July 2006

Otterbox releases tough notebox case
Transform a standard laptop into a rugged laptop with the OtterBox Rugged Laptop Carrying Case, from Otter Products. Available in three customizable sizes, released throughout the year, this rugged case provides water, dust and drop protection. Case keeps laptops safe in any environment, for work or play. With a virtually indestructible polypropylene shell, the OtterBox Rugged Laptop Carrying Case is ready for any adventure. The first available case, the 7030, accommodates laptops with screens 14”-15.” Later this year OtterBox will release the 7020 for laptop screens 14” and smaller and the 7040 for screens 15” and larger. Cases will also accommodate similar-sized devices including Tablet PCs, Slates and Ultra Mobile PCs. As seen in coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the OtterBox Rugged Laptop Carrying Case withstood a 250lb person jumping on it and a full bottle of water poured over it. [see full release]
-- Posted Monday, July 31, 2006 by chb

USB key-based multi-user data access solution
Security is bcoming ever more improtant in mobile rugged computing. SecuriKey, a provider of notebook information security solutions for data protection and user authentication, announced the launch of a new Multi-User Edition of its simple, yet effective USB key-based solution that combines a password and an ignition key for the computer. The system requires almost no training, yet provides administrative control without excessive IT complexities. Supported platforms include Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 Server and both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Windows Vista support is being developed for 2007. -- Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 by chb

Electrovaya Scribbler SC-3100
We've added a full review of the Electrovaya Scribbler SC-3100 Tablet PC slate. Verdict: an elegant, powerful and versatile slate with a wide-viewing angle display and superior battery life thanks to a 75 or 92 watt-hour Electrovaya SuperPolymer powerpack. [see Scribbler SC-3100 review] -- Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 by chb

PenInput.com's pen tablets
Check out CompAmerica’s peninput.com website. You'll find a variety of inexpensive pen entry solutions such as the inexpensive Flair II Pen Input Tablets that allows handwritten text and hand drawn graphics to be added to any PC or Mac. It works with Tablet PC software, Chats/Whiteboards, multimedia authoring, publishing, film editing, graphics, etc. There's also a Flair II Wireless Pen with three mouse buttons and an advanced tablet that connects directly to a USB port. Also interesting is the US$178 Apollo CyberPad that provides internal and SD Card storage of writing and notes. -- Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 by chb

Motorola gains big in cellphone market
People are talking, that's for sure. Market Researches Strategic Analytics says over 460 million phones sold the first half of the year, and Motorola's marketshare grew to 22%. Nokia's share is at 33%, but Motorola is now breathing down the their necks. After a few flops, Motorla has been firing on all cylinders. Even with some glitches, the white-hot RAZR phones have sold over 50 million so far. Sigh... if only PDAs had caught on that way. -- Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 by chb

NEC ups the application processor ante
The next generation of handhelds will do digital TV and leave today's offerings in the dust. For that you need great multimedia power at very low power consumption. NEC knows that and introduced a new 14-millimeter square single-chip application processor for portable multimedia devices. The MP201's integrated DSP can display 30 frames per second of QVGA video compressed with the industry-standard H.264 digital video codec and about 30 FPS of 480 x 480 MPEG-4-compressed video, yet it uses only half the power of curent less powerful models. This capability allows device manufacturers to support the latest digital music formats, including formats for delivering terrestrial digital video content to portable handsets.

-- Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 by chb

GIGA-BYTE aggressively powers into Pocket PC Phone market
Taiwanese GIGA-BYTE Communications is introducing new lines of wireless communications products, mobile phones, mobile phone modules, and other types of personal handheld devices for communications, entertainment, learning, and personal information management purposes. The g-Smart is a Windows Mobile 5.0-based Pocket PC Phone using push email. Internet access is via WiFi or GPRS, there is a 2.1MP camera and the device is capable of receiving real-time digital TV broadcasting. The g-Smart has a 2.4-inch display, measures 4.1 x 2.1 x 0.75 inches, has 128MB ROM and 64MB RAM, a Mini SD slot (256MB card included), runs a 416MHz PXA272 chip and there's Bluetooth. [see product release.] -- Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 by chb

abletFactory improves OneNote eScript Toolkit
abletFactory's critically acclaimed OneNote eScript Toolkit has been upgraded. There are new patient database features, easier sharing with OneNote EMR Toolkit databases and current drugs. There is also a new way to generate, transmit and organize patient pre­scription information. Featuring script generation, script printing, basic demographics and eSignature, this is probably the fasted eScript solution using a Tablet PC. [see details] -- Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 by chb

Missing Sync for WinMo v2.5
Mark/Space announced that it has released an update to its popular synchronization software for Mac OS X, The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile. The new 2.5 release runs natively on Intel and PowerPC Macs alike and adds support for smartphones and Pocket PCs that run Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5 operating system, including models from Dell, HP, HTC, i-mate, Palm, Motorola and Samsung. [see Missing Sync for Windows Mobile info] -- Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 by chb

Full review of rugged TDS Ranger
We've added a full review of the TDS Ranger 500X, a Windows Mobile 5.0-based flashlight-style handheld computer using a 520MHz Intel PXA270 processor, and one of the most rugged handhelds available today. [see full review of TDS Ranger -- Posted Friday, July 14, 2006 by chb

White paper: Mobile Broadband: The Global Evolution of UMTS/HSPA
3G Americas, a wireless industry group supporting the GSM family of technologies in the Americas, today published Mobile Broadband: The Global Evolution of UMTS/HSPA -- 3GPP Release 7 and Beyond, a white paper covering industry progress towards UMTS/HSPA and its long term evolution. Downloading requires registration; well worth it. -- Posted Thursday, July 13, 2006 by chb

Symbian releases v9.3
Symbian Limited announced the availability of Symbian OS v9.3, the latest evolution of the world's leading smartphone operating system, building on the success of the v9 family as a robust, secure, open and standards-based OS for smartphones. It includes incremental enhancements in phone performance and reducing time-to-market for handset vendors and network operators' cost-effective deployment of services, content and applications. Clearly aiming to extend Symbian smartphones into the mass-market, Symbian's focus seems to ensure Symbian OS is adopted as the OS of choice by the world's leading handset manufacturers, for the development of higher volume and lower cost, advanced, data-enabled phones also known as smartphones for 2.5G, 3G and HSDPA networks around the world. -- Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2006 by chb

Xplore beefs up security in new iX104C3 rugged slate
Xplore Technologies introduced the iX104C3 Tablet PC with durable finger print reader and user accessible hard drive and PC card bay. Xplore, which has a long history of innovation to the rugged pen tablet industry, is the first to introduce biometrics for access of data on a rugged pen tablet computer. The durable finger print scanner allows users the added security authentication benefit, and the user-accessible hard drive and PC card bay allow management and better control of sensitive materials. "We understand that data security has become an integral issue in today's mobile computing environment. Based on input from our customers and the needs of target markets, we developed a product that addresses this issue, yet still maintains our best-in-class rugged characteristics that have become well-known in the industry," states Mark Holleran, President and COO of Xplore Technologies. "We believe that the iX104C3 tablet is the only rugged computer in today's market that possesses this vital security/loss prevention feature. This product is another welcome addition to Xplore's rugged mobile computing family and will bring enhanced, refined benefits to our end-users." -- Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 by chb

Garmin Mobile offers fuel price, weather, traffic info now
Garmin announced it is providing new dynamic content -- fuel prices, weather conditions and forecasts, and traffic information -- on all mobile phones equipped with Garmin Mobile -- a subscription-based, feature-rich application delivering maps, directions, and turn-by-turn navigation on mobile phones [see Garmn Mobile site]. This new real-time content will be available at no additional fee to Garmin Mobile users beginning in July. -- Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 by chb

Virginia Tech student reviews mandatory Tablet PC
Virginia Tech made ownership of a Tablet PC mandatory and a student describes his experiences with the Gateway M285 in a very detailed review on tabletpcreviewspot.com. -- Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 by chb

Moto releases MIL-SPEC cameraphone
Sprint Nextel and Motorola announced the Motorola i580, a ruggedized, stylish and fully equipped handset and the only iDEN rugged phone in the industry to feature an embedded 1.3 megapixel camera and the first with a clam form factor to include Bluetooth wireless technology. There's a micro SD card slot and the phone comes with a 64MB card. The i580, which supports GPS-based applications, is also the first rugged iDEN clam phone designed to meet military specification 810 F for rain resistance, as well as for dust, shock and vibration. The phone's durable design and easy-grip rubber exterior can withstand even the toughest day on the job or the most demanding outdoor activities for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. -- Posted Thursday, July 6, 2006 by chb

VIA releases new chipset geared towards UMPCs and such
VIA Technologies announced the VIA VX700 chipset to build on the success of the VIA Ultra Mobile platform in UMPC devices, enabling reduction of mobile form factors by up to 40%. The VX700 integrates all the cutting-edge features of a modern chipset's North and South bridges into a single chip package measuring just 35mm x 35mm. [see all specs] -- Posted Thursday, July 6, 2006 by chb

Rugged Portable Systems
At RuggedPCReview.com we've covered the rugged computing industry for well over a decade. Yet we keep finding companies that we didn't know of before. One is Rugged Portable Systems, a division of Secure Communication Systems, Inc. Their motto: Secure/Rugged Portable Systems a leading custom solution for your industrial and harsh environment needs. Our rugged computer systems are second to none because we are "The company that listens to War Fighters and delivers! The device shown on the left is the company's Secure RPS Air Warrior handheld computer, a lightweight portable running a 1GHz ultra-low-power processor and using a touch panel as the primary interface on its sunlight-readable 6.4-inch display. An optional keyboard/mouse folds over the display. -- Posted Thursday, July 6, 2006 by chb

Improve your Tablet PC experience with Vista!
If you haven't already, check out Microsoft's page on how to improve the Tablet PC experience with Windows Vista. It's going to be a whole new ballgame. -- Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2006 by chb

Sharp not afraid of BlackBerry invasion
According to a Reuters report, Sharp isn't afraid of the upcoming introduction of the RIM BlackBerry to the Japanese market. Sharp had enjoyed great success with its early Zaurus PDAs in Japan, but then waffled with an odd line of keyboard-based "K-PDAs" and a half-hearted attempt with Mobilon Windows CE devices in the US market. The company tried a comeback with fascinating Linux-based PDAs with slide-out keyboards, but they, too, never really caught on. Now Sharp introduced the W-ZERO3 Windows Mobile-based smartphone, a relatively large device with a thumb-type keyboard that slides on the side so you can use the device in landscape mode. The new device will be sold by mobile carrier Willcom who thinks the product is "the Japanese BlackBerry." -- Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2006 by chb