in its factory and distribution centers across the country. New Balance plans to roll out the Psion Omnii XT15 to all of its distribution centers in 2012. [See Psion press release] -- Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2012 by chb