August 2009

Full review: RUGGEDBOOK SR858
Samwell is entering the heavily contested market for rugged notebooks with the tough-looking SR858 that provides a good balance between performance and battery life. Also unique in this class are the wide-format 13.3-inch 1280 x 800 pixel touchscreen and the convertible notebook form factor. We found the RUGGEDBOOK SR858, with its fully sunlight-readable display, an interesting addition to the current rugged notebook offerings. [Read full review of the Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR858] -- Posted Monday, August 31, 2009 by chb

Netbooks now have 22% of notebook market
According to DisplaySearch, netbooks accounted for 22.2% of 38 million notebook PCs sold in Q2/2009. That's up from just 5.6% a year ago. The differentiation between netbooks and notebooks, however, is pretty vague, with some manufacturers now calling 11.6-inch notebooks netbooks. Our definition for the grossly misnamed "netbook" -- a small, handy notebook PC that's an impulse buy due to a price that's below the pain threshold. -- Posted Monday, August 31, 2009 by chb

Intrinsically safe ruggedized phone
Airo, a maker of ruggedized cell phones, announced the A25is Intrinsically Safe handset, available for delivery Q4 of 2009. The PXA270-based and Windows Mobile 6.1-powered A25is can handle 4-foot drops, is IP67 sealed, can operate in -4 to 122 degrees F, and operates under GSM/GPRS/EDGE. [See spec sheet of the intrinsically safe Airo A25is] -- Posted Monday, August 31, 2009 by chb

Third new Sony ebook reader
Sony announced a third member of its new Reader family - the Reader Daily Edition, a wireless model with 3G connectivity. The Daily Edition joins the Reader Pocket Edition and the Reader Touch Edition that were announced earlier this month. The new Sony reader has a 7-inch display and retails for about US$399. There are no monthly fees or transaction charges for the basic wireless connectivity. Sony has also made changes and improvements to its eBook Store to provide better access to a greater variety of ebooks. Earlier this summer Sony announced the availability of more than one million free public domain books from Google, and the company made new releases and New York Times bestseller titles available for $9.99. [See Sony Reader page] -- Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009 by chb

Replacing a hard drive with a SSD
We're seeing more and more rugged systems with solid state disks (SSDs) instead of conventional hard drives. SSDs have a number of advantages in terms of performance, heat generation, ruggedness and reliability. SSD prices have come way down, though they are still more expensive than hard disks. For a video tutorial on how to upgrade your rugged machine to an SSD, check Hot Hardware's excellent SSD upgrade guide. For all sorts of general SSD information, check the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide. -- Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009 by chb

Portable touchscreen USB display has announced the addition of the MIMO 720-S "Touchscreen Slider" monitor to its line of USB-driven mini-displays. The MIMO 720-S has a 7-inch 800 x 480 pixel resistive touch screen, works with PCs and Macs, weighs just a pound, and lists for US$229. -- Posted Monday, August 24, 2009 by chb

IP-67 rated rugged Sonim XP3 phone now at Best Buy
Can you drop your phone from up to 6.5 feet onto concrete; talk for up to 18 hours; submerge it in water; leave it outside at -5 to +130 degrees; cover it in dust; leave it on a freeway to be run over? You can if you have a Sonim XP3 Quest from Sonim Technologies, makers of rugged phones, now also available at Best Buy. So if you need a phone with an IP67 rating that's waterproof in up to 3.3 feet, the Sonim is it. -- Posted Monday, August 24, 2009 by chb

Trimble introduces digital pen solution for construction
Trimble introduced a family of Digital Pen Solutions for the construction industry that provides the simplicity of working with pen and paper with easy conversion to digital data by using a dockable digital pen. Once digitized, the documents can be shared with project teams and designers to improve change documentation, track construction progress and reduce project risk. With immediate access to jobsite data, teams can keep projects on-track and minimize risks from poor documentation without the costs and delays of scanning and transcribing data from paper. The Trimble Digital Pen Solution leverages the Capturx technology--a jobsite proven technology used by hundreds of organizations to automate paper-based data collection. -- Posted Monday, August 24, 2009 by chb

CNET wonders about Microsoft's lack of ambition in mobile
In an article entitled "Microsoft's curious lack of ambition in mobile" CNET asked the obvious: what in the universe is Microsoft doing in the mobile space, or rather not doing? Redmond's smartphone marketshare has fallen below 10%, and that from the company that pioneered Windows CE 13 years ago! Then again, HP also squandered Compaq's huge "iPAQ" brand equity. Maybe Windows and consumer handheld technology are simply inherently incompatible. -- Posted Friday, August 21, 2009 by chb

Motion extends its mobile Point-of-Care offering with Motion Clinical Workstations
Motion Computing announced a new line of Motion Clinical Workstations (MCW) designed to support a broad range of clinical workflows. They can be configured with the Motion C5 or Motion J3400, a small form factor PC, laptop, thin client or a combination of the available devices. Motion developed the MCWs as a complement to existing healthcare offerings that combine industry-leading technologies with specialized services to streamline access to patient information at the bedside. “This new line of MCWs is an extension of Motion’s healthcare expertise and focus on developing complete solutions for mobile clinicians,” said Mike Stinson, vice president of marketing for Motion. [See Motion MCW press release] -- Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 by chb

Learning from the Newton
CNET news ran an interesting feature where they not only showed the old Apple Newton commercials from back in 1993/94, but also a mock 2008 new Newton commercial. [The original Apple tablet: Marketing lessons from the Newton] -- Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 by chb's 2009 Netbook and Notebook Buyer's Guide published its 2009 Netbook and Notebook Buyer's Guide, which presents a great discussion and summary of current trends and offerings. They also confirm our own assessment of netbooks: cheap, small and great battery life, BUT lousy performance and hideous multimedia playback. [See's 2009 Netbook and Notebook Buyer's Guide] -- Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 by chb

Ingenious Med's IM Quality solution goes mobile
Ingenious Med, a provider of mobile solutions for physicians, announced that the IM Quality solution, for Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) reporting, is now available on handheld devices. The addition of handheld PQRI reporting enhances the ability of physicians to capture quality and revenue information while rounding at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other healthcare environments. -- Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 by chb

Track & Trace Virtual Trade Show, December 2-3, 2009
With travel ever more cumbersome and expensive, virtual trade shows are coming on strong. We checked out some of the early ones and came away impressed. UBM International Media and AIM, the international trade association representing automatic identification and mobility technology solution providers, announced the Track & Trace Virtual Trade Show, December 2-3, 2009. [See info on the Track & Trace Virtual Trade Show] -- Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 by chb

eTextbooks for college students now available on app store
CourseSmart LLC, the nation's largest digital course materials supplier, announced the release of its free eTextbooks application on the App Store. The eTextbooks App gives student and instructor subscribers access to their CourseSmart eTextbooks any time, anywhere. With a catalog representing most of the titles in use on campus today, students can purchase their required textbooks as CourseSmart eTextbooks at an average of half the price of print textbooks. With the addition of the eTextbooks App students will be able to use their iPhone or iPod touch as a mobile learning device to quickly reference their eTextbooks in the classroom and even search their notes. -- Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 by chb

Business Travel: What is holding down the economy?
So the worst may be behind us. Business outlooks are becoming more optimistic. It's time to hit the road and see those customers! Well not so fast! Last anyone checked, travel still costs money... [...more] -- Posted Friday, August 14, 2009 by chb

Juniper Archer Longbow remote positioning GPS handheld
Juniper Systems, Inc. and Surveylab Ltd. launched the Archer Longbow™ remote positioning GPS handheld. By combining a rugged computer, GPS receiver, 3D compass, digital camera and a laser rangefinder, the Longbow provides the user with an all-in-one mobile GIS data capture solution. The laser is available in 100 meter, 300 meter and 1,000 meter versions. [See Longbow description and specs or Archer Longbow brochure] -- Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009 by chb

Business Travel: Not just mobile, but shrinking
Many of our readers seek the most efficient devices to improve their efforts at completing the task at hand. Just-in-time communication allows the road warrior to seek, obtain, and submit that quarter-end/year-end forecast-busting order just under the wire. [...more] -- Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009 by chb

RAM Mounts' new Seat-Mate
A lot of rugged and mobile systems are used in vehicles, but a full, permanent installation isn't always necessary. This is where RAM Mounts' new Seat-Mate comes in. It's a super-simple mounting base that installs in less than a minute and turns almost any passenger seat into a workstation. The Seat-Mate base fits seamlessly into RAM's vast lineup of mounting solutions and components, and can be used with trays for notebooks, netbooks, tablets, and handhelds. [See description of the RAM Seat-Mate] -- Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009 by chb

Full review: Waterproof, ultra-rugged 2T Hydrus
There's rugged, and then there's ultra-rugged, nearly indestructible and fully waterproof. That would describe the highly customizable Hydrus handheld from Two Technologies. It's a 2.5-pound Marvell PXA270/Windows CE-powered handheld with a large 55-key keypad, a 5-megapixel imager/scanner with laser auto-focus and illuminators, 40 hour battery life, and yes, we even tested it underwater [See full review of the Two Technologies Hydrus and see YouTube video of the Hydrus underwater] -- Posted Monday, August 3, 2009 by chb

Predicted: A flood of ARM-based "smartbooks"
After millions of Intel Atom-powered netbooks, will the next wave consist of ARM-based Windows CE "smartbooks" with Snapdragon or Tegra processors? High-res displays and 1080P playback (a notable weakness in Atom-based units) are luring, but whether the concept takes off is anyone's guess. -- Posted Monday, August 3, 2009 by chb