January 2015

Panasonic Toughbook CF31 now with Intel Broadwell power
Panasonic has not seen a need to physically redesign its long-running Toughbook CF31 in many years. The company, however, has kept its flagship rugged notebook computer meticulously current with periodic technology updates. The latest upgrade brings an Intel 5th generation ("Broadwell") Core i5-5300U (see here) processor that also includes Intel HD5500 graphics. The latest CF31 also supports high-speed 802.11ac WiFi and Panasonic states improved battery life of up to 18 hours on the main battery alone. Pricing starts at US$3,699. [See Panasonic press release] -- Posted Thursday, January 29, 2015 by chb

They had wireless handhelds back in '94? They did.
Dusting off stuff in the RuggedPCReview archives we came across a bunch of old product review pics for our old Pen Computing print magazine from the dawn of mobile computing. The two little handhelds in the picture are the Motorola Marco and the Motorola Envoy back in 1994. One ran Apple's Newton Intelligence OS, the other General Magic's Magic Cap. Both communicated wirelessly. See our Facebook page for more handheld and tablet pics from 1994 (and like us while you're there!). -- Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by chb

Microsoft reports promising smartphone and tablet financials
While it doesn't have a direct impact on rugged mobile computing markets, it's interesting to monitor the fortunes of Microsoft's smartphones and Surface tablets, as their success or failure can has an impact on rugged markets that have remained with Microsoft software more than mobile consumer markets. As is, Microsoft reported that for their quarter ending December 31, 2014, they had phone hardware revenue of $2.3 billion, with 10.5 million Lumia units sold driven by growth in affordable smartphones (i.e. low-end ones, not the ones with the super-high res cameras), and that they had Surface revenue of $1.1 billion, up 24%, driven by Surface Pro 3 and accessories. [See Microsoft release] -- Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2015 by chb

Janam introduces rugged handheld with multi-OS support
Janam Technologies introduced the XM5, a rugged handheld weighing just ten ounces. The IP65-sealed XM5, which has a 600 nit 3.5-inch full VGA display and a choice of two different keyboards, combines legacy functionality with current trends by being capable of running both Microsoft Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 or Android 4.2. The XM5 has embedded RFID and NFC reading capabilities and is available with integrated industrial-grade imagers and scanners. [See description, analysis and secs of the Janam XM5] -- Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2015 by chb

RAM's new GDS Technology with IntelliSkin can truly be The Last Dock You'll Ever Need
With tablets and handhelds becoming ever more popular in the workplace, there's an ever greater need to have those devices communicate with desktops and other backend systems. Which usually means numerous docks and cables. RAM Mounts addresses this problem with their new GDS Technology with IntelliSkin. Billed as "The Last Dock You'll Ever Need," GDS sets a new standard in tablet and smartphone docking, mounting and protection. IntelliSkin is custom designed to fit all popular models of tablets and smartphones and features a molded integrated connector making it compatible with any GDS dock. [See RAM's GDS Technology with IntelliSkin] -- Posted Sunday, January 18, 2015 by chb

96% of retailers are ready for the Internet-of-Things, according to Zebra Technologies' commissioned survey
Zebra Technologies Corporation, which now includes the former Motorola Solutions Enterprise Business, released survey results that revealed nearly all retailers are ready to make the changes required to adopt the Internet of Things (IoT). The survey, conducted in October 2014 by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Zebra Technologies, also showed that a majority of retailers believe IoT will be the most important technological initiative of the decade. [Read Internet-of-Things Solution Deployment Gains Momentum Among Firms Globally] -- Posted Sunday, January 18, 2015 by chb

Panasonic introduces robust enterprise-class 7-inch Windows mobile POS tablet with full EMV reader capabilities
Panasonic took the occasion of the 104th annual National Retail Federation Big Show to launch the Toughpad FZ-R1 with integrated EMV reader, billed by the company as the industry's first 7-inch all-in-one mobile POS tablet running Windows 8.1 for retail environments. The Intel Bay Trail N2807-powered tablet also includes MSR, a capacitive ATM-style pad, NFC, and enterprise-class security and management capabilities. [See description, analysts and specs of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-R1] -- Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2015 by chb

Peter M. Poulin appointed CEO of Motion Computing
Motion Computing announced it has appointed Peter M. Poulin, who has served as Motionís vice president of marketing since July 2012, as its Chief Executive Officer. With more than 25 years of sales, marketing and general management experience in the public and private sectors, Mr. Poulin will capitalize on the companyís deep mobility expertise to expand Motionís reach within target vertical markets. Our deep domain expertise radically reduces deployment risks, and users are able to complete their work more efficiently, accurately, and safely. Companies benefit by lowering their operational costs, preserving their existing investments in IT infrastructure, and improving customer service levels.Ē Poulin said. [See Motion press release] -- Posted Monday, January 12, 2015 by chb

Full review: 5.5-inch ARBOR Gladius rugged Android handheld
With the Android-powered Gladius 5, ARBOR Technology provides an interesting, elegant-but-rugged 5.5-inch/270 dpi "phablet" handheld suitable for emerging Internet of Things projects, but also as a technologically advanced multi-purpose dual-SIM handheld for numerous warehousing, transportation, healthcare, mPOS and general industrial and enterprise deployments. And its starting price is no higher than that of an iPhone 6 Plus. [See full review of the ARBOR Gladius 5] -- Posted Thursday, January 8, 2015 by chb

Intel unveils 5th gen "Broadwell" U-Series processors
Intel announced the 5th gen of Core processors for notebooks and similar. Codenamed "Broadwell" and using 14nm process technology, the initial lineup includes 14 mobile processors with 15 and 28 watt watt TDPs. Sold as "U Series" processors (as opposed to the already announced "Y" Series for tablets and ultrabooks), Broadwell-U has 1/3 more transistors on a die that over 1/3 smaller. Compared to Haswell, graphics can be up to 25% faster, video conversion up to 50% faster, and there's lower power draw. Integrated GPUs are now Intel HD Graphics 5500, HD Graphics 6000, and Iris Graphics 6200, the latter having EDRAM (embedded DRAM) and increased 3D performance. These enable 4K Ultra HD display, enhanced decode support for VP8, VP9 and HEVC, and support for DX 11.2, OpenCL 2.0 and OpenGL 4.3. Initial Broadwell-U chips come in dual-core/quad-thread i3/i5/i7 as well as dual core/dual thread Celeron and Pentium levels. Two new differentiations are i5 vPro and i7 vPro. [See Intel 5th gen fact sheet] -- Posted Thursday, January 8, 2015 by chb

TCI to relaunch Palm as Silicon Valley company
Chinese electronics giant TCL announced that it has purchased the Palm trademark from HP and intends to relaunch Palm in the form of a US-based subsidiary. What that means, exactly, is unclear. TCL has smartphone expertise (they sell Alcatel OneTouch phones), but many of Palm's patents and technologies are now either gone or rest with different companies. Simply reusing the name of a once great brand doesn't necessarily guarantee success, but the prospect of a new Palm is at least intriguing. -- Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2015 by chb

Full review: Ultra-rugged Winmate IH83 tablet PC
The boxy, no-nonsense Winmate IH83 provides full Windows functionality in a classic ultra-rugged tablet form factor. Powered by an Intel "Haswell" processor, this latest version of Winmate's classic ultra-rugged provides four to five times the performance of earlier versions, and it does so without the need of a fan. It gets up to 7 hours of battery life, feels nearly indestructible and overall offers a significantly updated version of Winmate's tough, non-nonsense workhorse tablet platform that's now technologically state-of-the without losing its legacy support, simplicity, and straightforward design. [See full review of the Winmate IH83 Ultra-Rugged Tablet PC] -- Posted Thursday, January 1, 2015 by chb