October 2013

Apple remains on top of tablet market for Q3/2013
According to market analysts IHS, for the third quarter 2013, Apple shipped 14.25 million tablets (down a bit from the prior quarter), Samsung 10.7 million (up 23%). Asus, Lenovo and Acer followed, all shipping fewer than 2 million tablets. Total tablet shipments were at 48 million, up 5 million from Q2/2013, and mostly contributed by inexpensive 7-inch white box tablets from China. Rhoda Alexander, director, tablet research for IHS said "Cheaper almost always wins the volume race, and competitors were quick to adjust pricing when it became clear that it was impossible to achieve anything close to Apple's shipment growth at the same price level. The resulting surge in sub-US$250 alternatives catapulted Android to the leading operating system in tablets in the third quarter of 2012, but left vendors searching for profit in an increasingly competitive market." -- Posted Thursday, October 31, 2013 by chb

Atmel demonstrates impressive glove and active and/or passive stylus multi-touch controller

Atmel posted a YouTube video demonstrating the thin stylus and thick glove sensing capabilities of Atmel's new mXT640T maXTouch T-series touchscreen controller. The mXT640T supports screen sizes up to 6.2 with a 1.0 mm passive stylus, senses up to 5.0 mm thick multi-finger glove touches, and has superior moisture touch performance. The T Series incorporates Atmel's Adaptive Sensing technology that automatically and intelligently switches between self- and mutual-capacitance sensing to provide users a seamless transition between a finger touch, hover, passive or active stylus, or glove touch. [See Atmel demo video and maXTouch brochure]
-- Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by chb

Two annoying trends...
Is the Flat Earth Society behind the recent rush to make everything as flat and thin as possible? What's wrong with 3D, icons you immediately recognize, a sense of depth, and just an overall pleasant look? And why must every device be thin, thin, thin at all cost? Have we reached a point where fashion is replacing true innovation? [Read Two Annoying Trends] -- Posted Thursday, October 24, 2013 by chb

The new Two Technologies N4 — Like having leading-edge Android consumer technology in a very tough case
Two Technologies, headquartered in Horsham, PA, has introduced a remarkable rugged handheld. The new N4 runs Android 4.1.2 on a 1.6GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, has a 5.55-inch 1280 x 720 pixel AMOLED capacitive multi-touch display and an inductive stylus, a 70-key backlit keypad, dual cameras (including an 8mp rear camera that can record 1080p/30), 3G/4G WWAN and even a mag-stripe reader option. The N4 weighs just under a pound, has a wide operating temperature range (-4 to 122°F), IP67 sealing, and hot-swappable dual batteries good for three full shifts. [See RuggedPCReview description, analysis and specs of the 2T N4] -- Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by chb

Apple event: new MacBook Pros, new iPads
At Apple's media event in San Francisco, the company mentioned that 65% of all iOS devices are running iOS7 already, and that a total of 60 billion apps have been downloaded, resulting in US$13 billion for developers. The new "Mavericks" Mac OS is available immediately, and it is free.

The MacBook Pro models are thinner and lighter and now use Haswell processors and get 801.11ac. The 13-inch version starts at US$1,299, down from 1,499, and the 15-inch version at US$1,999 (down from US$2,199). The new and revolutionary MacPro starts at US$2,999 for a 3.7Ghz quad core machine, with 12GB DRAM, Dual FirePro D300, 2GB VRAM each, and 256GB SSD), available the end of 2013. iLife and iWorks have been updated for iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks., and both come included with any new iOS or Mac device.

Apple said over 170 million iPads have been sold to-date, and introduced a new iPad mini with a retina 2048 x 1536 display that's a bit smaller at 7.9 inches. It has a A7 chip, and the 16GB WiFi version is US$399, available November. The original iPad mini remains, now starting at US$299.

Apple also introduced the iPad Air that's thinner (7.5mm vs. 9.4 mm) and lighter (1 pound instead of 1.35 lbs.) than the 4th gen iPad. It has the 64-bit A7 chip and M7 motion processor (same as iPhone 5S), and still a 9.7-inch retina display, but with a smaller side bezel. There is now a 5mp iSight camera. The iPad Air replaces full-size iPads and starts at $499 for the 16GB WiFi version, and 16GB/cellular for $629. The iPad 4 is gone but the iPad 2 remains available at $399. The iPad Air can be ordered (and ships) November 1.
-- Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 by chb

Neonode scores potentially huge patent
Neonode, the company that pioneered infrared-based touch screens, received a potentially very valuable patent for an "optical touch screen systems using total internal reflection." The problem with Neonode's original optical touch technology was that it relied on a raised bezel for the light source that was then beaming light across the display surface. The market, however, wants flush glass, and Neonode makes that possible with this new patent for a display with internal light guides. [See Neonode patent #8,553,014] -- Posted Thursday, October 17, 2013 by chb

Neonode introduces improved multi-sensing controller IC
Neonode announced the release of its second-generation single chip touch and proximity IC, the NN1002. Neonode has developed the NN1002 in collaboration with Texas Instruments to improve optical-touch system performance, cost, and functionality for PCs, printers, tablets, smartphones, wearables, autos, and Internet of Things applications. [See Neonode press release] -- Posted Wednesday, October 16, 2013 by chb

Getac announces technologically advanced, impressively thin and light rugged F110 tablet and V110 convertible
Getac is blazing new trails with the new V110—the thinnest and lightest rugged convertible—and the F110, the thinnest and lightest fully rugged large screen tablet. The V110 is a rugged convertible that is 1.34 inches thick and weighs 4.4 pounds, the F110 a tablet that's just under an inch thick, weighs just over three pounds. Both new rugged devices offer a choice of Intel "Haswell" 4th generation Core i5 and i7 processors, have 11.6-inch dual-input multi-touch displays, fast 802.11ac WiFi, and 4G LTE. Both carry IP65 sealing, have impressive -6° to 140°F operating temperature ranges, and battery life well beyond full shifts. [See RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Getac F110 and Getac V110] -- Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013 by chb

Juniper Systems announces Archer 2 rugged, configurable handheld with 4.3-inch high-res capacitive touch screen and IP68 sealing
Juniper Systems of Logan, Utah, introduced the Archer 2 rugged handheld computer as a follow-up and eventual replacement of the company's versatile and virtually indestructible Archer Field PC. The new Archer 2 is faster, has a larger and brighter 4.3-inch 800 x 480 pixel capacitive touch display that can be used with gloves, an extra-long battery life, enhanced GPS capabilities, and it carries IP68 sealing, which means it's completely dust and waterproof. [Read Juniper Systems press release and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Archer 2] -- Posted Tuesday, October 8, 2013 by chb

Amrel releases fully rugged 5-inch multi-OS DF6 handheld
Amrel has launched the Rocky DF6, a fully rugged ARM-powered 5-inch tablet with 800 x 480 resolution that can run either Android or Windows Embedded CE 6.0. The device, which weighs just a pound, offers numerous configuration and interface options, sealed Fischer and LEMO ports, and impressive ruggedness. [See description, analysis and specs of the Amrel Rocky DF6] -- Posted Wednesday, October 2, 2013 by chb

Intermec, now part of Honeywell, introduces rugged CN51 mobile computer with two OS options -- Android and Windows
Intermec, now part of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, announced the CN51 rugged mobile computer. The CN51 is an updated version of Intermec's successful CN50, but has a larger, higher resolution screen (4.0-inch, 800 x 480) that now uses resistive multi-touch, updated WiFi, WAN, Bluetooth, camera, and scanners, and it's now based on the dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4 processor, which means Intermec can offer the CN51 either with Microsoft Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 OR with Android 4.1. [See Intermec press release, and RuggedPCReview's description, analysis and specs of the Intermec CN51] -- Posted Tuesday, October 1, 2013 by chb