October 2009

Handheld's new ultra-rugged GPS PDA
HHCS Handheld USA has beefed up its handheld offerings by adding the ultra-rugged Nautiz X7 handheld computer. Based on Windows Mobile 6.1 and the powerful 806MHz Marvell PXA310 processor, the Nautiz X7 has a 3-megapixel camera, an E-compass, altimeter, a full-VGA 480 x 640 pixel touch display, up to 12GB of storage, Bluetooth and Wifi, and optional HSDPA wireless WWAN. [Read full review of the Handheld Nautiz X7] -- Posted Friday, October 30, 2009 by chb

Aaeon introduces rugged Intel Atom-powered tablet computer
Taiwanese Aaeon Technology is now offering its rugged RTC-1000 platform with an Intel Atom N270 processor running Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 2009. The device has a 10.2-inch WSVGA (1024 x 600) touch display with LED backlight and both sunlight-viewable and active digitizer options. There are disk and SSD based systems, good onboard connectivity and expansion, ruggedness, IP65 sealing and optional 3.5G wireless, GPS, scanning and bar code reading. If more speed is needed, a Core Duo version is available as well. [See description and specs of the Aaeon RTC-1000A] -- Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 by chb

Touch coming to marine displays
Manufacturers of marine displays are hopping onto the touch bandwagon, too. Raymarine just introduced its new E-Series wide-screen Multifunction Display with HybridTouch in an effort to "bring the familiar touch screen and icon-based design found in today's smartphones to the marine environment." The E-Series has a WVGA sunlight-viewable display, an operating temperature range of 14-122F, and carries IPX6 sealing. See Raymarine E-Series -- Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 by chb

Dell introduced toughened-up XFR version of its XT2 convertible
Dell introduced the Latitude XT2 XFR, a ruggedized version of their Latitude XT2. What you get here is a toughened-up version of Dell's sleek convertible Tablet PC, one that is sealed against the elements, can handle desert-hot and icy-cold, and is altogether better equipped to handle life on the road where things can get bumped and dropped. [Read description and specs of the Dell Latitude XT2 XFR] -- Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 by chb

US$149 JetBook eBook reader
ECTACO launched the jetBook Lite eBook reader that lists for just US$149. It measures 6 x 4.3 x 0.5 inches, weighs 7.5 ounces, has a 5-inch reflective monochrome screen, a SD card slot (up to 2GB cards), supports screen rotation and its Li-Polymer battery lasts 20 hours on a charge. Books are books downloadable from barnesandnoble.com and jetBook.net. In essence, you get a smaller, lighter reader that even includes dictionaries and T9 for less money, but no wireless downloads. [See how the jetBook compares] -- Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 by chb

Fonix launches next gen speech recognition technology
Fonix Speech, Inc., which specializes in embedded speech interfaces for mobile devices, handheld electronic products, video game systems and processors, announced its VoiceSync 1.0 software that represents a significant leap forward in the development of speech recognition technology by accurately interpreting phonetic data and timing that information to create "human-like" lip and facial movements. -- Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 by chb

MobileDemand xTablet T7000: A smaller rugged Tablet PC
Your average full-function rugged Tablet PC weighs between four and five pounds. That's light enough to carry such a device around on the job, but it's still quite substantial. So how about a UMPC device that provides pretty much the same functionality as a full-size machine, but is a lot smaller? If that thought appeals to you, check out what MobileDemand of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have in store for you. RuggedPCReview is taking a first, and detailed, look at the MobileDemand xTablet T7000. [Read review of the MobileDemand T7000 rugged Tablet PC] -- Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 by chb

Motion: complete line ready for Windows 7
Motion Computing announced that its complete line of rugged tablet PCs are ready to ship with Windows 7 Professional. Additionally, the Motion J3400, C5, F5 and LE1700 Tablet PCs are supported for upgrading to the new operating system. With enhanced tablet PC functionality, faster performance and improvements to power management for extended battery life, Windows 7 helps mobile users extend the productivity benefits of computing with highly mobile Motion Tablet PCs. -- Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 by chb

A talk with Wacom
The Columbian, a paper serving Clark County, Washington, recently ran feature on Wacom, summarizing the company's products and outlook. [See Columbian article on Wacom] -- Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2009 by chb

New: Fujitsu Lifebook T4410 multi-touch convertible
Fujitsu announced the Lifebook T4410 Tablet PC convertible available with Windows 7 and optional dual-digitizer that includes capacitive multi-touch. The T4410 has a 12.1-inch WXGA display with a 200-nit LED backlight (300-nit wide viewing angle version available), a multi-bay with optical drive, and good connectivity (including an HDMI port). The 4-pound T4410 is powered by a selection of fairly potent Core 2 Duo processors and is also available in a home/student version (the T4310). Pricing starts at a very reasonale US$1,199. [See description and specs of the Fujitsu T4410] -- Posted Monday, October 19, 2009 by chb

New Wi-Fi peer-to-peer spec in 2010
Wi-Fi devices will soon be able to link via a new specification called Wi-Fi Direct that enables devices to connect to one another without joining a traditional wireless network. The Wi-Fi Alliance expects to begin certification for this new specification in mid-2010, and products which achieve the certification will be designated Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct. We can see many uses for this in mobile devices. [See press release] -- Posted Saturday, October 17, 2009 by chb

Using the iPhone 3GS -- is it that much better?
There was much excitement when Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS earlier this year. Is it really that much better? Our editor reports on his experience with the iPhone 3GS that replaced his original iPhone. [See Having used it for three months, how much better is the iPhone 3GS?] -- Posted Friday, October 16, 2009 by chb

Wacom introduces new brand for OEM solutions
Wacom, probably feeling the heat from increasing touch screen competition, announced a new brand for their OEM solutions, Wacom Feel IT Technologies, which seek to combine Wacom's well-established active digitizer technology with projective capacitive multi-touch. Check the Wacom Feel website and Wacom's press release on the Wacom Feel IT Technologies. -- Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 by chb

Another new eBook reader: IREX DR800SG
Book readers haven't done well in the past, but primarily thanks to the Amazon Kindle they seem to be making a comeback. The latest addition is the IREX DR800SG, a consumer device with an 8.1-inch touch screen that costs US$399 and can hold about 1,500 books. IREX says the DR800SG is an open platform and supports more standard document formats (see eReader comparison chart). The IREX device includes the Barnes & Noble eBookstore, giving users access to more than 750,000 titles, including new releases and bestsellers at $9.99. Verizon 3G wireless access to download content is included in the cost of the DR800SG and no contract is required. -- Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 by chb

Standalone WikiReader
What if you rely on Wikipedia's almost endless resources, but don't always have an internet connection or a computer to access the Wikipedia site? Then you may want to consider the new WikiReader, a US$99 device that lets you access three million topics with just three buttons. Two AAA batteries power the touch screen device with its monochrome display for months. Quarterly updates can be downloaded for free, or you can pay $29 and get two annual updates on microSD cards. Check the WikiReader website. -- Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 by chb

Full review: Datalogic Memor
One of the problems with many industrial handhelds is that they are big and heavy. Those that are small and handy often lack features. Datalogic addressed these issues with the Memor handheld that combines mobile computing, data capture, scanning and voice/data communication in one small but rugged handheld that weighs just nine ounces. Powered by a speedy, modern PXA310 processor and available with a variety of scanning and communication options, the Datalogic Memor has a lot to offer. [See review of the Datalogic Memor] -- Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 by chb

TI co-processors can handle up to 20 megapixel, 720p HD video
Texas Instruments announced two new members of its OMAP-DM5x family of coprocessors, which deliver the industry's highest megapixel (MP) capability, with up to 20 MP still imaging capabilities, as well as 720p high-definition (HD) camcorder functionality. TI says that as wireless services drive forward into advanced 3G and 4G technologies, camera phones are moving up to 20-megapixel image sensors, with displays showing a corresponding increase in resolution. [See TI's OMAP page] -- Posted Tuesday, October 6, 2009 by chb

Windows Mobile 6.5: Big letdown
To almost no one's surprise, the release of Windows Mobile 6.5 has generally been greeted with anything from indifference to downright shock and dismay (see the extent of the dismay in John Herrman's detailed review at Gizmodo). Essentially, WinMo 6.5 provides a weird new home screen on what appears to be the same ancient, obsolete OS. In recent years we've frequently commented on how increasingly sophisticated and powerful rugged handheld hardware seems to be held back by Windows Mobile (see Palm and Windows Mobile and how the iPhone really changed everything), and this "new" version 6.5, unfortunately, perpetuates the misery. -- Posted Tuesday, October 6, 2009 by chb

New York Times article on Tablet PCs
The New York Times ran an interesting article titles "Just a Touch Away, the Elusive Tablet PC," taking a brief look at the past and possible future of tablet computing devices. -- Posted Monday, October 5, 2009 by chb

Full review: Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR800
The Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR800 is a compact rugged Tablet PC that offers a good balance between performance (Intel Core Duo U2500), features, ruggedness, portability, and battery life. Its 10.4-inch display is larger and offers higher resolution than that of most machines in its class and the tablet has both a touch screen and an active digitizer. [See review of the Samwell RUGGEDBOOK SR800] -- Posted Sunday, October 4, 2009 by chb