October 2011

Atmel maXStylus/maXTouch demo video
Atmel uploaded an interesting video demonstrating and explaining its maXStylus technology that combines a very precise stylus with a 1mm stylus tip with the company's maXTouch multi-touch touchscreen technology. [See Atmel maXTylus demo video on YouTube] -- Posted Monday, October 31, 2011 by chb

Dell Latitude ST Windows 7 tablet
Dell's upcoming Windows 7-based and Intel Atom Z670-powered Latitude ST tablet offers both capacitive multi-touch and an active pen (using N-Trig technology). The 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixel display has Gorilla Glass protection, and there are rubberized bumpers to help survive use in the field. There are USB and HDMI ports, WiFi/BT4, dual cameras (720p front, 5mp rear), up to 128GB SSD, and up to 6 hours of battery life. Measuring 10.6 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches and weighing just under two pounds, the Latitude ST reminds a lot of the Fujitsu Q550. The Latitude ST will cost around US$1,000 and become available early November, 2011. [See Dell Latitude ST product page] -- Posted Friday, October 28, 2011 by chb

Whitman: HP will keep the PC division
HP announced that it has completed its evaluation of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG) and has decided the unit will remain part of the company. HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG. Its clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees," said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. "HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger." -- Our take: Good move. But how can customers trust HP? [See HP press release] -- Posted Friday, October 28, 2011 by chb

One Xoom sold for every 130 iPads
Motorola Mobility revealed it had shipped just 100,000 Motorola XOOM Android tablets in Q3 2011. That compares to 13 million iPads. Honestly, this has us baffled. Media tablets are super-hot, the XOOM is a very good product, so what's the problem? Perhaps Motorola Mobility, which concentrates on consumer phones, should pass the Xoom on to the vertical market oriented Motorola Solutions. [See Motorola Mobility Q3 Financials] -- Posted Friday, October 28, 2011 by chb

DisplaySearch predicts curved cover glass on high-end touch screens
DisplaySearch predicts that curved cover glass on projected capacitive touch screens will become a differentiating feature in high-end models. Curved or shaped cover glass--referred to as 2.5D if along one axis and 3D if along both axes--is a new design trend. Due to its more complicated processes and costs, the ability to handle cover glass finishing will be an increasingly strategic issue for the industry. This and other findings are described in the DisplaySearch 2011 Touch Panel Market Analysis. -- Posted Thursday, October 27, 2011 by chb

Nokia introduces first Windows Phone-based models
At Nokia World in London, the beleaguered phone maker introduced its first two Windows Phone 7.5-based products. The basic Nokia Lumia 710 and the fancy Lumia 800 both have 3.7-inch displays, a 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 CPU, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, and 512MB of RAM. The Lumia 800 is less than a quarter inch thick, has an AMOLED display, an 8mp camera with Carl Zeiss optics and HD video, and 16GB of storage. The Lumia 710 has a 5mp camera and 8GB of storage. Both phones have turn-by-turn navigation and will be available in the US early 2012. No contract pricing is US$595 for the Lumia 800 and US$380 for the Lumia 710. -- Posted Thursday, October 27, 2011 by chb

A peculiar Apple patent award
On October 25, 2011, Apple was awarded US patent #8,046,721 (see here for "A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device." It's peculiar because Neonode used swiping and that unlock feature in its Neonode N1 that came out in 2002. We did a full review of the N1 in early 2006 (see here) and described the unlock feature like this: "To give you an idea of how this works, once you turn the phone on, you'll be greeted by the "locked" symbol. After all, you wouldn't want random touch to generate commands or calls. A set of small triangle arrows show where and in what direction to swipe to unlock the phone." So on the surface it looks like Neonode used the swiping before Apple even applied for the patent in December of 2005. -- Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2011 by chb

Aceeca to retire Palm-based handheld, switch to multi-OS version
Aceeca reports that after a production life of almost ten years the MEZ1000, essentially a ruggedized implementation of the original Palm, is nearing end-of-life. This means Aceeca will phase in their new MEZ1500 which replaces the MEZ1000. The MEZ1500 offers both Garnet and WinCE operating systems, with various Linux options along with Android coming in future months. -- Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2011 by chb

Samsung adds Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
Samsung announced the upcoming availability of the US$399 Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus that runs Google Android "Honeycomb" on a 1.2GHz dual core CPU. The device has an IR interface to control home theater setups via its Peel Smart Remote TV application. -- Posted Saturday, October 22, 2011 by chb

Motion introduces SlateMate add-on modules for its CL900 tablet
Motion Computing introduced the Motion CL900 SlateMate snap-on module technology that extends the functionality of the ruggedized CL900 Tablet PC. Securely attached to the tablet's internal frame, the first CL900 SlateMate module provides a 1, 2 and 3 track magnetic stripe reader and a 1D/2D barcode scanner for mobile data acquisition and transaction processing. [See Motion CL900 SlateMate page] -- Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2011 by chb

Global tablet shipments 18.7 million in Q3 of 2011
According to Digitimes Research, gobal tablet PC shipments reached 18.7 million units in the third quarter, with Apple iPad shipments accounting for 13 million units of that. Non-iPad tablet PCs suffered from high inventory issues in the third quarter and many new tablet PC product launches have been delayed. In terms of components, for tablet PC CPUs, Nvidia has become the second-largest supplier in terms of shipments with Texas Instruments dropping to fourth. As for ODMs, Inventec is currently the second-largest with Quanta Computer dropping to fifth. -- Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2011 by chb

Review: BAP Precision S-Series rugged handheld
Despite consumer smartphones increasingly being used in applications that were once the exclusive domain of purpose-designed ruggedized handheld terminals, there are still numerous deployments where environmental conditions, potential abuse, IT security requirements, etc., make a traditional ruggedized PDA-style mobile computer a better choice. The Windows Mobile-based BAP Precision S-Series, offered by Florida-based F4 Tech, is such a device. [See review of the BAP Precision S-Series] -- Posted Monday, October 17, 2011 by chb

Jon Peddie Research: Over two billion mobile processors to ship by 2016
According to Jon Peddie Research, over three quarters of a billion smartphones will ship in 2016, as well as 869 million feature and other phones and almost 300 million tablets. More than 16 processor companies and 4 IP suppliers will be chasing this market, compared to the four or five processor companies today. Peddie wonders there too many suppliers chasing the same customers. [See Jon Peddie press release] -- Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011 by chb

Motorola Solutions introduces enterprise-class 7-inch capacitive multi-touch Android tablet
Seeking to provide the familiarity and popularity of a consumer-class user experience to a true enterprise-class device, Motorola Solutions introduced the Android-based ET1 ruggedized 7-inch tablet. The TI OMAP 4-powered capacitive multi-touch 1.4 pound ET1 brings enhanced durability (4-foot drop, IP54, etc.), an optional barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader, hot-swappable battery packs, and secure system software. [See description and specs of the Motorola Solutions ET1 tablet] -- Posted Monday, October 10, 2011 by chb

Casio IT-300: rugged Windows Mobile handheld with capacitive multi-touch
Leave it to Casio Business Solutions to introduce one elegant, innovative industrial PDA after the other without ever letting anyone know. They did it again with the Casio IT-300, a unique new implementation of the industrial handheld, and the first we know of with capacitive multi-touch. The 7.6-ounce T300 runs Windows Embedded Handheld on a 624MHz Marvell PXA320 processor, has a 3.7-inch full-VGA screen, a CMOS 1D/2D imager, a 10-hour battery, IP54 sealing, and enough ruggedness to survive 5-foot drops. [See description and specs of the Casio IT-300] -- Posted Friday, October 7, 2011 by chb

Should I get the new iPhone 4S?
We write about technology for a living, and so it behooves us to stay up-to-date and always carry around the latest and greatest. Yet, I still have my old iPhone 3GS. Does upgrading to the new iPhone 4S make sense? [Read more...] -- Posted Friday, October 7, 2011 by chb

BlackBerry DevCon Americas: October 18 to 20, 2011 in San Francisco
RIM will host the BlackBerry DevCon Americas from October 18 to 20, 2011 in San Francisco, offering BlackBerry application developers an opportunity to interact, learn about the latest development technologies for the BlackBerry platform, and hopefully have their spirits lifted about their beleaguered platform. -- Posted Thursday, October 6, 2011 by chb

Goodbye, Steve. Thanks for everything!
Steve Jobs has died at the far-too-young age of 56. There will never be another like him. The impact Steve had not only on technology, but on our lives in general, was monumental. Thanks for everything, Steve. We'll miss you more than you'll ever know. -- Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011 by chb

GD-Itronix introduces fully-rugged GD3080 tablet
General Dynamics Itronix introduced the GD3080 fully-rugged tablet computer as a next-gen version of its Duo-Touch II tablet. The 4.0 pound fanless tablet now features higher XGA resolution on its 8.4-inch DynaVue display that has an auto-switching resistive touchscreen/active digitizer combo. The GD3080 runs Windows 7 and offers more memory as well as higher capacity hard disk and SSD options. Up to three RF modems and GPS can be integrated in a unit at one time. Sealing is at the IP54 level and the machine, which starts at US$3,250, can handle significant abuse. [See description and specs of the General Dynamics Itronix GD3080] -- Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011 by chb

Apple announces iPhone 4S
Apple ended months of speculation by introducing the iPhone 4S. It looks virtually identical to the iPhone 4, but has a faster Apple A5 dual core chip, up to 8 hours talk time (6 hours browsing), an 8mp camera with a wide angle F2.4 lens with five elements and digital image stabilization that can also do 1080p video. A new "Siri" voice assistant acts as sort of an intelligent agent, conjuring up memories of Newton Intelligence. The iPhone 4S can handle GSM or CDMA networks and auto-switches between two antennas for better voice quality. Pre-orders begin October 7 for a October 14 release on AT&T, Verizon and, new, Sprint. With the usual 2-year contracts, the iPhone 4S will be available with 16GB (US$199), 32GB (US$299), and 64GB (US$399). [See iPhone 4S tech specs] -- Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 by chb

Full review: Winmate 3.7" Rugged Handheld
There are still jobs where consumer-style smartphones, even sturdier ones, just won't do. That's why Taiwanese industrial computer manufacturer Winmate introduced their own industrial strength and size handheld that's simply called the Winmate 3.7" Rugged Handheld Device, also listed as the R03TACH. RuggedPCReview.com did a detailed analysis of the OMAP 3530/Windows CE 6.0 powered, IP67-sealed rugged, eminently practical device with a full VGA 3.7-inch touch screen and the ability to also run Android. [See full review of the Winmate 3.7" Rugged Handheld] -- Posted Monday, October 3, 2011 by chb